Amazon opens two ‘dark’ grocery stores to fill online orders

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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An e-tail giant is using two brand new stores to increase its online grocery delivery capability in the Los Angeles area.

Amazon is taking the first steps toward opening its long-rumored chain of grocery stores (not in the Whole Foods or Amazon Go formats) with the opening of two locations in Woodland Hills and Irvine, Calif. The two stores are currently focused exclusively on fulfilling grocery delivery orders during the COVID 19 pandemic. The two locations were expected to become the first stores in the new chain. 

As a result of opening these two “dark stores” to support fulfillment of online grocery orders, Amazon says it has increased delivery capacity and is able to serve tens of thousands more customers in these communities. Woodland Hills is a neighborhood of Los Angeles, while Irvine is a suburb in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

In October 2019, Amazon signed leases for over a dozen brick-and-mortar retail stores in Los Angeles-area locations including Studio City as well as Woodland Hills and Irvine. The stores measure about 35,000-sq.-ft. According to CNBC, Amazon plans to open other grocery stores in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

Amazon reported impressive 26% growth in Q1 sales, driven by consumers staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The e-tailer said it will invest all of its expected $4 billion profit during Q2 on COVID-19 expenses.