An Amazon spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk the company was opening the delivery station in Weybridge and would work with four independent delivery companies to distribute orders.
Asked whether the warehouse would be used as a base for Amazon Fresh he said the company would not comment on rumours and speculation. Amazon Fresh is already operating in a number of cities in the US, but he declined to comment on any proposed timescale for the introduction of the service in the UK.
Around 20 people will be employed directly by Amazon at the delivery station at Brooklands Business Park, Weybridge.
Hiring 140 drivers
In addition, four independent, regional delivery companies are hiring approximately 140 drivers who will deliver parcels from the new station to Amazon customers across Weybridge and the surrounding area.
The Weybridge station, which opens this week, is Amazon Logistics’ 15th delivery station in the UK.
David Jinks, a spokesman for the e-commerce and delivery firm ParcelHero said he was expecting the Amazon Fresh service to launch in the UK as early as September.
He said Amazon had recently launched a one-hour delivery service, supplying thousands of products such as coffee, batteries and nappies, and he expected the roll-out of Amazon Fresh in the UK would follow a similar pattern.
‘Launch of the one-hour service’
“With the launch of the one-hour service it started in central London and this looks to be the most likely place for Amazon Fresh to start. I’d expect it to concentrate on central London postcodes to begin with,” Jinks added.
He added that Amazon had been investing in its logistics capabilities and it had been recruiting a network of small delivery companies that could respond more quickly to Amazon’s needs than the Post Office and give it the flexibility it needed.
He did not have any predictions about the size or the range Amazon Fresh was likely to offer, but he said it would want to have a strong product offer from the off.
Amazon would be approaching suppliers and they could expect to be thoroughly vetted by the company, Jinks claimed. “In the US cities where Amazon Fresh operates they get agreements with niche bakers and other small businesses to become third-party suppliers, and develop relationships with local businesses.”
It was predicted that Amazon would aim to take 2% (£1bn) of the UK’s grocery market, which would pose a threat to the UK’s largest online grocer Ocado.