Amazon ratcheted up its ambitions in the grocery business again on Monday, confirming plans for a new grocery format set to debut in California next year.
The new format, operated under the Amazon brand, will reportedly be separate from Whole Foods, the 500-store chain Amazon acquired two years ago for $13.7 billion. The company is touting it as its “first grocery store.” The footprint will be larger than the chain of small Amazon Go cashierless convenience stores, and will feature a conventional check-out experience.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to GeekWire that the company is opening the grocery store in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Woodland Hills, Calif. CNet first reported the news.
Amazon posted four new jobs on Monday for the store, including zone leader, grocery associate and food service associate while referring to a “new business”:
Join us as we launch Amazon’s first grocery store in Woodland Hills. We are passionate about creating a shopping experience that customers will love. If you are customer-obsessed, like learning new things, and want to contribute to end-to-end store operations for a new business, this is the place for you!
The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Amazon signed leases for more than a dozen sites in the Los Angeles area for the new chain of grocery stores, including one 35,000 square-foot location previously occupied by Toys “R” Us. That’s much bigger than anything Amazon has built in the past.
Amazon told CNet that it remained committed to the Whole Foods brand and would continue to invest in that business.
“When it comes to grocery shopping, we know customers love choice, and this new store offers another grocery option that’s distinct from Whole Foods Market, which continues to grow and remain the leader in quality natural and organic food,” the Amazon spokesperson told CNet, adding that 17 Whole Foods locations were opened this year and more are planned.
There is a Whole Foods location in Woodland Hills.
Amazon has integrated its tech and services into Whole Foods, offering online ordering and pickup options from the chain as well as discounts to Amazon Prime members.
The company also still maintains Amazon Fresh, and announced last month that the delivery service, which was previously $14.99 a month, is now included as part of the $119 yearly Prime membership fee.
Groceries are an estimated $675 billion U.S. market and Amazon is consistently looking for ways to compete against industry leaders such as Walmart, Target and Kroger.
Since opening the first Amazon Go location to the public in Seattle in January 2018, that concept has grown to 16 locations, with others in San Francisco, Chicago and New York.
Amazon confirmed last month that the Go team was running internal tests at a new, larger location in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood at 600 E. Pike St.