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Amazon Expands Its In-Store Pickup Service Counter, Adds GNC, Health Mart And Stage Stores

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E-commerce giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is expanding its in-store pickup service Counter, announcing on October 23 that it is partnering with GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE: GNC), Health Mart and Stage Stores Inc (NYSE: SSI).

This move will allow consumers access to thousands more Counter locations and comes just months after the online retailer announced its in-store pickup service in 100 Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) locations in the U.S.

Amazon has been testing its staffed in-store service at GNC, a well-known nutrition company, Health Mart, a chain of independently owned pharmacies, and Stage Stores, which operates Gordmans, Bealls, Goody's, Palais Royal, Peebles and Stage department stores, for the past few months, the company said.

"The response we've heard from our customers and partners after the launch of Counter earlier this year has been tremendous," said Patrick Supanc, worldwide director of Amazon Hub, in the release. "This new network of pickup points gives customers a pickup experience that is fast, flexible and convenient, and partners are thrilled with the strong engagement and additional foot traffic Counter is driving for their stores."

Once a customer makes an Amazon purchase, they will be given the option of which Counter pickup locations are available in their zip code and delivery option. Once their package arrives at the Counter location, customers will be notified via email with a unique barcode, store hours and address. The service is free for Amazon customers.

Amazon Counter is part of the expanding Amazon Hub network, which offers secure pickup locations. It also offers thousands of pickup self-service kiosk Lockers nationwide, as well as Key, which allows delivery drivers to drop off packages inside a customer's front door.

Not to be outdone by Amazon, UPS Inc. (NYSE: UPS) and FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) have also recently announced alliances with retail stories, creating convenient opportunities for consumers to drop off and pick up packages. 

UPS, the Atlanta-based shipping giant, announced recently it is partnering with Michaels Companies Inc. (NASDAQ: MIK), North America's largest craft retailer, making its 1,100 stores nationwide UPS Access Point locations, where customers can ship or drop off packages. 

FedEx announced on October 8 that its customers will be able to return packages to Walgreens locations, (NASDAQ: WBA) starting in November. The partnership builds on a two-year initiative in which FedEx customers can pick up and drop off packages at Walgreens locations. 

The Memphis-based shipping company also announced in June that it is expanding its service in rural communities and is also partnering with thousands of Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) stores through FedEx's Onsite program.

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