In a surprising turn of events, Amazon, the e-commerce giant, has announced the closure of its brick-and-mortar Amazon Style stores. This decision comes as part of a broader strategic shift within the company, which has been reevaluating its physical store strategy over the past year.
Amazon’s foray into physical retail began with the opening of bookstores and 4-star shops, which were later accompanied by pop-up locations. However, last year saw the closure of all these establishments, marking the end of some of Amazon’s longest-running retail experiments. The company stated that this move would allow it to focus more on other physical businesses, including Amazon Fresh and its Style stores.
However, the recent announcement indicates a further retreat from non-grocery brick-and-mortar retail. The two Amazon Style stores, located in Glendale, California, and Columbus, Ohio, will be closing their doors. These stores, which opened just a year and a half ago, were part of Amazon’s attempt to bring its online touch into the real world. They featured technology that provided customers with suggestions based on their preferences, aiming to differentiate Amazon from traditional clothing retailers.
Despite the innovative approach, Amazon has decided to shutter these stores, citing a need to focus on its online fashion operation. The closures are set to take place by November 9, 2023. Amazon is working with affected employees to find them other roles within the company, promising severance and career transition services for those who choose not to stay.
While the closure of just two stores may not seem significant, it symbolizes Amazon’s ongoing reevaluation of its physical store strategy. The company has been looking for areas to trim costs and streamline operations, and it appears that the Amazon Style stores did not make the cut.
Interestingly, this decision does not signal Amazon’s complete withdrawal from physical retail. The company has emphasized that physical retail remains an important part of its business strategy. It is continuing to invest in growing its grocery stores business, which spans Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, Amazon Go, and third-party partnerships.
The closure of the Amazon Style stores also highlights the complex dynamics of the retail landscape. While online shopping has seen a surge in popularity, brick-and-mortar stores still hold appeal for many consumers. However, Amazon’s decision suggests that the company sees more potential in focusing on its online operations and grocery business.