Amazon UK boss is 'most powerful' man in food and drink

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"He doesn’t run any supermarkets and his market share in groceries is minuscule. But Chris North gives grocery the shivers.”

So says The Grocer, a trade magazine, which has named the Amazon UK boss as No.1 in the The Grocer’s 100 Power List, beating out more orthodox names such as Aldi UK boss Matthew Barnes, who ranks no.2.

Aldi is a massively disruptive force in UK supermarket retailing, driving grocery prices down and torching the margins of the UK’s supermarket giants. So why does Amazon give the sector the shivers?

The company is trialling grocery deliveries in the UK with a new service called Amazon Pantry. It’s early days yet and fresh food is not on the menu. But the company has proven logistics heft and ability and desire to take losses on the chin while conquering new markets.

The company could accelerate its grocery plans by buying Ocado, by some distance the UK’s biggest independent online grocer. Last month there was a flurry of media speculation in the wake of a Goldman Sachs analyst report that cited Ocado as an attractive takeover target.

But just because Amazon could buy Ocado, there is no reason yet to think it will. ®


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