According to a Wall Street Journal report, Amazon may be looking to open c-stores and drive-thru grocery pick-up sites.
"For its planned convenience stores, Amazon is drawing influence from discounters like Aldi and Lidl, as well as dollar stores, which are expanding in the US with spartan stores, private-label inventory and few employees," reports the Journal.
However, according to a USA Today follow-up story, analyst Jim Prevor says the rumored c-stores could be nothing more than market research instead of a concrete plan. "There's no particular advantage to Amazon to open physical stores," he says. "I suspect the lofty multiples they get on Wall Street would not be supported if they suddenly announced they were going to spend millions on brick-and-mortar stores."From the c-store lens,according to the National Association of Convenience Stores, Amazon doesn’t sell grab-and-go coffee, fountain drinks, tobacco products or prepared foods. In fact, about 83 percent of all merchandise and foodservice items sold in a convenience store are consumed within one hour or less. And while logistics is an arena Amazon is known for, fresh prepared foods probably don’t appear on many online “wish lists.”
“It’s not to say that they’re not inventing their own category,” says Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives. He also noted that any Amazon convenience store would likely be a very different animal from what most Americans think of c-stores today.