Move of the Week: Amazon swoops for property high-flyer

Birch, Matt

I’ve commented before on how Amazon tends to keep its recruitment close to its chest and this week it has emerged that former Sainsbury’s director of commercial operations Matt Birch has been working with the company since May in a director role with a focus on scoping out sites for physical stores, according to The Times.

The fact that Amazon is looking to open new stores in the UK doesn’t count as news. Rumours were rife around the turn of the year that was a candidate to pick up some of the stores relinquished by Sainsbury’s and Asda as part of their ultimately thwarted merger. With 17 Amazon Go stores operating in the US it is surely only a question of when not if it begins rolling out physical formats, beyond its existing Whole Foods stores, in the UK.

The hiring of high-flyer Birch suggests its property plans have stepped up apace. Birch has a degree in land economy from Cambridge University and has spent the majority of his career in property and commercial roles.

Early in his career, he took the somewhat unusual step of working as property director for a German coffee retail chain, Tchibo, before leaving to join Sainsbury’s in 2007.


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