Amazon has started free grocery deliveries to some Prime members in the UK. The boss of British grocer Waitrose called it a 'nuclear' option in the battle for online shopping supremacy.

  • Amazon has rolled out free grocery deliveries to UK Prime members through Amazon Fresh. 
  • Amazon Fresh is available in London and the south-east, but the service is expected to roll out nationwide by Christmas. 
  • The service previously required a fee on top of Prime membership. Now, customers will not be charged delivery for grocery orders over £40 if they book a two-hour slot. 
  • James Bailey, the new boss of British grocer Waitrose, told The Times that Amazon had pressed the "nuclear button" in the war for online shopping supremacy.
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Amazon has announced free grocery deliveries for some Prime members in the UK through Amazon Fresh, in a move likened by the boss of grocer Waitrose to pressing the "nuclear button" in the war for online shopping supremacy.

Prime members in more than 300 postcodes in and around London can now book free deliveries on orders over £40 ($51), Amazon said on Tuesday. It said it will expand Amazon Fresh to more UK cities by the end of the year. For a one-hour slot, Prime members will have to pay £3.99 ($5.18). 

It also announced that customers in more than 40 UK postcodes can now get free same-day delivery for a two-hour slot, provided they book before 9.p.m..

Amazon Fresh's minimum order value has been lowered to £15 ($19) from £40 ($51). 

The e-commerce giant has been selling groceries in the UK since its 2010 Grocery Store launch. It launched Amazon Fresh in 2016 in the UK, and until now, Prime members had to pay a monthly fee of either £3.99 ($5.18) for deliveries, or pay £2.99 ($3.88) per delivery, in addition to the annual £79 ($102) subscription fee for Prime.

The move shows Amazon wants to grab a larger market share of UK online grocery shopping, which has boomed during the pandemic. 

In reaction to the update, James Bailey, the new boss of British grocer Waitrose, told The Times that Amazon had pressed the "nuclear button."

"In some ways Amazon will be very disruptive because they are ambitious in groceries and they have all sorts of technological expertise. It is more proof they are committed to this market and while this doesn't feel like a large leap forward, it is a signal of their intent."

Retail sales in the UK jumped nearly 14% in June from May as the reopening of non-essential shops released pent-up demand, according to data from the Office of National Statistics.

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