Jason Del Rey

Recent Posts by Jason Del Rey

Why Is Amazon Hiring for a Secret New Jersey Warehouse?

amzntrnpk380Has Amazon taken a big step toward bringing its AmazonFresh grocery delivery business to the New York City area?

Last week, a Wall Street analyst published a report saying that he believed Amazon was planning to bring grocery delivery to New York City in 2014.

The educated guess was based on the knowledge that a developer partner of Amazon’s had purchased a 964,000-square-foot facility near New York City that had previously housed a grocery wholesaler and was equipped with refrigeration.

Now, Amazon appears to be hiring for that facility or one in the same section of New Jersey, called Avenel. The e-commerce giant has recently posted job listings for an Avenel, New Jersey, location with titles like “facilities area manager” and “operations manager.” The job descriptions I viewed did not include any grocery-related tasks.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced in 2012 that Amazon would open up two warehouses in the state. But, up to now, the company has only publicly disclosed the location of one of those, located in the township of Robbinsville.

Avenel, in the township of Woodbridge, is only about 20 miles from Manhattan — a feasible distance for grocery delivery to all of New York City. Whether or not that becomes reality, it seems likely the facility would be used, at a minimum, to serve Amazon customers in northern New Jersey.

After six years solely servicing the Seattle area, AmazonFresh started operating in parts of Los Angeles in June.

In New York City, Amazon would be going up against FreshDirect, which has been operating in New York for more than a decade, as well as newcomer Peapod. FreshDirect reportedly registered $400 million in sales last year.

Amazon’s entry into the grocery business is viewed by some industry observers as a way for the company to create demand for something that people buy weekly to justify the cost of same-day delivery for other goods bought less frequently, but with much higher prices and profit margins. Forrester Research estimates that Americans will order $21 billion of groceries online by 2016.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment.

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