Amazon said on Wednesday that its bookshops and its 4-star and Pop-Up stores will close in the United States and the United Kingdom. The closures will not affect grocery stores, although the dates they will close vary.
The e-commerce behemoth will close a total of 68 locations. Electronics and toys are available at the 4-star stores.
“We remain dedicated to developing outstanding, long-term physical retail experiences and technologies,” the spokesman said in a statement. “We’re working closely with our affected workers to help them find other opportunities inside Amazon.”
As a result of the change, Amazon’s physical shop strategy focuses primarily on groceries. According to an Amazon representative, the Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh, and Amazon Go brands will continue to build the company’s brick-and-mortar business. It will also continue to expand its Amazon Style fashion stores and Starbucks Pickup and Amazon Go locations.
The online retailer has been concentrated on expanding its cashier-free “Just Walk Out” technology, which it has just added to Whole Foods in Washington, DC. It also has intentions to open a technology-based clothes store in Los Angeles.
Amazon was paying hefty rents on the stores, according to Neil Saunders, a retail analyst at GlobalData. Many of the stores were meant to appeal to those seeking to browse rather than enticing buyers out to buy anything particular. Amazon also failed to create services that Saunders believes would have enhanced the shops’ value, such as the ability to pick up online orders in-store or check stock levels before leaving home.
“Amazon never fully integrated its stores online the way many merchants have,” said Saunders. “In our opinion, this was a missed opportunity.”