Amazon to shutter all Go convenience stores in San Francisco

Closures on April 1 part of “optimization decisions” by the e-commerce giant

Amazon's Andy Jassy; Amazon Go store located at 575 Market Street (Google Maps, Getty)
Amazon's Andy Jassy; Amazon Go store located at 575 Market Street (Google Maps, Getty)

Full stop: will close all its cashier-less Go stores in San Francisco on April 1. 

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant said it will shut down its brick-and-mortar Amazon Go convenience stores in San Francisco, including stores at 300 California Street, 3 Embarcadero Center, 98 Post Street and 575 Market Street, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The closures will also impact two stores in Seattle and two in New York City, the company said. The padlocks represent a third of all Amazon Go locations.

“Like any physical retailer, we periodically assess our portfolio of stores and make optimization decisions along the way,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Amazon said it remains committed to the Amazon Go format, with more than 20 Amazon Go stores across the U.S., and would continue to learn which locations and features resonate most with customers.

The company said it would work with affected workers to find new roles at Amazon, and looks to open more Go stores elsewhere. Go stores don’t have cashiers, but workers prepare food and stock shelves. 

Amazon opened its first Go stores in 2018, a move that many thought was bringing the future of retail to the city, where smartphones replace cashiers and registers, according to the Chronicle.

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Shoppers could grab items and pay automatically through smartphones to skip lines. The company expanded to three stores in less than a year. 

Last year, Amazon announced that it would close more than 50 of its physical retail stores, according to the New York Times. The closures impacted two dozen bookstores and about 30 4-star stores, which sell general merchandise. 

Earlier this year, Amazon released more details about a series of layoffs that ultimately affected 18,000 employees across the company. Those layoffs impacted 104 workers in its San Francisco offices and 157 employees across its Sunnyvale locations. 

Another of the company’s retail formats, Amazon Fresh, has also left a bad taste in the mouths of several communities stuck with “zombie” stores, waiting indefinitely for them to open.

Amazon recently scrapped plans for its first big-box store, which would have offered clothes, groceries and other items. The decision came after a fourth-quarter earnings call revealed struggles at Amazon’s physical stores.

Last week, the company pumped the brakes on building the second phase of its second headquarters in northern Virginia. The company also just announced its largest-ever round of layoffs.

— Dana Bartholomew

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