Amazon to Close 68 Stores

Amazon’s experiment into brick-and-mortar bookstores is coming to an end.
Amazon logo building

The e-commerce giant is closing all 68 of its physical bookstores, pop-ups and toys and home goods shops, according to a report from Reuters. The stores are located in the U.S. and the U.K., and closure dates will vary by location. Amazon will also help employees affected by the closures find roles elsewhere in the company, while those who opt not to stay will be offered severance packages, Amazon told CNBC

The news comes as Amazon has been ramping up its brick-and-mortar presence in the grocery sector, including adding more Amazon Fresh locations and trying out its Just Walk Out technology at Whole Foods Market. The company also operates small-format stores with prepared foods and some grocery items through its Amazon Go banner in select cities. Those stores also feature the Just Walk Out tech.

The closures also don’t signal the end of Amazon’s experimentation with physical stores outside of the grocery sector. The company debuted its first-ever apparel store, Amazon Style, in late January.

However, sales in Amazon’s physical stores have lagged as of late, with Whole Foods and Fresh outlets reporting lower sales in 2021 compared to 2018, according to CNBC. 

The changes also come after Amazon’s vice president of physical retail, Cameron James, left the company after 14 years in November 2021.