London (AFP)

The online sales giant Amazon is launching Thursday in London, for the first time outside the United States, a supermarket allowing you to do your shopping without going to the checkout, a new step in its fierce competition with traditional shops.

The Amazon Fresh store in the Ealing Broadway shopping center "is the first convenience store in the UK to allow you to shop and then go straight out" without going through a checkout.

"It is also the first physical Amazon store outside the United States," said a statement.

Customers simply scan a QR code from their smartphone on entering, then do their shopping ... and exit directly.

No checkout, but every item that is taken off the shelves by the customer is automatically debited from their account through the app on their phone.

The store works with sensors, cameras, and “deep learning” algorithms (technology intended to allow a machine to learn by itself, editor's note), explains Amazon in a promotional video.

The store offers "a wide selection of new 'by Amazon' stamped products," including meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, bakery, prepared meals and basic necessities. "

The store will be "similar to 20 Amazon Go stores in the US but will operate under the Fresh brand already used in the UK for online groceries", and a series of other locations are planned in London.

“Consumers in the UK crave a convenient shopping experience and we believe they will appreciate being able to come in and out with the purchases they need,” said Matt Birch, a former executive of Sainsbury's supermarkets, now the head of Amazon Fresh Stores in the country.

Amazon, which was already on the rise in the UK before the pandemic and was increasingly competing with a distressed retail sector, has seen its position strengthened by the pandemic which has resulted in the closure of established stores for months. on the street.

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