Amazon has put a halt to a major UK roll-out of its till-free grocery stores, citing rising costs of living as a factor.

After suffering poor sales at the 19 check-out free shops it already operates in the UK, the US retailer has now allegedly pulled away from talks over dozens more possible sites for Amazon Fresh stores.

The firm is no longer seeking new Amazon Fresh stores and has shelved plans to launch hundreds more.

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The retailer uses tracking technology to find out which items shoppers have selected and allow them to leave without paying at the register.

Instead, customers get charged on their cards after leaving the store.

The moves come only months after Amazon announced the closure of 68 electronics and book stores in the US and the UK.

The firm announced that it will focus solely on its supermarket operations and its Los Angeles clothing store.

It was reported that Amazon would reconsider expansion plans in the next 12 to 18 months.

A company spokesman said: “We look forward to opening additional Amazon Fresh stores in the near future.”

The move comes during a broader drop in consumer spending – even companies like Amazon are not immune to households pulling back in the face of rising energy and grocery expenses.

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The Seattle giant said recently online sales had fallen for the second quarter in a row, despite rising income from its cloud computing unit.

The company is now focusing more on its grocery business, as more customers have switched to having their groceries delivered to their homes.

In the UK, the company has attempted to increase its share of grocery sales by increasing prices less than supermarkets in reaction to inflation.

Director of Amazon Fresh, Russell Jones said the brand was “committed to making it as easy as possible for customers to find good value products in the face of rising living costs for customers around the country”.

Source: The Telegraph

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