In a stunning decision announced on Wednesday, Amazon announced intentions to close all 68 of its brick-and-mortar bookshops, 4-Star locations, and pop-up sites in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, and its high-tech Amazon Go locations, which let you to pick up your things and depart without having to wait in line, will all continue to function. According to the New York Times, the business will also proceed with plans to launch its first Amazon Style clothes store in Los Angeles later this year.
The locations will close on various dates, however Amazon has not provided any particular information at this time. The firm also declined to reveal how many jobs will be lost, but said it will assist employees in finding other jobs or provide a severance payment if necessary.
In 2015, Amazon built its first physical bookstore, stocking the shelves with bestsellers from its online store. It had 24 bookstores in more than 12 states as of last year.
The Amazon 4-Sar store was more experimental, stocking things that had gotten excellent ratings on Amazon’s online store, whereas the pop-up stores were temporary installations that allowed customers to try out Amazon’s growing selection of digital devices.
While Amazon isn’t fully abandoning its retail stores, its choice to shift its focus away from specific industries shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, according to Reuters, revenue from Amazon’s physical stores accounted for just 3% of the company’s $137 billion in sales in the most recent quarter, with the majority of it coming from its Whole Foods subsidiary.