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The Wall Street Journal is back with a claim that Amazon is going to establish department store-style sites of its own, a year after reporting that Amazon was interested in exploiting empty mall spaces as fulfilment hubs.The reported plan is for stores that are smaller than your average 100,000-square-foot Macy’s or JC Penney location, with a footprint that’s only about 30,000 square feet, which is closer to the size of Kohl’s stores that already handle Amazon returns. Without specific information on what they might sell, they could stock clothing, electronics, and household items.
While private equity companies had a role, Amazon now finds itself in the strange situation of having to replace outlets that it helped close. The first sites might appear in California and Ohio if the ideas are put into effect. The Wall Street Journal published this video report on Amazon’s acquisition of vacant retail premises in northern Ohio in 2019 and now claims that it was seeking US clothing brands in the same year to show off their products.
There’s no indication on whether Amazon wants to install its cashier-free Just Walk Out technology in these locations, but in-person shopping may make it easier to try on clothes and test out new Alexa-connected devices. Amazon has established grocery shops, bookstores, and its Amazon Go convenience stores in recent years, in addition to owning Whole Foods. Now that Jeff Bezos has stepped down as CEO, the next chapter in Amazon’s retail revolution might unfold just where we all expected it to: as just another anchor tenant at your local mall.