Amazon plans up to 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021

Amazon may open 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021 - as survey reveals it's now third in online ads

Opening multiple locations in proximity, like it's doing in Seattle, could also help Amazon reduce costs by centralising food production in one kitchen serving many stores.

As a matter of perspective, 7-eleven, the largest convenience store chain in the world operates 8,600 stores in the United States, and in 2017 generated $14.33 billion in United States sales alone.

Amazon Go is seen as a competitor to the already well-established chains of 7-Eleven convenience stores and Subway fast-food restaurants. Called Amazon Go, the store features what Amazon calls "just walk out" technology, using sensors and cameras to track what customers take off shelves and out of the store.

Adding 3,000 convenience stores would make Amazon Go among the biggest chains in U.S. The internet giant is considering plans to have about 10 locations open by the end of this year, about 50 locations in major metro areas in 2019, and then as many as 3,000 by 2021, said the people, who requested anonymity discussing internal plans. Whole Foods, for instance, started selling Amazon Echo smart speakers nearly immediately after the $13.4 billion acquisition of the grocery chain closed in August 2017. Kroger fell 1.5 percent, and Target declined 0.6 percent.

Amazon has been quite cautious in its roll-out of Amazon Go stores that replace the cashier with a smartphone app. The shares rose about 1 percent to $1,942.82 at 10:41 a.m.in NY.

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"We have no plans to open 2,000 of anything", a spokesperson said a few days after the newspaper's story published. After opening its first location in 2016, Amazon is now up to 16 locations.

Such an expansion could put Amazon back into an investment cycle.

Going from just four locations to 3,000 in a few years would constitute a massive jump and make Amazon a leading convenience store operator, rivaling 7-Eleven, Walgreens and CVS.

Amazon Go is the most distinctive of all of its physical stores. A fourth AmazonGo opened Monday in Chicago and there are plans to open a fifth in New York City. Some of the most recent Amazon Go locations feature only the prepared-food section without a grocery selection.

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