Amazon.com plans to substantially expand grocery offerings under its nascent private-label Elements brand, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The move would place the Seattle-based e-retailer alongside a wide range of brick-and-mortar stores offering private-label grocery items, including Target's Archer Farms, Costco's Kirkland and Walgreens' Nice.
Those labels are sold on store shelves alongside traditional brands, but one analyst told the Journal they offer retailers higher margins and more room for growth.
The report indicated that Amazon earlier this month sought trademark protection for more than two dozen product categories, including coffee, pasta, water, vitamins, dog food and household cleaners. The company would partner with a manufacturer to create the products; one source told the Journal that Amazon discussed the proposal with TreeHouse Foods in suburban Chicago.
Amazon would likely sell the new products through its Fresh grocery service, which operates in select areas on the east and west coasts.
It's not the first time Amazon sought out the advantages of private brands. Strathwood and Pinzon sell Amazon patio furniture and linens, respectively, while its Basics line includes a wide range of products. Elements, meanwhile, initially offered diapers and baby wipes to Amazon Prime members.
Food products, however, create an array of quality control issues that could come back to haunt the company, particularly after design problems forced Amazon to pull the plug on the diaper line early this year.