Online retail leader Amazon.com Inc. has notified Philly officials about rethinking their plans to open a b&m store there, in case the proposal to ban so-called cashless stores is accepted.
Officials made Amazon’s warning public the same day that City Council sent Mayor Jim Kenney a bill that seeks to protect the city’s poorest consumers that is also supported by the “world’s leading” ATM operator and groups advocating for low-paid workers. The proposal passed on the day when Amazon canceled its plans to open the second headquarters in New York.
Should this bill come into force, many stores won’t be allowed to refuse to accept cash or charge cash-paying customers a higher price. In case of violation, a store must pay up to $2,000 fine.
Over the next few years Amazon, recognized as the main rival by a large number of B&M retailers, plans to open about 3,000 Amazon Go cashierless stores across the United States.
According to Councilman Allan Domb, Amazon contacted the Commerce Department to warn that they wouldn’t open an Amazon Go store in Philly if the bill passed. The Councilman added, that the cashless store could create 100 jobs.
Amazon refused to comment the situation.
There are many stores in Philly that have gone cashless to reduce the risk of being robbed, to improve efficiency and avoid handling cash. Among these stores are coffee shop Bluestone Lane, food hall at the University of Pennsylvania, the salad chain Sweetgreen, and many more. The bill advocates are sure that cashless stores discriminate against low-income consumers who don’t have access to credit or bank accounts. Philadelphia is one of the cities that has the highest level of poverty in the United States.