Amazon ​is looking for a staggering 1,300 warehouse units across Europe to fulfil its commitments for its one-hour Prime Now delivery service.

The online retailer is understood to be seeking small warehouse units in urban locations near major cities, as consumers increasingly demand shorter delivery times for goods from laptops to lawnmowers.

Popular goods can be held in these centres before being sent to customers, in what is known as “last mile” operations. In some countries, the last mile centres are run by third party delivery companies such as UPS, in order to manage areas of high demand.

Amazon first launched its one-hour delivery in the UK in 2015 in London, and has since rolled it out to a number of other areas. In continental Europe, it is available in France, Germany and ­Italy, among other places.

The push will cement Amazon’s position as the dominant force in online retailing, even as competitors including supermarkets roll out their own one-hour delivery services.

Last week the company announced it would bring its business brand to the UK, after launches in Germany and the US. The division both supplies products directly to businesses and acts as a middleman through its marketplace service. It is also thought to be near to launching a fashion label in the UK.

Its expanding business has resulted in it signing leases for warehouse space across the world at an astonishing rate. Research by the property agency Savills found that in 2016 Amazon accounted for more than a quarter of all warehouse space rented in the UK, pushing supply levels to new lows.

At the end of last year, it patented futuristic plans for enormous “airborne fulfilment centres”, essentially floating warehouses, that would be used as bases for aerial deliveries to homes.

They would be suspended by cables from Zeppelin-style airships, and stocked with popular items that could be delivered to customers’ doorsteps by drone.

Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.

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