Dozens more Amazon Fresh stores are set to open across the UK.

The retail giant launched the first in a wave of stores on Thursday as it opens the first store of its kind in Europe.

Shoppers at Amazon’s futuristic “contactless” stores will be able to pick up items and walk out of the store without the need for a till.

Instead, customers will scan a QR code on their way into the store and cameras will identify the items shoppers take from the shelves and charged via an Amazon app.

The Times says Amazon is believed to be planning 20 more store openings a year from next year - and says deals are already in place for around 25 sites.

The first store opened at the front of Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre.

Most of the sites are reportedly in the capital and its suburbs.

Visitors to Amazon Fresh in Ealing scan a smartphone app when entering and are automatically billed as they leave.

The store stocks hundreds of own-brand items as well as third-party products, and also serves as a place to collect and return goods bought online.

News Shopper: Visitors can buy a bag or use their own, and are emailed a copy of their receipt after leavingVisitors can buy a bag or use their own, and are emailed a copy of their receipt after leaving

Amazon said the Just Walk Out technology uses "computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion".

Matt Birch, the former Sainsbury’s executive who now leads Amazon Fresh Stores UK, said: "The focus was just creating a really easy shopping experience for customers.

"We recognise that UK customers want to shop in a convenient way so we really think they will appreciate being able to walk in and walk out with the shopping they need."

Campaigners have raised privacy concerns but one retail expert said the opening marked a "watershed moment".

"Having a physical presence will enable Amazon to address some of its weaknesses, like the mounting cost of deliveries and returns," said Natalie Berg, an analyst with NBK Retail.

But she said she did not believe it would pose a threat to the major chains in the near term.

"Supermarkets have had a few years now to prepare and test their own checkout-free shopping concepts."

Amazon's approach, however, promises a more "frictionless" experience than other retailers.

Visitors only have to place an item in a bag or otherwise carry it out to be charged by the store.

By contrast, retailers including Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury's require consumers to scan items into a smartphone or other device.

The company is so confident of its tech that it says shoppers are not under any obligation to check all the items were accounted for.

Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, has yet to dominate the grocery category but its expansion beyond the US is a sign of its intention.