Amazon is to step up its assault on the UK’s retail market by delivering parcels to nearly 5,000 corner shops and newsagents around the country.
The online shopping giant has quietly started trialling the scheme on a small scale with items such as books and clothes, and plans to roll it out nationwide.
Amazon has already built itself into a $109bn business by offering customers a
highly convenient way to shop and this move will give it even more muscle
with which to take on high street stores.
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Consumers will be able to collect their orders from local shops that are often open until late into the night, instead of having to wait in for orders or coming home to find a delivery note telling them to collect their parcel from the nearest Royal Mail depot.
They will also be able to use the “Collect+” scheme to send unwanted items back to the retailer, making it easier, for example, to order clothes in several sizes and return those that do not fit.
The scheme is likely to prove particularly popular with employees of the many UK companies which ban staff from having personal goods delivered to their work address.
However, it is also expected to ignite fresh concerns amongst traditional retailers, who already fear that the Seattle-based shopping giant is driving them off the high street.
Amazon started out as a book specialist but has since moved into everything from high-end electronic goods to fresh food, piling pressure on retailers in virtually every sector.
Paypoint (Berlin: PAN.BE - news) , the company which manages the Collect+ delivery scheme, has a network of 4,900 stores willing totake delivery of other people’s parcels in the hope that it will drive footfall into their stores. It already works with Spar and Costcutter, but is in talks to expand the service to bigger chains such as supermarkets in the Co-operative group.