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Amazon to embrace physical retail with first department store format

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

Aug. 19, 2021

Retail

Image: Amazon logo

Amazon is hoping to disrupt bricks and mortar retail as the online retail giant plans to open several large physical retail locations in the U.S.

The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, who said the format will be akin to department stores, a move to help the tech company extend its reach in sales of clothing, household items, electronics and other areas.

The world of physical retail is not entirely new to Amazon, having acquired Whole Foods, the upmarket grocery business, in 2017, as well as operating smaller and more segmented outlets.

Amazon’s retail formats are thought to be smaller in scale than traditional department stores, veering away from large physical behemoths to a square footage of 30,000 feet, similar to smaller Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s formats. The WSJ said it could not confirm which brands would be sold, but its own private labels are expected to feature predominantly.

The move would be an extension of Amazon’s digital offer, with many categories like furniture and fashion not yet being sold by physical retailers.