Amazon could be planning to open up to 400 physical bookshops in the US, according to a shopping centre operator.
Sandeep Mathrani, chief executive of US mall chain General Growth Properties Inc, made the comments yesterday (2nd February) during a call to analysts after it reported its earnings, according to the Wall Street Journal.
During the call, Mathrani said: “You've got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400 bookstores.”
Mathrani also compared the e-commerce giant’s expansion plans to eyeware company Warby Parker or men's clothing retailer Bonobos, which also opened physical stores after trading successfully online.
An Amazon spokeswoman has declined to confirm the reports, saying the company does not comment on "rumours and speculation."
Amazon opened its first physical bookshop – Amazon Books – in Seattle’s University Village in November, selling 5,000 titles from a 5,500 sq ft space, at the same prices as website. It’s stock is based on customer ratings, pre-orders, sales, popularity on reader recommendation site Goodreads, and its curators’ assessments.
At the time of its opening, vice president of Amazon Books, Jennifer Cast, has also said she “hoped” the outlet wouldn’t be the company’s only store.
The UK response to the online retail giant opening a physical store at the time was mixed, with some retailers saying they were “horrified” while publishers generally welcomed the opening of another bookshop.
James Daunt, m.d of Waterstones, said at the time: “…With only 5,000 titles in a space in which Waterstones would put over 10 times that number, it appears to be a tentative dip of the toe into physical bookselling waters," he said. "Clearly, however, a skim of the bestsellers away from true bookshops would be very damaging: we very much hope that it falls flat on its face."
Stephen Page, c.e.o of Faber, meanwhile, said: "All retail is moving towards omni-channel retailing. Bricks and mortar retailers have been using online and digital marketing for sometime, so now it's no surprise that pure play online is moving into bricks and mortar. Amazon is not the only online player to be doing this. So it seems unsurprising and welcome to me."