Picture: REUTERS/RICK WILKING
Picture: REUTERS/RICK WILKING

London — Amazon.com is laying the groundwork to bring its checkout-free grocery store, Amazon Go, to Europe, as the US giant steps up its efforts to crack the $800bn global market.

The UK intellectual property office on Friday approved the Seattle-based company’s application to trademark the slogans "No lines. No checkout. (No, seriously)" and "No queue. No checkout. (No, seriously)". A corresponding application is being reviewed by the EU’s equivalent agency.

The strap line is used in a promotional video for Amazon Go on YouTube that has been viewed more than 9-million times.

The company has opened a futuristic test store under that name in Seattle that has no staff or checkouts. Instead, it uses sensors and a smartphone application to top up customers’ "virtual shopping carts" when they remove items from shelves and place them in their bags. When they leave the store, Amazon adds up the cost of items purchased and charges shoppers’ accounts.

Amazon declined to comment.

The company’s desire to crack the grocery industry is a concern for British supermarket operators Tesco and J Sainsbury, which are struggling to retain shoppers amid stiff competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl. In 2016, Amazon launched its online grocery delivery service, Fresh, in the UK and also partnered with WM Morrison Supermarkets to bolster its product range.

The UK, with a well-developed e-commerce industry, is a regular first stop outside the US for Amazon when it is introducing new services. Amazon is testing three brick-and-mortar grocery formats in Seattle — Amazon Go, drive-in grocery kiosks and a hybrid supermarket that mixes online and in-store shopping.

Bloomberg

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