Brannon Boswell (Executive Editor/SCT, ICSC) writes:
"The pandemic slowed Amazon’s physical expansion, so the company is not opening many new stores in 2021, he said at ICSC’s RECon Digital this week. But its growth engine is purring again for 2022. “If things go the way I hope they go, we should double the size of the fleet this year, maybe even approaching 70 to 100 stores if things fall into place. We are very bullish about physical stores at Amazon. We have multiple divisions, and they’re all growing and aggressive and we see great opportunity in that channel.”
Amazon opened 20 specialty stores in 2020, doubling the size of its specialty store fleet. But then the pandemic hit. Between Amazon Books and Amazon 4-Star locations, the company has 54 specialty stores. Amazon Books sells physical books, e-books and the company’s Kindle e-reader and its accessories. The first Amazon Books opened Nov. 2, 2015, in Seattle. Amazon 4-Star stores sell products from the top categories across amazon.com, including devices, consumer electronics, toys, games, books, kitchen and home. Every product in the store is rated four stars or higher by the retailer’s online customers."
"“They’ve spent the past five years honing and defining for proof of concept for the small-shop formats, and 2020 was going to be the big year,” he said. “They made the decision to shut down the pipeline altogether. … So 2022 [now] is intended to look like what 2020 was supposed to look like.”
"Amazon plans to use its physical stores to help with fulfillment of online orders, too, he added. “It’s not going to be just about distribution centers, warehouses and fulfillment centers. It’s all of these touchpoints, whether it’s Amazon Grocery, Amazon Go, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-Star, Whole Foods. That’s all going to feed into logistics, supply chain, fulfillment, returns, exchanges.”