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An Amazon Go store in Seattle. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

With the opening of its first large-format cashier-less grocery store in Seattle on Tuesday, Amazon is on its way to further expanding its physical footprint across U.S. cities.

The big picture: Amazon’s 2017 purchase of Whole Foods was never the end of its grocery ambitions — or its fight to win a bigger share of the whopping $700 billion per year American grocery industry. With its own network of stores, Amazon could attract shoppers looking for cheaper prices than Whole Foods and dramatically grow its brick-and-mortar reach.

Background: Walmart has long been the dominant player in the grocery business, with 50% of greater market share in 203 American cities and towns.

  • And while Amazon has made recent moves in the industry — buying Whole Foods' 470 stores and opening a handful of Go stores in big metros — its footprint doesn't come close to rivaling Walmart's network of 4,700 stores.

Now, Amazon has figured out how to scale its cashier-less technology to work in a new Seattle location that — at over 10,000 square feet — is five times the size of a typical Go store.

  • The stores will help Amazon get even further ahead of its competitors on speedy delivery, as they can serve as warehouses for fresh food.
  • The bigger, tech-infused stores will also be data collection machines for Amazon, feeding the tech giant information on how different neighborhoods shop and what they eat.
  • And Amazon has already said it will work on packaging and selling its cashier-less tech to other stores.

The bottom line: We shop for food more often than anything else, and grocery stores are essential in every city. Walmart's ubiquitousness in American life is thanks to the relationship it has built with its shoppers through groceries — and now Amazon may begin to shake that dominance.

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden weighs retired general Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star general Lloyd Austin as his nominee for Defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
1 hour ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.