Amazon closing 8 Go stores — here’s where

Amazon said it would close underperforming Go and Fresh stores earlier this year, though it still says it has plans in physical retail.
An Amazon Go sign at an Amazon Go store.
  • Amazon is shuttering eight Amazon Go stores.
  • The c-stores will close in New York City, Seattle and San Francisco. 
  • The retailer says it’s committed to physical stores, including the Go concept.

Amazon is closing eight Amazon Go stores — its cashierless convenience store concept — across the U.S. 

The retailer said it would close two Go stores in New York City, two stores in Seattle and four San Francisco locations. The stores will all be closed by April 1, Amazon told Retail Leader. A company spokesperson said the closures in Seattle would have little impact, since the two stores have already been closed, and multiple Go locations in and around the city remain open.

“Like any physical retailer, we periodically assess our portfolio of stores and make optimization decisions along the way,” the Amazon spokesperson told Retail Leader. “ We remain committed to the Amazon Go format, operate more than 20 Amazon Go stores across the U.S., and will continue to learn which locations and features resonate most with customers as we keep evolving our Amazon Go stores.” 

While it’s another sign that Amazon is rethinking its brick-and-mortar retail strategy, it doesn’t mean that Amazon is giving up on the c-store concept. The e-commerce giant last month opened a Go store in Puyallup, Washington. The new Go store marked another location in its latest format — suburban stores larger than the c-stores it operates in cities. 

Amazon said it would help employees impacted by the store closures find new jobs elsewhere at the company, like in other Go stores or at fulfillment centers. The retailer this year said it would slow its expansion in the brick-and-mortar grocery business, which included closing underperforming Go and Amazon Fresh grocery stores.

In a February interview this week with the Financial Times, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the retailer still planned to “go big” in the physical retail space, citing a lack of “normalcy” during the COVID-19 pandemic for its shifting strategy. In addition to Fresh and Go, Amazon also owns and operates the popular Whole Foods Market chain. 

The Amazon Go and Fresh formats rely on Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, which enables customers to walk into stores, scan their credit card and grab products for purchase without ever having to go through checkout. But as Retail Leader Pro analyst Elizabeth Lafontaine, the grocery pause might indicate consumers aren’t ready for such a shift. 

“On the surface, making those trips more efficient for consumers using technology sounds like a winning formula, but in reality, there both needs to be consumer buy into those concepts and the ability for consumers to easily obtain product information or expertise without a store associate in place,” she said.