Amazon to close bookstores, a few other physical stores at a turning point

People walk past an Amazon Books retail store in New York, U.S., February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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March 2 (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday announced plans to close its 68 brick-and-mortar bookstores, pop-ups and stores selling toys and home goods in the United States and the United Kingdom, ending to some of his longest -running retail experiences.

The news, which Reuters was first to report, marks a turning point for a company that started as an online bookseller and helped bankrupt established rivals such as Borders.

After opening its first bookstore in Seattle in 2015, Amazon experimented with a variety of retail concepts: convenience stores without cashiers, supermarkets, and a so-called “4-star” format in which it sells toys, household items and other properties with high customer ratings.

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Amazon aimed to bring its online touch to the real world. Its bookstores would pull from its vast trove of data and showcase what people read and even the reviews they left online, for example.

But Amazon’s innovations weren’t enough for some of these experiments. Revenue from its “physical stores,” largely from grocery sales from its subsidiary Whole Foods, has often not kept pace with the growth of Amazon’s other businesses.

Amazon will close its 4-star stores, pop-ups and bookstores on various dates and notify customers through signage.

Workers will receive severance pay or be able to move to jobs at nearby Amazon stores that the company said it would help them find.

Amazon’s experiments continue. He recently announced plans to open a fashion store in greater Los Angeles where algorithms suggest what to try. Last week, it opened its first Whole Foods store in Washington, DC, which is packed with technology to allow customers to check out without scanning items or requiring the help of a cashier.

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Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in Palo Alto; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Richard Chang

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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