Creating a marriage of convenience: With incumbent supermarket groups operating from huge store footplates and largely enjoying strong sales, can Amazon Fresh really reshape convenience grocery retailing?
Europe’s grocers have emerged from the pandemic remarkably well. They largely reinforced their position as an essential service, their staff were frontline workers, and ecommerce penetration increased dramatically. While online sales have inevitably dropped off, the residual lift marks a step change in omnichannel grocery in Europe and the United States.
Europe’s major supermarket brands have also stepped back from globalisation. The late-20th century ambition to exploit markets worldwide has been replaced by a strategy to maximise domestic opportunities. Walmart sold Asda in the United Kingdom, Tesco and Carrefour extracted themselves from multiple markets and only the German discounters — which operate on a scale-based model — are truly multinational.
Yet a new threat is emerging, the elephant in the aisles. Amazon has been gradually ramping up its Amazon Fresh service by expanding its physical grocery store format, as the ecommerce giant attempts to break th