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03/04/2021

Amazon opens first U.K. checkout-free grocery store

New store mimics those in the U.S.

Amazon has opened a cashier-free supermarket in London, its first bricks and mortar expansion outside the U.S. as the company bets on strong demand for its contactless shops.

The online retailing giant opened the doors to its Amazon Fresh shop in West London's Ealing neighbourhood on Thursday, in what it said would be the first in a wave of shops in the British capital using its automated checkout technology.

Shoppers use a smartphone app to scan a QR code so they can enter the store. They can fill their shopping bags with milk, eggs or other groceries while cameras and sensors track what's taken off shelves.

Purchases are charged to an Amazon account after leaving and a receipt sent by email. There's no need to wait in line to pay at the checkout, a feature that has more appeal after the pandemic highlighted the need for social distancing.

Amazon already operates 26 cashier-free convenience stores in the U.S. under the Amazon Go brand and two larger supermarkets called Amazon Go Grocery. As part of its U.K. launch, Amazon also unveiled its new private-label food brand, by Amazon.