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Amazon has opened its first general store in the UK, selling items including books, technology and toys, as the online retail behemoth continues its expansion in physical retail.
The US company opened the first Amazon 4-star store outside the US on Wednesday at the Bluewater shopping centre, near Dartford in Kent.
Amazon launched its first 4-star store – which only sells products rated four stars or above by customers and trending items – in 2018.
It said the shop reflects what its customers are regularly buying and enjoying, using data from its online business to see which consumer electronics, toys, games, books, kitchen items, home products and more are popular with local shoppers.
Andy Jones, director of Amazon 4-star UK, said it is an “exciting” milestone for the retail giant, which started plans for the store prior to the pandemic.
“I’ve been working on this for the past two years so we are obviously just really keen now to get customers in and see what they think,” he told the PA news agency.
“The pandemic didn’t really change our thinking. We’ve seen that the model has worked really well in malls in the US, so a location like Bluewater made total sense to us.
“I think the variety in the store is really important and hopefully something customers will see.
“There are the Amazon products they will expect but also local products from small suppliers, because that is a huge part of the Amazon business.”
The store has displays with products from small business partners of Amazon through its marketplace operation.
However, the retail boss would not confirm whether more 4-star stores are already in Amazon’s UK plans or if this is an individual trial.
It added that the assortment of products in the store will change on a regular basis as the firm’s “curators” respond to customer feedback and new releases, with product lines updated each week.
Amazon opened its first UK grocery store last year, welcoming customers to its Amazon Fresh in Ealing in March.
The retailer said the model has been “well received” since opening and has grown the bricks and mortar grocery arm to six stores across London.