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Oh, the irony – Amazon to open a high street store

Amazon to open chain of high street stores

Amazon, often blamed for the demise of the UK’s high street, is to open its own high street store in Manchester with others to follow across the country.

The store will stock products from 10 of its small business sellers who will pay a nominal rent for two weeks in the shop before being rotated with another 10 small business sellers.

Amazon said other stores in line for opening would be located in Birmingham, Bradford, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Additional sites, they said, are still to be chosen. Amazon’s stated ambition is to have more than 100 small online businesses selling in 10 Clicks and Mortar shops across the UK.

The year-long project will be run in association with Enterprise Nation which is a training and networking business. Also involved will be the card processor Square and insurer Direct Line for Business.

Amazon did not say how exactly the costs would be allocated, but it has appointed an independent research consultant who will study the pilot and share its findings with the government.

Amazon also announced they would be funding training for 150 small business apprentices to boost online sales as well as offering free digital training to increase the UK’s small business exports.

Small businesses are one of our most important customer groups, and we’re thrilled to work with Enterprise Nation to design a comprehensive package to help entrepreneurs across the UK grow their businesses, both in-store and online.

From giving up-and-coming online British brands the chance to experience physical retail, to funding the training of full-time apprenticeships and helping increase SME exports, Amazon is committed to supporting the growth of small businesses and help them boost the economy and create jobs across the UK

- Press release: Dough Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon

Amazon claimed that for the past 20 years it has been a growth engine for small businesses located across the globe. And the facts do seem to back this up. Back in 2000 just three percent of gross merchandise sales on Amazon came from third-party sellers. By 2018 this proportion had increased to 58%.

And while Amazon is known for its online presence it has dabbled in the high street before. The online giant runs a number of shops in the US. Mostly they are kiosks in malls which offer a revolving inventory of big brands. These shops are grouped under headings including Books, 4-Star, which sells goods with four and five star reviews and Go, its auto-checkout grocery outlets.

Image: SounderBruce

TG Bamford author photo


A veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.
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