Amazon has launched a programme to put small British businesses on the high street with a series of pop-up shops.
The Clicks and Mortar initiative will open 10 stores across the UK, in which 100 small online businesses will trade on the high street for the first time.
The year-long pilot programme begins with the first shop opening on St Mary’s Gate in central Manchester on Monday.
It is due to be followed by more sites in Wales, Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire and the South East.
This new concept will provide small businesses with the space, technology and support to experience physical retail for the first time, while enabling customers to discover new brands on their local high streetsEmma Jones MBE, Enterprise Nation
An independent research consultant will produce an analysis of the pilot, which will be submitted to the Government.
“UK shoppers like to shop both online and in high street stores, and our intention is to help small businesses succeed by combining the best elements of online and high street retail,” said Emma Jones MBE, founder of Enterprise Nation, which supports more than 90,000 of Britain’s small businesses.
“This new concept will provide small businesses with the space, technology and support to experience physical retail for the first time, while enabling customers to discover new brands on their local high streets.”
It is not the online giant’s first experiment with physical retail.
In the US, it has a chain of bookstores and has opened four Amazon Go stores.
It also acquired food retailer Whole Foods in 2017 for 13.7 billion US dollars (£10.88 billion).
Amazon also announced on Monday a £1 million apprenticeship fund for small or medium-sized businesses selling on its website with turnover of less than £1 million a year.
The funding will create more than 150 digital marketing, business administration and customer service practitioner apprentices.
Amazon’s UK country manager Doug Gurr said: “From giving up-and-coming online British brands the chance to experience physical retail, to funding the training of full-time apprenticeships and helping to increase SME exports, Amazon is committed to supporting the growth of small businesses – helping them boost the economy and create jobs across the UK.”