Amazon is pulling back on its push into brick-and-mortar retail, closing all 68 of its physical bookstores, 4-Star retail stores and pop-up kiosks — including several in the D.C. region.
It will, however, continue its push into the physical grocery store space.
“We’ve decided to … focus more on our Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, Amazon Go and Amazon Styles stores and our Just Walk Out technology,” Bloomberg quotes Amazon as saying. “We remain committed to building great, long-term physical retail experiences and technologies, and we’re working closely with our affected employees to help them find new roles within Amazon.”
Amazon opened one of its first bookstores in Georgetown in 2018, and shortly afterward added a second location at Bethesda Row.
It also has a 4-Star store, selling only highly rated products from its website, at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda.
Two other 4-Star stores had been listed as “coming soon” at the Columbia Mall in Columbia, Maryland, and at Neelsville Village in Germantown.
The Amazon bookstores were never intended to be full-fledged traditional bookstores. Most are small, and carry largely a selection of best-sellers on Amazon.com or new releases.
There is also a small Amazon pop-up store on Northwest D.C.’s 14th Street.
Amazon has been expanding its Amazon Fresh grocery store push into the D.C. area, with stores open in Chevy Chase, Maryland; Franconia, Virginia, and D.C.’s Logan Circle, with several more in the works. It also has 28 Whole Foods Market stores in the D.C. region, after acquiring Whole Foods for more than $13 billion in 2017.
Its Whole Foods in D.C.’s Glover Park recently reopened, and is one of only two Whole Foods stores in the country so far with cashier-less payment technology.
Amazon owes its existence to books. Though consumers can buy seemingly just about anything at Amazon.com, founder Jeff Bezos started the company in Bellevue, Washington, in 1994 as an online bookseller operating out of his garage.
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