Amazon to Shutter Amazon Books and Pop Up Stores as Grocery Becomes Focal Point – CNET

Amazon to Shutter Amazon Books and Pop Up Stores as Grocery Becomes Focal Point – CNET

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Amazon will close its physical bookstores. The company will keep focusing on its grocery business and new apparel store concept.

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Amazon will say goodbye to its bookstores, along with its 4-star and Pop Up stores in the US and the UK, the company confirmed Wednesday. The closures won’t affect grocery stores and the dates the stores will stop operating vary.

The e-commerce giant will close 68 stores in total. The 4-star stores feature items like electronics and toys. 

“We remain committed to building great, long-term physical retail experiences and technologies, and we’re working closely with our affected employees to help them find new roles within Amazon,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The move leaves grocery as the main focus for Amazon’s physical store strategy. An Amazon spokesperson said the company will continue to grow its brick-and-mortar business with the Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go brands. It’ll also keep developing Amazon Style apparel stores and increasing its Starbucks Pickup and Amazon Go locations. 

The online retail giant has recently focused on scaling up its cashier-free “Just Walk Out” technology, adding it to a Whole Foods in Washington, DC. It also has plans for an apparel store with the technology in Los Angeles. 

Neil Saunders, a retail analyst at GlobalData, said Amazon was paying high rents on the stores, many of which were designed to appeal to people looking to browse instead of attracting shoppers out to buy something specific. Amazon also didn’t develop features Saunders said would’ve added value to the stores, like the option to pick up online orders at the stores or check stock levels before leaving home. 

“Amazon never really connected its stores online in the way that many retailers have done,” Saunders said. “This, in our view, was a lost opportunity.”

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