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Amazon takes on Ocado and Tesco in grocery market

The online retailer has launched a grocery store to deliver familiar UK brands as well as niche and foreign brands by post
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

Amazon.co.uk has announced a move into the grocery market, offering a mix of familiar UK brands and niche and foreign brands.

The move, announced on Wednesday, takes the online retailer into similar territory as that inhabited by supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Asda, as well as the grocery delivery firm Ocado, which is gearing up for a stock market flotation. "For the launch, fresh or chilled food will be available via Marketplace sellers," a spokesperson told ZDNet UK on Wednesday.

"Amazon.co.uk's aim is to be the place where customers can find and discover any product they want to buy online, and with the introduction of this new store there are thousands of household, niche, ethnic and international grocery items, all available at the click of a button," Amazon.co.uk grocery director James Leeson said in a statement.

"With unlimited virtual shelf space, customers can choose from a wide variety of products, all of which benefit from free delivery," said Leeson. "We will work tirelessly to increase the selection of grocery items available to be delivered directly to customers' doors."

Although some items such as crisps are only available in bulk, many are available on an individual basis — a £2 jar of tomato sauce, for example — and Amazon will deliver any order for free if the customer is willing to wait between three and five working days for the groceries to be dispatched. ZDNet UK has asked the company whether it will be running the service at a loss, but had received no reply at the time of writing.

In its statement, Amazon noted that customers will be able to order groceries through their smartphones, with iPhone and iPod Touch users able to use the dedicated iOS app, and others able to access Amazon's mobile site through their browsers.

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