Amazon may feel like an unstoppable force, what with its incredible inertia as it expands across the fashion, food, and even delivery industries. But every once in awhile, it seems, even giants can be brought to a heel. Despite the online retailer’s recent steps forward in the food arena — as evidenced by its Whole Foods acquisition and rumored meal kits — it would appear that a longer-standing component of the company’s business isn’t faring quite so well. As initially reported by Recode, Amazon Fresh, the grocery delivery service, is closing in at least nine states. So if you’ve enjoyed not having to go to your grocery store, you may have to look toward an alternative delivery solution.
For folks living in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, California, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia, receiving a notification noting that Amazon Fresh is no longer delivering in their neighborhoods may seem like quite a shock. After all, the service was first launched a decade ago in Seattle, and has since grown to service a considerable proportion of the U.S. Now, however, it would appear that Amazon is rolling back its long-standing grocery service.
An Amazon spokeswoman told Recode that while Fresh is indeed closing down in parts of the aforementioned states, major metropolitan areas (including New York City, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles) would be unaffected by the change. She further noted that the decision to suspend service was “unrelated to the Whole Foods acquisition.”
Of course, part of Amazon’s decision to buy Whole Foods may very well have been predicated on the difficulties the company faced in cornering a sizable chunk of the $700 billion grocery industry. Amazon Fresh took a bit of time to catch on, as folks seemed a bit wary about getting fish delivered to their front door via truck. Today, however, there are plenty of competitors promising the same convenience. That said, with more competition comes more challenges for Amazon, and now, it looks like the company is feeling the pressure.
The spokeswoman further noted that she was unable to speculate as to whether Amazon might re-launch Amazon Fresh or a similar service in the near future, so for now, we may have to settle for going to the store ourselves.