Amazon is to close a raft of physical stores, including all 68 of its Amazon Books, Amazon 4-Star, and Amazon Pop Up locations across the US and UK.
Reuters carries the report that Amazon, under new CEO Andy Jassy, is shifting its retail focus onto groceries and department stores. As a result, it will close all of its book shops some seven years after opening its first in Seattle.
The irony of the company that sounded the death knell for physical bookstores having to shutter all of its physical bookstores would be delicious if it weren’t so bitter.
Besides those 24 Amazon Books outlets, Amazon is closing all of its Amazon 4-Star shops, which only sold items with high customer ratings. It will also be closing its Amazon Pop Up locations, which were attempts to get Amazon back into shopping malls through small-scale pop-up outlets.
As this latest move suggests, Amazon’s various physical retail experiments haven’t exactly paid off. Physical retail revenue represented a mere 3% of Amazon’s $137 billion earnings during the last quarter – and that tiny percentage largely stemmed from the company’s Whole Foods subsidiary, which will remain in operation alongside its Amazon Fresh grocery outlets.
It’s notable that Amazon’s vice president of physical retail, Cameron Janes, left the company in November.
Amazon hasn’t yet announced when it will be closing each of its physical stores, but the original report claims that this will vary by store.