Amazon reportedly planning an all-new grocery chain separate from Whole Foods

Amazon has been steadily growing its retail footprint in recent years, though it’s now planning a major expansion beyond what most people were expecting, according to a report on Friday.

The company that made its name in ecommerce is looking to launch an all-new grocery chain comprising “dozens” of stores, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Sources claiming to have knowledge of the matter said the chain will have separate branding to Whole Foods, the grocery business that Amazon snapped up for $13.7 billion in 2017. This means it would likely offer a broader product range than Whole Foods, which focuses primarily on minimally processed items. Cheaper prices could also be on the cards, with the marked differences helping to minimize competition between the two brands.

Amazon is looking to open its first store under the new brand in Los Angeles before the end of 2019, with the company also in talks to open stores in Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Notably, the Journal’s report also claims that Amazon could rapidly bolster its new retail brand via the acquisition of regional grocery chains that already run at least a dozen stores.

Besides Whole Foods, Amazon’s food-focused businesses also include a grocery delivery service, as well as Amazon Go, a store using advanced tracking technology that enables shoppers to simply “grab and go,” with their Amazon accounts automatically charged.

The sources couldn’t say if any of Go’s smarts would end up in the new store, though if it’s not there at launch, it could be incorporated further along the road.

If Amazon goes ahead and launches the new grocery chain, the sources suggest it will be big on customer service, with online ordering and pick-up options also expected to be a major part of its broader offerings.

Walmart, the country’s dominant grocer, will be watching with great interest to see if Amazon moves to significantly expand its presence in the space. In a bid to stay ahead of the competition, the well-established retail behemoth has in recent years been rolling out pickup facilities at an increasing number of its stores, and also boosting its delivery network for customers who prefer to shop for groceries online.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Make some room in your backlog. Here are all the games to look out for in 2019

2019 is already a huge year for video games, with a large number of series getting new installments, including some that have been dormant for years. Brand new franchises are also being created.
Smart Home

Whatever happened to those dumb smart products we wrote about in 2017?

A smart salt dispenser? As manufacturers rush to get the next new smart item out there, we wonder if all these new inventions are really necessary. Here’s a list of 10 of the quirkiest home smart gadgets available, and where they are now.

The Edge browser is dying. Here's what we know about its replacement

There's a new Microsoft Chromium browser coming, and it looks like it will be replacing Edge for most people. Here's everything you need to know about this new browser, how you can use it, and when it's expected to come out.

5G is going to cost you a few bucks more, at least on Verizon

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.

Can electric cars be S3XY? Tesla says yes with the new Model Y crossover

Tesla introduced a crossover named Model Y at its design studio in Los Angeles. It's a more spacious alternative to the Model 3 it shares 75 percent of its parts with, and is a smaller sibling to the Model X.

Why premium is the most overused, and least understood, word in tech

Everyone has heard the word premium, and many of us will have purchased a premium product, but what does premium actually mean, and why is it used so much in tech? Here's why it's so popular.

Jury fines Apple $32 million for infringing on three Qualcomm patents

In a serious blow to Apple in its legal battle against Qualcomm, a San Diego jury fined Apple $32 million for infringing on three Qualcomm-owned patents. The decision marks the latest news in a string of court dates for the two companies.

4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.

Captain Marvel continues to soar at the box office with huge second weekend

Captain Marvel blasted into theaters in a big way a week ago, and Marvel's first female-led solo superhero movie is showing no signs of slowing down after a big second week in theaters.

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?

Patreon is having another go at changing the way it charges creators

Patreon messed up pretty badly the last time it tried to change its payment system. Now it's having another go, though this time the changes mainly affect future sign-ups rather than its current community of creators.