SAN FRANCISCO: E-commerce giant Amazon on Wednesday confirmed plans to close its brick-and-mortar bookstores and pop-up stores to focus on the Whole Foods grocery chain and retail stores with the latest automated checkout technology.
The company will close its Amazon four-star, book and pop-up stores, according to a spokesperson.
The Amazon 4-star store offers a selection of items, all of which are rated 4 stars or higher on the company’s retail site.
The Seattle-based company expected to close 66 real-world stores in the United States and two more in the United Kingdom.
“We remain committed to building great, long-term physical retail experiences and technologies,” a spokesperson said in reply to an AFP inquiry.
“We’re working closely with our affected employees to help them find new roles within Amazon.”
According to the company, the closures are part of a shift in strategy to focus more on Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, Amazon Go, and Amazon Style stores as well as the company’s “Just Walk Out” technology, which allows customers to settle their tabs without a cash register.
Amazon planned to continue opening “innovative” stores, including a Style shop in Los Angeles that would be its first bricks-and-mortar clothing store.
The Amazon Style store, due to launch later this year, will allow customers to scan QR codes on garments using the retailer’s app, select a size and color, and have those items delivered to a fitting room to try on, a blog post said. .
According to Amazon, the Style shop’s fitting room is designed as a “personalized space” where shoppers can find items they request through the app and options added based on their choices.
According to Amazon, touchscreens in fitting rooms will allow people to continue shopping, with items arriving “in minutes” for them to try on.
The plans to open brick-and-mortar clothing stores come amid warnings from authorities and rivals about the tech giant’s influence in retail.
Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of the Whole Foods Market grocery chain in 2017 significantly expanded the e-commerce giant’s reach in brick-and-mortar retail.