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Amazon Go, cashless stores may face ban in San Francisco


Amazon Go, cashless stores may face ban in San Francisco

Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Go may be banned from San Francisco after a bill, proposing that cashless stores be prohibited from operating in the city, has been expanded to include the e-commerce giant's cashier-less store concept, according to media reports.

Real estate blog network Curbed first reported the potential ban March 20.

The bill, filed in February by Vallie Brown, a member of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, initially excluded Amazon Go stores, along with other exceptions such as food trucks, pop-up shops, as these stores do not have employees to handle cash.

According to the proposal, cashless stores "effectively discriminate" against groups that do not qualify for a bank account or credit card, including low-income consumers, minors, elderly, immigrants and people of color, and may have "significant detrimental impacts" on these people.

However, during the supervisors meeting March 19, Brown reportedly said the bill will be extended to include Amazon Go stores after considering that the online retailer "can afford" to hire staff to accept cash at its checkout-free locations.

Philadelphia and New Jersey also recently banned stores that do not accept cash, and San Francisco could soon follow, according to a March 21 CNBC report.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the proposed legislation in San Francisco, the report said. The spokesperson also reportedly declined to comment on how the cashless store ban in Philadelphia and New Jersey will affect its plans for Amazon Go stores.

Amazon Go is the Seattle-based company's checkout-free store concept that uses cameras and sensors to track items taken by customers and automatically charge their credit cards. Currently, there are 10 Amazon Go stores in operation, two of which are in San Francisco, with another outlet planned to open "soon," according to the Amazon Go website.

Amazon is reportedly planning to open 3,000 checkout-free stores by 2021 and is targeting opening branches in airports as well as expand in London.