Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and…Amazon?
Amazon.com is planning to open “several large physical retail locations… akin to department stores,” according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter.”
The newspaper’s sources said that new retail stores will be around 30,000 square feet, which is about one-third the size of the standard 100,000- square-foot department store.
The new locations will likely spotlight Amazon’s private-label merchandise, which includes everything from batteries to jewelry, as well as items from “top consumer brands,” the report said. The first stores will likely be located in Ohio and California, according to the Journal’s sources.
The company did not respond to a request for comment from JCK by publication time but has declined comment to other sources.
While Amazon dominates e-commerce—accounting for more than 41% of all online sales, according to eMarketer—it has lately, like other dot-coms, increased its brick-and-mortar footprint, opening bookstores and acquiring the Whole Foods supermarket chain in 2017. Amazon’s latest financial report said it owned 611 physical stores in North America, and seven internationally, as of the end of 2020.
The news comes as department stores are enjoying something of a comeback, with names such as Macy’s and Kohl’s boasting of increased sales.
Retail watchers predicted that the new Amazon locations could double as shipping hubs and help the e-tail giant extend into areas where it doesn’t currently have distribution centers.
“They have long been planning to explore that opportunity, created by the vacuum of a lot of department stores closing,” Venkatesh Shankar, professor at Texas A&M University’s Center for Retailing Studies, told CNN. “If you really want to build brands, the brick-and-mortar presence is critical.”
But Forrester retail analyst Sucharita Kodali told the network that “Amazon has a terrible track record in physical retail,” making this latest venture an unlikely game changer.
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