Jul 16, 2021 - Business
Amazon Fresh joins the Twin Cities grocery wars
An Amazon Fresh store in Irvine, California.
An Amazon Fresh store in Irvine, California. Photo: Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Amazon's entrance into the Twin Cities' grocery market is making progress this summer.

What's happening: Amazon has at least four of its Fresh stores in the pipeline, according to Axios sources, though the e-commerce giant hasn't yet confirmed its plans in the metro.

  • Construction is underway on a store at Riverdale Village in Coon Rapids, according to city permits.
  • A store planned in Burnsville's Cobblestone Court has a construction permit under review, according to a city official.
  • Another has been approved for Eagan's Town Centre, and an Associated Bank branch is being relocated before construction for Amazon begins.
  • An Arden Hills store has also been approved, but construction has not yet begun.

How it works: Some of the Amazon Fresh stores don't require customers to check out.

  • Customers who choose to use the "Just Walk Out" cashierless technology can simply exit the store when they're done shopping, and the bill will be automatically charged to their Amazon account.
  • The system is equipped with "overhead computer-vision cameras, weight sensors and deep-learning technology to detect merchandise that shoppers take from or return to shelves," according to Supermarket News.

The big picture: As of late April, Amazon has opened roughly a dozen of its Fresh stores, many of which are in California and Illinois. Seattle and New Jersey are up next, an Amazon executive said on an earnings call.

The bottom line: Amazon is entering a highly competitive Twin Cities grocery market, in which there is no dominant player.

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