Amazon Shutting Down Bookstores, Pop-Ups

Amazon bookstore feature

Amazon revealed its plans to close all 68 of its bookstores, pop-ups and shops selling items like toys and home goods in the United States and the United Kingdom, the retail and ecommerce giant told Reuters, to concentrate more on its grocery business and a coming department store concept.

The company had been rolling out a variety of brick-and-mortar outlets since opening a physical bookstore in its hometown of Seattle in 2015. Since then, it has offered cashier-less convenience stores under the Amazon Go and Fresh banners and so-called 4-star stores carrying top-rated products from its marketplace.

While departing the bookstores, pop-up shops and 4-star stores, Amazon remains committed to the idea of physical retail. It plans to hold onto its Amazon Go stores as well as newer concepts like Amazon Style, an apparel outlet for men and women, with the first set to open later this year in Glendale, CA.

The numbers made this decision an easier call, analysts said, as new CEO Andy Jassy performed a comprehensive review of Amazon’s far-flung businesses after taking the reins. In the fourth quarter, physical retail sales made up just 3% of its $137 billion in revenue, the bulk of that from its Whole Foods grocery stores.

Since early in 2020, Amazon has been selling its “just walk out” cashier-less technology embedded in its Amazon Go and Fresh stores. This year, it plans to add the technology at a couple of new Whole Foods stores opening in Washington, DC and Sherman Oaks, CA.