Amazon is closing down two cashierless Go stores in New York City, two in Seattle and four in San Francisco on April 1st, according to GeekWire. The e-retail giant made the announcement on the same day it admitted that it's pausing construction on its second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia as it reassesses its office needs in the face of more and more people preferring to work remotely. As Bloomberg notes, these are Amazon's latest cost-cutting moves amidst slowing sales growth. In January, the company expanded its planned job cuts from 10,000 to 18,000 roles, with the layoffs since then mostly impacting personnel from its retail and recruiting divisions.
Company spokesperson Jessica Martin told the publications in a statement: "Like any physical retailer, we periodically assess our portfolio of stores and make optimization decisions along the way. We remain committed to the Amazon Go format, operate more than 20 Amazon Go stores across the US and will continue to learn which locations and features resonate most with customers."
Amazon's Go stores were designed to be high-tech shops equipped with cameras and sensors that can detect when products are taken and returned to shelves. Customers can grab any item they want, which will be added to their virtual cart for online payment, and then walk out of the store without having to pass by a cashier.
While Amazon still has over 20 Go stores in the country, it has long struggled to conquer the physical retail space and has been changing up strategies every so often. It used to have 87 retail pop-up kiosks across the US, but the company shut them down before the pandemic hit. And in 2022, Amazon closed down all 68 of its physical bookstores, pop-up locations and '4-star' shops in the US and UK. Just this February, though, CEO Andy Jassy said the company plans to go big on its brick-and-mortar grocery store business. He told the Financial Times: "We're hopeful that in 2023, we have a format that we want to go big on, on the physical side."