One of Amazon’s pioneering Amazon Go outlets in its hometown of Seattle has been closed, a victim – at least for now – of crime and safety concerns in the city.
The move is Amazon’s second safety-related withdrawal from the city in six months and the latest announcement of such a shutdown by a major US retailer.
“We have temporarily closed our Amazon Go store at 4th & Pike in Seattle for the safety of our store employees, customers and third-party vendors, and we hope conditions in the area improve and we can reopen at the ‘future,’ Amazon said. the spokesperson said in an email, adding that positions have been offered to employees at other Amazon stores.
Amazon Go stores are named after the company’s “Just Walk Out” technology, which uses a mix of sensors and cameras to allow customers to simply grab items from shelves and walk out of the store. They are billed automatically without the need to go through a queue.
The affected property, 1423 Fourth Ave., is located in a part of the city’s downtown that, despite its proximity to some of Seattle’s most prominent office towers and the touristy Pike Place Market district, has been plagued by a persistent pandemic spike in crime. of street. Amazon made headlines in March when it announced the reassignment of 1,800 employees in the neighboring office building in 300 Pine Street, one of dozens of properties the company leases or owns in the downtown area. An Amazon Go store in this building also closed recently, although the reason could not be determined.
The Fourth Avenue Amazon Go store is the latest in a wave of closures, withdrawals or other restrictions enacted by retailers as cities across the country struggle to eliminate the scourge amplified by the pandemic and street crime from their urban cores. Among the most notorious was Walgreens’ decision in October to close five San Francisco stores over what it called “organized retail crime.”
More recently, Seattle-based Starbucks announced last month the closure of 16 stores in urban areas for safety reasons, including six in Seattle. Acting CEO Howard Schultz later reportedly told staff that more such moves were in the works.
According to CoStar data, the owner of the 16,700-square-foot single-story property on Fourth Avenue is Seattle-based Joshua Green Corp. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.