In Brief

Amazon piles pressure on supermarkets with fresh-food launch

Delivery service will be available in select London postcodes but roll-out will be 'considered'

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Britain's embattled traditional supermarkets are to come under renewed pressure as internet giant Amazon moves onto their turf.

From today, subscribers to the Amazon Prime service living in select postcodes in north, east and central London will be able to upgrade to order deliveries from a range of around 130,000 groceries.

Amazon Fresh will be available for a monthly fee of £6.99, on top of the £79 annual Amazon Prime subscription, and offers unlimited deliveries on orders above £40, reports The Guardian.

One-hour delivery slots will be offered to 69 postcodes, with same-day delivery available on orders placed before 1pm.

It is a modest toe-dipping launch and the future roll-out across the country will be "methodical and considered", says vice president Ajay Kavan.

However, analysts cite concerns for the "big four" supermarkets, which are already fighting a rear-guard action against discounters Aldi and Lidl. Reuters reports comments from investment firm Bernstein that in the short term, the focus on London and the south-east could impact Sainsbury's in particular.

Sainsbury's £1.4bn buyout of Argos is seen as a pre-emptive defensive move to boost its own delivery capability and expand beyond its core food offering.

Amazon's entry will also pose a threat to Tesco and Ocado, which control a big share of online orders in the capital.

However, Morrisons stands to gain from the launch, even if it loses share in the longer-term through a nationwide roll-out, because it will be supplying the fresh and frozen products sold by Amazon.

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