Amazon opens first general store in the UK

Amazon will open its first general store in the UK selling items such as books, technology and toys, while the online retail giant continues its expansion into physical retail.

The US company will open the first Amazon 4-star store outside the US at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at the Bluewater shopping center near Dartford, Kent.

Amazon launched its first 4-star shop in 2018 that only sells products that have been rated by customers with four stars or higher, and trending items.

The store reflects what its customers regularly buy and enjoy, and uses data from its online store to see which consumer electronics, toys, games, books, kitchen items, household products, and more are popular with local shoppers.

Andy Jones, director of Amazon 4-Star UK, said this was an “exciting” milestone for the retail giant who had started plans for the store before the pandemic.

“I’ve been working on it for the past two years so now we’re obviously very keen to get customers and see what they think,” he told PA news agency.

“The pandemic hasn’t really changed the way we think. We saw the model work very well in malls in the US, so a location like Bluewater made perfect sense for us.

“I think the diversity in the store is really important and hopefully something that customers will see.

“There are the Amazon products that they expect, but also local products from small sellers, because that’s a big part of the Amazon business.”

The store has displays of products from Amazon’s small business partners through its marketplace operation.

However, the retail boss did not want to confirm whether further 4-star stores are already in Amazon’s UK plans or whether it is an individual attempt.

It added that the product range in the store will change regularly as the company’s “curators” respond to customer feedback and new releases, with product lines updated every week.

Amazon opened its first UK grocery store last year and welcomed customers to Amazon Fresh in Ealing in March.

The retailer said the model has been “well received” since it opened and has expanded the brick and mortar grocery segment to six stores across London.

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