Amazon to ‘support independent retailers’ with 10 high street stores

Amazon will open 10 ‘Clicks and Mortar’ shops across the UK, which will be stocked with products from independent online retailers, selling everything from paperclips to pots and pans.

The year-long pilot programme will begin with their first shop on St Mary’s Gate in central Manchester and will be followed by the opening of other pop-up shops in Wales, Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire and across the South East.

Amazon says the new model will help ‘up and coming’ online brands grow their high street presence, and research from the pilot will be submitted to the government following the call for new ideas to develop their Future High Streets strategy.

Amazon will also be releasing a £1m fund to train over 150 full-time apprentices to help SMEs increase their productivity and boost their online sales; and provide free digital training at Amazon Academy events across the UK to help small businesses succeed online, in particular by boosting export sales.

Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon said: ‘Small businesses are one of our most important customer groups, and we’re thrilled to work with Enterprise Nation to design a comprehensive package to help entrepreneurs across the UK grow their businesses, both in-store and online,’

‘From giving up-and-coming online British brands the chance to experience physical retail, to funding the training of full-time apprenticeships and helping to increase SME exports, Amazon is committed to supporting the growth of small businesses – helping them boost the economy and create jobs across the UK.’

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to NewStart that the participating small businesses pay a ‘nominal’ fee each week to towards the cost of rent and business rates.

However, they said Amazon do not take a cut of any takings in the stores.

The government has faced growing calls to change the business rates system to ensure Amazon pays more.

In 2018 the retail giant paid just 0.7% of their income in business rates (£63.4m) following sales of £8.8bn.

In February, MPs called for an overhauled business rates system that will ‘level the playing field’ for struggling high street retailers who compete with Amazon.

Read NewStart’s feature from earlier this year on whether a so-called ‘Amazon Tax’ could save the high street.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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