SEATTLE — In a decision that coincides with a pullback in its physical footprint and a broader effort to cut costs, Amazon Inc. is closing eight of its Amazon Go convenience stores.
The e-commerce giant will close two stores in New York, two stores in Seattle and four stores in San Francisco, CNBC reported. The affected stores will close April 1, and Amazon said it will work to help employees impacted by the move secure other roles at the company.
"Like any physical retailer, we periodically assess our portfolio of stores and make optimization decisions along the way," Amazon spokesperson Jessica Martin said in a statement. "In this case, we've decided to close a small number of Amazon Go stores in Seattle, New York City and San Francisco. 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."
Amazon debuted the Amazon Go format at the company's headquarters in Seattle in January 2018. The stores are outfitted with Amazon's Just Walk Out technology, which leverages a combination of computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning that enables shoppers to shop the store, pick out what they want and skip the checkout.
Last spring, the company opened its first suburban Amazon Go location in Mill Creek, Wash., after focusing launches around urban areas in a bid to draw commuters on their lunch breaks, as Convenience Store News previously reported.
As the company grapples with slowing sales and a worsening economic outlook, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has been taking steps to curtail expenses in its grocery unit.
In January, Amazon announced it would lay off as many as 18,000 employees — cuts which were felt in the company's grocery business, according to CNBC. Additionally, the retailer unloaded warehouse and brick-and-mortar retail space in recent months after a period of rapid expansion fueled by a surge of e-commerce spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amazon executives previously confirmed the company would close some Amazon Fresh supermarkets and Amazon Go stores following its fourth-quarter earnings results. Amazon is also temporarily pausing expansion of the Fresh grocery chain until it can find a format that resonates with customers and "where we like the economics," Jassy said on the earnings call.
Amazon aimed to crack the grocery segment since the launch of Amazon Fresh grocery delivery in 2007. The retailer later acquired Whole Foods Market in 2017 for $13.7 billion — its largest acquisition to date.