Amazon on prowl for stores and possible acquisition in France


Online giant Amazon is on the prowl for approximately 15 store locations in France, especially in Paris, in the next two years, according to the newspaper Le Monde.

The French publication also said that the U.S. company has “approached French distributors to forge partnerships or make an acquisition in France.” The overall goal in mind for Amazon is “to get closer to a retailer to take advantage of its buying capacity that they do not have at the moment,” Le Monde said.

The newspaper said Amazon was in discussions with two independent food distribution companies in France.

“They have approached everyone but have no received any positive feedback,” said a distributor quoted by the paper.

According to the report, one of those approached was major French retail chain Monoprix, whose parent company is Groupe Casino. But it indicated that Casino said it “does not intend to sell Monoprix.”

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

The new stores in France could be used to perhaps expand the company’s Amazon Go grab-and-go concept. The idea is currently in a private beta test with only Amazon employees and located around the corner from the company’s headquarters in Seattle.

Similarly, the French paper said Amazon is looking for partnerships in Britain and already approached the Morrisons grocery chain.

In February, the U.K.’s Sunday Times newspaper carried a report that Amazon was looking for store locations in central London to launch Amazon Go. At the time, the Times said “the move suggests it is stepping up plans to bring futuristic convenience stores to Britain.”

Amazon Go features a high-tech platform that allows consumers to purchase items without ever waiting in lines. The checkout process is done automatically through the customer’s smartphone.

The Amazon Go store now in beta test is smaller then regular supermarkets. It was launched before Amazon purchased Whole Foods Market, the organic and natural food products chain.

Meantime, Amazon still gets the bulk of its sales from the North American market but has been aggressively expanding its operations overseas. The company already has more than 30 fulfillment centers in the European Union and last year announced plans to expand its workforce in Europe above 41,000 people.

Besides online services, Amazon also has a dozen research and development facilities in Europe, including teams to develop its Alex personal assistant and drone delivery service.

Read the full story in the Le Monde newspaper.

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