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Amazon closes all its 4-star stores across the UK and US

Camilla Rydzek
03 March 2022

Amazon has announced that it will be closing its UK 4-star stores just four months after opening, alongside all of its book stores and pop-up shops across the US and UK - a total of 68 locations.

The online retail giant told Reuters that physical retail remains an important way for it to reach shoppers, and that it will continue to operate its fashion stores in LA and its checkout-free grocery stores.

Amazon opened its first UK-based 4-stare store in Kent's Bluewater shopping centre last October, and a second location in London's Westfield shopping centre a month later. The 4-star stores sold a range of trending goods that were rated four stars and above on Amazon’s website - including books, games, kitchen items, consumer electronics and toys.

Whilst Amazon is closing down its product retail stores, it is increasing its store portfolio of Amazon Fresh stores, recently opening a new location in Southwark, London.

Dan Parr, Vice President at Business Consultancy CACI commented: “Amazon’s announcement has come as a surprise to many, and follows not long after they introduced the concept to the UK. The move is most likely based on the fact they couldn’t view their customers in the same way as they can do online, and if they did (through you having the app on your phone), not even their innovation could act quickly enough to get you to engage.

“Amazon is where you go for hyper convenience (a new phone charger by tomorrow morning), hyper specialist (the place to find your cactus compost), and even hyper desire to a lesser extent (last-minute purchase of a Lego Friends Mall as a present). They have extremely high conversion rates and a finely honed model, but it’s mostly about necessity over desire, so price and availability drive purchases. An Amazon store simply cannot provide that – stock limitations and inability to flex in real time means it will not deliver the same experience.

“Perhaps a unit in a retail park would have been better suited to the 4-star model, where the reason behind the customer journey matches the nature of the store, rather than a retail destination. This is precisely why their Amazon Fresh model makes sense – grocery is a specific shop, a department store is a destination. The saving grace is that Amazon has made this decision now, before further deals had been done and landlords were left with several empty units.”

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