Amazon is Closing its Books, Pop Up, and 4-Star Stores
Amazon.com is shutting down all of its Amazon Books physical bookstores, as well as its Amazon 4-star and Amazon Pop Up shops, which sold a variety of electronics and other in-demand items. The closures affect 68 stores across the U.S. and U.K., Amazon said. Closure dates will vary by location and Amazon said it would help affected employees find roles elsewhere in the company. Sales growth of the physical stores unit has noticeably lagged the company’s overall retail business. Physical stores, which includes Whole Foods and Fresh outlets, reported lower sales in 2021 than in 2018. Amazon is trimming its physical retail footprint after coming off its slowest growth rate for any quarter since 2001.
Total Retail's Take: Perhaps traditional brick-and-mortar retailers shouldn't be worried about their impending doom as big, bad Amazon enters the market — at least those not in the grocery sector, for which physical retail is still very much a part of Amazon's future plans. After the initial buzz of Amazon opening physical stores faded, the retailer found itself with many of the same challenges that its store-based counterparts have been experiencing for years — e.g., declining foot traffic (exacerbated by the pandemic), rising labor costs, increased online competition. However, even with the closing of these retail units, Amazon is committed to brick-and-mortar in some capacities. The retailer plans to expand its recently launched Style store, as well as focus on its Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market grocery chains and Amazon Go convenience stores. But the story here is that even Amazon isn't immune to the challenges of physical retail.