Amazon puts a pin in its pop-ups to focus on permanent stores
Amazon.com is closing all 87 of its pop-up stores located in malls, Kohl’s and Whole Foods by the end of next month, according to reports by The Wall Street Journal and CNBC.
The e-tail giant, which currently has pop-ups operating in 21 states across the U.S., plans to shift its attention to rolling out more of its permanent Amazon Books and Amazon 4-Star stores that provide “a more comprehensive customer experience and broader selection,” according to statements made to the news organizations.
The announcement did not reference AmazonGo, the company’s cashier-free convenience store concept. A Bloomberg report last September, citing sources familiar with the situation, said that Amazon was considering a plan to roll out 3,000 Go locations by 2021. The plans called for 50 Go stores operating in major metro areas by the end of this year.
Amazon, as reported earlier this week by the Journal, is also planning to open “dozens” of stores in a new, lower-priced grocery concept separate from its Whole Foods business. The new stores, which will average about 35,000-square-feet, will open in cities across the U.S. with the first expected to make its debut in Los Angeles this year.
According to the Journal’s reporting, Amazon has notified employees and partners of its plans to close the pop-ups. It has offered severance to workers who stay on through the end of April.
Kohl’s has 30 Amazon shops inside its stores, the first of which was opened in 2017.
“We’ve made the decision to transition from the store-within-a-store concept to a more robust wholesale relationship with Amazon as we found it a better way to serve our customers,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s CEO, earlier this week on the retailer’s fourth quarter earnings call. “As a result, we will be extending our assortment of Amazon branded products into over 200 stores.”
It appears as though Kohl’s will continue to accept product returns for Amazon in a 100-store pilot that began around the same time that the two companies started their store-within-a-store experiment. Ms. Gass said that Kohl’s continues “to be encouraged and learn a great deal” through that initiative.
- Amazon to Shut All U.S. Pop-Up Stores as It Rethinks Physical Retail Strategy – The Wall Street Journal
- Amazon to close all of its 87 pop-up stores in the US beginning in April – CNBC
- Amazon to launch new grocery store business – The Wall Street Journal
- Kohl’s Corporation CEO Michelle Gass on Q4 2018 Results (Earnings Call Transcript) – Seeking Alpha
- What will Amazon do with a conventional grocery banner? – RetailWire
- Kohl’s to accept product returns for Amazon – RetailWire
- Is Kohl’s giving away the store to Amazon? – RetailWire
- What would 3,000 AmazonGo stores do to the U.S. retail landscape? – RetailWire
- Amazon Will Consider Opening Up to 3,000 Cashierless Stores by 2021 – Bloomberg
- Where will Amazon go with its cashier-free concept? – RetailWire
- Will Amazon disrupt retail again with its new 4-star store concept? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see Amazon’s decision to end its pop-up program as another indicator that it is committed to becoming a major factor in brick and mortar retailing? How do you expect rival retailers to react?