Amazon is shutting all of its physical bookshops, as well as its 4-star shops and pop-up sites, as the online retail giant restructures its physical footprint.

The Seattle-based business announced on Wednesday, March 2 that the decision, which affects 66 stores in the United States and two in the United Kingdom, will allow it to focus its efforts on Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, its Amazon Go convenience concept, and its planned Amazon Style stores.

Amazon Style, which will trade fashion and accessories, is planned to open later this year in a Southern California mall.

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The company said “We remain committed to building great, long-term physical retail experiences and technologies and we’re working closely with our affected employees to help them find new roles within Amazon,”

It was not immediately clear how many Amazon employees were affected. Amazon established its first physical bookstore in 2015, nearly two decades after it began selling books online and drove a number of stores out of business.

Amazon’s 4-star stores, which debuted in 2018, feature a restricted selection of best-selling products from top Amazon.com categories such as devices, consumer electronics, toys, and games.

The move comes as Amazon’s overall revenue growth slows, and the company is seeking new methods to boost sales.

The idea surprised Neil Saunders, managing director of Global Data Retail.

He believes it is a recognition that the bookshops were not delivering the returns Amazon desired.

Saunders said he thinks the main problem with Amazon’s non-food stores is that they lacked a real purpose even though the merchandise was well-presented.

“They were designed for people to pop in and browse rather than as destinations where people would head on a mission to buy something, “he wrote in a note on Wednesday, March 2.

He remarked that in the long run, that wasn’t helpful for driving customer traffic, especially in an era when people are visiting stores less frequently.

Source: US News

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