Amazon will close all 87 of its pop-up stores in the U.S. as part of an overhaul of its retail strategy.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed the news in a statement to media outlets on Wednesday, March 6, saying that the decision had come “after much review.”
The stores will be gone by the end of April, though it’s not immediately clear if the same fate awaits Amazon’s pop-up locations outside of the U.S.
The small-sized stores are typically found inside shopping malls and showcase Amazon’s tech products such as Echo speakers, Fire tablets, and Kindle ebook readers. They offer customers a chance to get hands-on with the products and to ask staff any questions they might have.
Notably, the spokesperson revealed that the company wants to focus on opening more Amazon Books stores, of which there are currently 19 across the U.S. It also plans to open more Amazon 4-star stores, which sell products that have been rated highly by customers shopping on its online store. Top sellers, as well as new and trending items, also feature in the store. The first 4-star store opened in New York City in September 2018, with two more locations opening since then. Like its bookstores, the 4-star stores also showcase Amazon’s tech products, so customers can still try them out after the pop-ups have gone.
The company’s other retail interests include Amazon Go, a high-tech grocery store that uses advanced tracking technology so you can literally just grab what you need and go, with your Amazon account automatically charged. It also acquired the Whole Foods business in 2017 in a deal worth $13.7 billion.
News of Amazon’s decision to close its U.S. pop-up stores comes just days after a Wall Street Journal report suggested it was planning to launch an all-new grocery chain separate from Whole Foods. This means it would likely offer a broader product range than Whole Foods, which focuses primarily on minimally processed items. Cheaper prices are also a possibility, with the marked differences helping to avoid any competition between the two brands.
The online giant is showing increasing interest in the brick-and-mortar retail space — a sector that its own online business has had a significant impact upon — with all the physical stores collectively generating more than $17 billion in revenue for the company in 2018.
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