Amazon’s experiment in physical retail stores could be considerably larger than the online megastore initially let on. The online mega-shop is preparing to open hundreds of bookstores, according to the word of a plausible, but unofficial source.
Tuesday, Sandy Mathrani, CEO of mall operator General Growth Properties, told investors at a quarterly earnings report that he was under the impression that Amazon plans to open 300-400 physical stores. According to The Wall Street Journal, Mathrani revealed the information while responding to an investor question about consumer foot traffic in malls.
Amazon opened a prototype bookstore in a Seattle mall in December, 2015. The store featured a selection of books curated by the company’s algorithms and the store’s staff, priced to match the retailer’s online offerings. After launching the store, Amazon Books Vice President Jennifer Cast told Publishers Weekly she “hoped” the company would open more locations in the future.
As one might expect, neither Amazon nor General Growth have been willing to follow up on Mathrani’s assertion. For now, though, it might be best not to start a full-blown panic over a single second-hand account. But still, it’s worth pondering.