Amazon is reportedly planning a new grocery store chain

Amazon is planning to open a chain of grocery stores, which would be separate from Whole Foods, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The flagship store is expected to open in Los Angeles by the end of 2019 and will be followed by two other stores which already have signed leases, per sources close to the matter.

Amazon could potentially buy-out regional grocery store chains across the US, and is apparently focusing on metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. According to sources, the grocery stores will be around 35,000 square feet, slightly larger than half the size of an average supermarket.

Still nameless, Amazon’s grocery store chain will likely sell more products than Whole Foods, a health-foods store that does not carry goods containing any artificial preservatives, flavors or sweeteners. Amazon has also hinted that the new stores will offer lower-prices than Whole Foods.

Amazon hasn’t decided whether or not the stores will be employing cashiers or act as a self-serve business similar to its Amazon Go shops. As for which commercial areas these new grocery stores will be located in, the report suggests Amazon may look into open-air shopping centers and strip malls to increase foot traffic.

However, WSJ highlights that many shopping center leases include restrictions on which products can be sold in stores, to eliminate aggressive competition between close businesses. This may be a deciding factor in where Amazon decides to open stores, since the company has no desire to face product restrictions.