New York, NY—Amazon is looking to buy a handful of supermarkets owned by NYC-based Fairway Market, according to the New York Post.
The Post reports that Amazon is bidding on four stores in New York and New Jersey. The New York stores are in Pelham and Brooklyn; the New Jersey stores are in Woodland Park and Paramus. The auction kicked off Monday, March 16, and continued through Thursday. Amazon has not disclosed its plans for the store; the Post notes that some have speculated that the stores would be put to use as distribution stores, but that Jeff Bezos is also upping his supermarket footprint.
Fairway filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, the Post reports, for the second time since its founders sold an 80% stake to private-equity firm Sterling Investment in 2007.
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The auction comes as COVID-19 brings fears of a recession, and as the virus upped Fairway’s profits via toilet paper and canned goods, although the Post’s sources say Amazon was interested pre-coronavirus.
According to NJ.com, Amazon is already overwhelmed by COVID-19 ordering: The company has delayed delivery of products it deems non-essential or not in high-demand until late April, even on Amazon Prime, which typically delivers items within one to two days. Prime Pantry is temporarily not accepting new orders due to high order volumes. Third-party sellers and vendors were told last week that all shipments of non-essential products to Amazon’s warehouses will be halted.
To keep up with the order volume, Amazon has announced plans to create 100,000 new full- and part-time jobs, and at a higher pay: The company is offering $17 an hour, as compared to its pre-outbreak pay of $15 an hour. The $15/hour pay was instituted in October 2018, following increasing public scrutiny regarding employee treatment and compensation. At the same time, Amazon eliminated stock options for Whole Foods Market employees, which had long been a company benefit.