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Amazon reported to be opening department stores in the US

Lauretta Roberts
19 August 2021

Amazon is said to be planning on opening "department store" style retail sites in the US offering range of well-known consumer brands in categories including fashion and homewares.

The online giant will open the stores in California and Ohio and they will span around 30,000 sq ft, which is smaller than a typical department store but larger than its existing grocery stores.

Speculation is mounting that the format could be brought to the UK if it proves successful but Amazon has yet to comment on the reports, which first surfaced in the Wall Street Journal. 

Amazon has been experimenting with physical retail formats having trialled small format stores for books and groceries in at least 13 US states including California, Colorado and Washington. It has also opened branches of its Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go grocery stores in the US and UK, and, in 2017 it acquired upscale grocery retailer Whole Foods.

Amazon Go

Amazon Go, Ealing

In 2019 it opened a 10-strong chain of pop-up stores across the UK, called Clicks & Mortar, enabling 100 small online businesses to trade on the high street for the first time.

Amazon

Amazon Clicks & Mortar

Amazon giant has been been expanding its fashion offer with its own brands, such as Find, while it also offers a raft of international names, such as Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as smaller, niche brands.

In the UK, it recently launched the "Local Label Hub" that “champions creativity” with a curated selection of on-trend brands in the UK, from the likes of Les Girls Les Boys, Temperley London and Kat Maconie.

While little is known about the planned new stores, they are likely to be "experiments" in the first instance but could prove a further headache for the US's beleaguered department store market, while challenging retailers such as Target and JC Penney.

The experiment will also offer Amazon further insight into consumer shopping trends and the extent of the shift back towards physical retail as the world emerges from the pandemic.

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