New York’s new Amazon Fresh store still a shell, but compan…


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — While the future of new Amazon Fresh stores in New York remains unknown, Amazon is reimagining new ways to expand its grocery services across the United States.

Amazon Fresh is a new grocery store designed to offer a seamless grocery shopping experience both online or in-store. Customers can find a wide assortment of national brands and produce, meat, and seafood — as well as prepared foods made fresh in-store. To make shopping more convenient, it offers Just Walk Out shopping and Amazon Dash Cart, which enable customers to skip the checkout line and new Alexa features to help customers manage their shopping lists to better navigate aisles.

Based on outward appearances, which include an enabled WiFi hotspot and a pending state liquor license, a new Amazon Fresh store seemed to be slated for Staten Island. But according to statements shared by Amazon in April, the 44,448-square-foot strip-mall anchor remains a shell.

It’s because the company put all Fresh expansions on “pause.”

Physical storefronts began launched in 2020 with locations spreading rapidly across the country for two years — but soon, those expansions were put on a pause as stores weren’t performing as expected. Supermarket analyst Matthew Casey, owner of Matthew P. Casey & Associates in Rahway, told the Asbury Park Press last year that Amazon Fresh locations are “poorly producing stores.” In his store visits, employees assembling online orders for grocery deliveries outnumbered actual customers.

The Staten Island location would have become the first to open in New York City.

As more potential openings were “frozen,” Amazon began its efforts to reimagine its existing Fresh stores. It redesigned stores in Chicago — bringing more sales and promotions, improvements in selection and stock, friendly and helpful employees, and a more inviting space. It unveiled similar updates to three stores in Los Angeles, Calif.

It also expanded selections to include more than 2,000 national and private-label brand products, a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop, and more. Refreshed stores also offer new options to use when shopping or checking out — with Dash Cart, a smart shopping cart that allows customers to shop the store, discover new items, find the best deals, and skip the checkout line. A new self-checkout allows customers to save time on grocery trips, while traditional checkouts also remain available.

Now, Amazon is offering new plans for its grocery service — offering grocery delivery and free pickup to all customers in cities and towns in the United States where Amazon Fresh is available for Prime members. The service expansion, which was announced earlier this month, will make it easier for all customers, whether they have Prime or not, to get groceries both in-store and online, says Amazon.

Customers can now order delivery from a variety of local grocery and specialty retailers available on Amazon.com, including Bristol Farms, Cardenas Markets, Pet Food Express, Weis Markets, and Save Mart. An expansion of service is also slated from Whole Foods Market for non-Prime members. One fully launched across all Whole Foods Market locations, customers in more than 3,500 cities and towns across the U.S. will have access to two-hour grocery delivery from Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods Market.

With the holiday season approaching, more deals are available, with low prices of items and more promotions available to offer savings to customers, according to Amazon.

There is only one Amazon Fresh store in New York State — located at 3620 Long Beach Rd., in Oceanside, N.Y.

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