Amazon’s seemingly unstoppable expansion of its retail empire took another step forward last week with the news that it is teaming up with Rite Aid, the US pharmacy chain, to provide another secure outlet for shoppers to pick up their packages.

The company announced in a statement that, as of last Thursday, Amazon shoppers will be able to pick up their purchases at designated counters inside more than 100 Rite Aid stores across the US.

And the service is expected to grow to more than 1,500 Rite Aid stores by the end of the year, with Amazon actively also looking to bring additional partners onboard, including small to midsize businesses as well as other large chains.

The new service is called Counter and launches in the US after finding success in the UK with the Next clothing chain and in Italy with Giunti Al Punto Librerie, Fermopoint and SisalPay stores.

Amazon said the service was positively received in both countries, driving “strong customer engagement and additional foot traffic for partners”.

Counter is also free and forms part of the Amazon Hub logistics network, which includes its locker option where customers can retrieve purchases at hotels or other locations in more than 900 towns and cities in the US.

“Amazon is always looking for innovative and convenient ways for customers to ship and receive their orders,” said Patrick Supanc, worldwide director of Amazon Hub.

“With Counter, we’ve leveraged our growing logistics network and invested in new, easy to use technology to give customers yet another delivery option rooted in flexibility and control,” he added.

“Being the first store partner for Counter in the US is a differentiator for Rite Aid and we believe our partnership with Amazon, that includes Locker, creates a stronger in-store experience for existing customers and new customers that come in to pick up their packages,” said Jocelyn Konrad, Rite Aid’s EVP of pharmacy and retail operations.

The Counter initiative works by emailing a bar code to Amazon shoppers after they have selected a pick-up location. Once there, they simply hand the barcode to in-store staff to retrieve their purchase within 14 days.

Commenting on the development, USA Today observed: “Now that e-commerce has become commonplace, speedy, convenient delivery and pick up has become a key way Amazon and its rivals are competing.”

Sourced from Amazon, USA Today; additional content by WARC staff