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Amazon to close 68 physical retail locations, including Amazon Books and 4-star stores – TechCrunch

Amazon’s physical retail business is struggling a significant blow as the corporate at this time confirmed to Reuters it should close 68 brick-and-mortar retail stores throughout the U.S. and U.Okay. This contains its Amazon Books bookstores, its pop-up outlets in varied markets, and its 4-star stores the place prospects may store common and highly-rated merchandise throughout Amazon.com.

The retailer, which started its life as a web based bookseller, launched its first physical bookstore in Seattle again in 2015, then steadily expanded its brick-and-mortar footprint to embody extra places throughout the U.S. and overseas, including in U.S. states like Arizona, California, Colorado, D.C., Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregan, Tennessee, Texas, and in fact, its dwelling state of Washington.

The stores didn’t simply present a spot for patrons to work together with Amazon merchandise in actual life, including its {hardware} gadgets, additionally they served as a handy spot to decide up merchandise purchased on-line or make returns. In later years, Amazon’s retail footprint expanded to embody Whole Foods, with the 2017 $13.7 billion acquisition of the grocery store, plus its personal Amazon Fresh grocery stores. And Amazon has been testing its Just Walk Out cashierless purchasing expertise at a rising quantity vary of Amazon Go comfort stores, which weren’t part of this deliberate shutdown.

The firm instructed Reuters it should alert consumers to the upcoming closures via in-store signage, because the precise shut down dates could differ by location. It additionally stated it was working to discover new roles for workers impacted, when attainable, or provide them severance.

The choice to exit a lot of its brick-and-mortar enterprise follows a few years which have made in-person retail more difficult for everybody, because the Covid pandemic despatched extra shoppers on-line as foot site visitors to native stores declined. But this choice additionally comes at a time when Amazon retail staff had begun to set up — although on this case, at an Amazon Fresh grocery. The union push noticed the retail staff demanding higher wages, extra versatile attendance insurance policies, longer breaks and different advantages, Insider today reported.

Shutting down dozens of physical stores instantly after such calls for appears to ship a chilling message to all Amazon retail staff that the corporate doesn’t worth its physical retail enterprise. Amazon, nonetheless, stated it should proceed to work on its cashierless grocery stores and different new ideas, just like the recently opened physical clothing store in L.A. known as Amazon Style.

Though a small a part of its broader retail enterprise, Amazon’s brick-and-mortar stores made the corporate billions. In Q4 2021, the corporate reported its physical retail enterprise generated $4.68 billion, up from $4.02 billion within the year-ago quarter. It additionally touted different retail developments within the quarter, as well as to Amazon Style, including the opening of the primary Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go retailer in New York, and plans for 2 extra such stores in 2022.

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