Amazon is set to open dozens of grocery stores across the US in major cities including San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, DC and Philadelphia.

The stores are not intended to compete directly with Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired for $13.7bn in 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The etail giant is also interested in acquiring ”regional chains that have at least 12 stores as it bids to strength its new supermarket brand”.

The first site is due to open in Los Angeles as early as the end of the year, with two other openings planned for early next year.

Amazon is also in talks to open supermarkets in shopping centres across the US; including in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Philadelphia. 

Citing sources, the WSJ said that Walmart, the largest supermarket chain in the US currently, has been preparing for this move by Amazon for more than two years. 

Walmart will respond by offering pickup services at more than 3,000 stores by the start of 2020, while offering deliveries from a further 800 by the end of this year.