If successful, Amazon’s push into brick-and-mortar retail could shake up the convenience-store and fast-casual restaurant industries, and shares of retailers such as CVS CVS, +0.45% , Walgreens WBA, +0.56% , Target TGT, -0.59% and Walmart WMT, -0.20% fell sharply immediately after the report was published Wednesday afternoon, though some still ended the day in positive territory.
Amazon AMZN, +0.60% has opened just four of its cashierless stores so far — three in Seattle and one in Chicago. Bloomberg said Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos is still experimenting to find the best format. Currently, two of the stores sell just prepared food while the other two also offer some grocery items.
Instead of paying at a checkout stand, customers download an app and scan their smartphone when entering the store. Sensors and cameras detect what they pick up and leave with, and customers are billed automatically.
According to the report, the company hopes to open about six more AmazonGo stores by the end of the year, have 50 stores in major cities in 2019, and as many as 3,000 by 2021. If it opens that many, Amazon would become one of the biggest convenience-store chains in the country. Bloomberg said Amazon was targeting dense, urban areas with plenty of affluent, young customers.
After more than a decade shaking up the retail world through e-commerce, Amazon branched out to physical locations in 2015. In addition to the AmazonGo stores, it has about 20 bookstores around the country, as well as the Whole Foods grocery-store chain.