Amazon announced that it will permanently close eight of its Amazon Go convenience stores — including two in Seattle.
“Like any physical retailer, we periodically assess our portfolio of stores and make optimization decisions along the way,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We remain committed to the Amazon Go format, operate more than 20 Amazon Go stores across the U.S., and will continue to learn which locations and features resonate most with customers as we keep evolving our Amazon Go stores.”
The move is the latest from the Seattle-based tech giant to pull back on some of its brick-and-mortar retail operations. In February, Amazon said it was pausing the rollout of its Amazon Fresh retail stores while it re-evaluates the concept’s economics. Though Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has also said he expects this year to be the year that the ecommerce giant will come up with a viable retail grocery format.
Amazon Go stores first launched in 2018. The stores have no cashiers or checkout lines — customers pay automatically through an app. At the time, according to MarketWatch, Amazon reportedly planned to open 3,000 such stores by 2021.
The two affected stores in Seattle are located downtown and both stores have already been closed for some time, according to Amazon. Multiple Amazon Go stores will remain in the Greater Seattle area. Two stores in New York City and four in San Francisco will also close. The affected stores will continue to operate until April 1. Amazon said it's working closely with all affected employees to identify new roles within the company, including at other nearby Amazon Go stores or Amazon Operations sites like fulfillment centers.
The company said it will continue to open new Go stores, including a recently-opened location south of Seattle in Puyallup, Wash.
Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky warned in February that Amazon would close some Go and Fresh stores “with low-growth potential” as the company moved to cut costs following its worst annual loss on record.
In January, Amazon announced it would lay off about 18,000 workers and last week, the company pressed pause on construction of its second headquarters in Arlington, Va.