AMAZON IS CERTAINLY not the obvious choice if you're asked to name the saviour of the high street, but it's going to have a ruddy good try.
The e-tail giant has announced plans for 10 pop-up shops in vacant stores across the UK, offering a range of goods and some Amazon lockers to collect items from the wider range.
The first store opens in Manchester on Monday with further stores following in Wales, Scotland, Yorkshire, The Midlands and The South East.
Far from selling Amazon Basics and own-branded products, the stores will instead act as a shop window for some of the small companies which use Amazon for fulfilment.
The scheme is part of a one-year pilot in association with Enterprise Nation. Amazon estimates that up to 100 brands will be given their first high street presence by the scheme.
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation told The Guardian: "Our intention is to help small businesses succeed by combining the best elements of online and high street retail. This new concept will provide small businesses with the space, technology and support to experience physical retail for the first time."
Amazon has long been a champion of the 'little guy' with its Amazon Fresh food delivery service offering a range of products sourced from local enterprises, as well as more well-known brands.
On the other hand, there's little doubt that Amazon is a significant factor in the decline of the high street, thanks to its market dominance and erm… complex tax arrangements.
The move isn't unique, with a number of big tech firms looking to bricks and mortar. eBay has trialled stores, Microsoft's first UK store is incoming, Raspberry Pi recently opened a store in Cambridge and of course, Amazon already owns Whole Foods in what was a surprise move into traditional shopping flanked by its burgeoning Amazon Go chain of checkout free grocery stores. μ
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