The Orange County Register: Amazon is expanding its network of cashier-free grocery stores in Southern California but none have opened for in-store shopping ... “No stores are currently open to the public,” Amazon spokeswoman Rachel Hass said via email ... The e-commerce giant has offered up few details about its markets, and Hass declined to reveal if store openings have been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burt Flickinger III, managing director for the retail consulting firm Strategic Resource Group, attributed the delays to the health crisis and two other factors. “They are still trying to straighten out their Whole Foods acquisition,” he said. “Whole Foods is the only major food chain that has seen negative same-store sales for a number of quarters.”
Flickinger said the Whole Food stores also are poorly designed. “There’s not enough space for pickup and delivery,” he said. “That’s a monumental mess, both logistically and from an engineering standpoint.” He said Amazon also has “a big black eye” from being months behind in delivering much-needed consumables during the early days of the pandemic.
“They delivered what they could in terms of masks, wipes and things like that,” he said. “But deliveries of things that were big and took up a lot of space in their trucks — like toilet paper, cases of water and big bags of pet food — were months behind.”