Amazon has reportedly laid the groundwork for a new brick-and-mortar grocery chain by signing more than a dozen leases in Los Angeles, according to The Wall Street Journal. The news builds on reports from March that the e-Commerce giant was allegedly looking to open “dozens” of locations.
Contractors hired by Amazon were granted permits to change the exterior of a Woodland Hills, Los Angeles property, including starting electrical work on light fixtures and fire sprinklers and installing an espresso machine and kitchen equipment, according to people familiar with the matter. The first few stores could open by the end of 2019, with future locations planned for San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.
Amazon is reportedly looking at 35,000-square-foot locations, slightly more than half the size of a traditional 60,000 square foot grocery store. The chain is expected to offer a wider variety of products at lower price points than can be found at Amazon-owned Whole Foods.
It is not yet clear whether the new stores will carry Amazon branding or launch under an entirely new name. Amazon already has opened multiple physical locations under the Amazon Go, Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star banners, so building out the company’s brick-and-mortar presence under its own brand name would not be unheard of.