Amazon is closing numerous stores in the US and UK as part of the change in retail strategy

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E-commerce titan Amazon on Wednesday confirmed plans to shut down its brick-and-mortar bookstores and pop-up stores to focus on Whole Foods grocery chain and retail outlets with its latest auto-checkout tech.

The company will close its Amazon 4-star, book and pop-up stores, according to a spokesman.

Amazon’s 4-Star Stores stock a curated selection of merchandise, all rated 4 stars or higher on the company’s retail website.

The Seattle-based company expected 66 physical stores to close in the United States and two more in the UK.

“We remain committed to building great, long-term physical retail experiences and technology,” a spokesman said in response to an AFP inquiry.

“We are working closely with our impacted employees to help them find new roles at Amazon.”

According to the company, the closures are part of a shift in strategy to focus more on Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, Amazon Go and Amazon Style stores, as well as the company’s “Just Walk Out” technology, which allows customers to shop tabs can do their business without a cash register.

Amazon planned to continue opening “innovative” stores, including a style shop in Los Angeles that would be its first brick-and-mortar clothing store.

An Amazon Style store, due to open later this year, will allow customers to use the retailer’s app to scan QR codes on garments, choose from sizes and colors, and then take those items to fitting rooms to try on send, such a blog post.

Fitting rooms in the Style shop are designed as a “personalized space” where shoppers can find items they’ve requested through the app, along with options added based on their selections, according to Amazon.

Touch screens in fitting rooms allow people to continue shopping, with items delivered to try on “in just minutes,” according to Amazon.

The plan for a physical clothing store comes as regulators and competitors warn the tech giant has too much clout in retail.

Amazon acquired grocery chain Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion in 2017.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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