Amazon Clicks and Mortar pop up shop

Source: PA Wire

Amazon hoped the stores would inspire the government to come up with forward-thinking answers to the high street’s woes

It’s long been branded a high street killer, but Amazon has said it plans to give the government proof of how a new model of store - a hybrid of bricks & mortar and online - could be its saviour.

The online giant announced today it was launching 10 “clicks and mortar” stores across the UK, which will be used to sell products, including food and drink, for 100 of its third-party online sellers.

The new stores - which will also sell electronic goods, fashion, beauty and homeware products - would give online retailers a vital first step onto the high street, Amazon said.

Amazon’s online delivery model has been a huge factor in the exodus to online shopping, with senior retail figures, led by Tesco boss Dave Lewis, having called for the introduction of a so-called Amazon tax to level the playing field.

But Amazon said not only did its plans show its commitment to helping small businesses, but that it hoped they would inspire the government’s efforts to come up with forward-thinking answers to the high street’s woes.

It said the pop-up stores would be used in a yearlong trial to explore a new model and highlight the benefits of combining in-store and online retail in one location. The first store is opening in St Mary’s Gate in central Manchester today, with more to follow in Wales, Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire and across the south east.

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Amazon has commissioned consultants to produce a detailed analysis of the impact of the pilot and will submit its findings to the government’s Future High Streets strategy.

Amazon, which is working with small business network and business support provider Enterprise Nation on the project, also today announced a new £1m apprenticeship fund to help SMEs selling on Amazon upskill their workforce. It said the fund would create more than 150 digital marketing, business administration and customer service practitioner apprenticeships.

“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,” said Amazon UK country manager Doug Gurr.

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