Amazon is reportedly preparing to increase its physical presence with retail stores in several states. According to anonymous sources cited by The Wall Street Journal, Amazon wants to open “small department stores” to sell clothing, household items, and electronics, not to mention facilitate an easier return and replacement system for its customers.
The report suggests that Amazon’s upcoming retail stores will be around 30,000 square feet, similar in size to your typical Whole Foods or smaller Kohl’s locations, and roughly 1/3 the size of a typical department store. The first two stores are tipped to arrive in California and Ohio. Obviously, they’ll also sell a wide range of Amazon-branded home goods and electronics like the Amazon Fire TV.
The move doesn’t come as a surprise, either, as the company has opened several retail stores in recent years. However, those are small book stores, grocery stores (Whole Foods), and small cashierless “walk-out” convenience stores. However, none of those locations sell a wide range of products like a typical department store, which Amazon is after next.
Amazon’s dip into department stores would certainly compete directly with stores already struggling lately, including J.C. Penny and Neiman Marcus, both of which filed for bankruptcy last year. Plus, compete with the likes of Kohl’s and Macy’s new smaller store format.
From what we gather, Amazon mainly wants to sell more home goods, more clothing and attract more eyeballs to its electronics and in-house brands.
If these reports are true, we could soon see Amazon stores in strip malls next to your favorite Kohl’s or Target.