Amazon opens general store in UK, first outside the US

International

A general view of the new Amazon 4-star store in Bluewater shopping centre, Kent, England, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. Amazon has opened its first general store outside the United States in a mall in Britain, selling the online retail giant’s most popular products including books, toys, games and consumer electronics. The U.S. company said the store, called “4-star” because it sells products rated 4 stars or above by customers, reflects what customers are regularly buying and enjoying. (Doug Peters/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Amazon on Wednesday opened its first general store outside the United States in a mall in Britain, selling the online retailer’s most popular products including books, toys, games and consumer electronics.

The U.S. company said the store, called “4-star” because it sells products rated 4 stars or above by customers, reflects what customers are regularly buying and enjoying. The retailer says it uses data from its online business to select which products are popular with local shoppers and that the instore display will change regularly.

Amazon launched the general store model in 2018 in the U.S. where it already has several dozen outlets.

The company said the launch at the Bluewater Shopping Center in Kent, southeast of London, had been planned for two years, prior to the pandemic.

“The pandemic didn’t really change our thinking. We’ve seen that the model has worked really well in malls in the U.S.,” said Andy Jones, director of Amazon 4-star U.K.

“There are the Amazon products (customers) will expect but also local products from small suppliers, because that is a huge part of the Amazon business,” he added.

He wouldn’t comment on whether more 4-star stores are being planned for the U.K.

The company opened its first grocery store, Amazon Fresh, in the U.K. last year in London. It said the model has been “well received” since opening and has grown the bricks and mortar grocery arm to six stores across London.

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