Amazon Is Closing More Stores — These Locations Will Be Impacted
After Amazon started in 1995 as an online bookseller, it eventually drove many brick-and-mortar bookstores out of business. Then, the online retail giant opened its own brick-and-mortar bookstores but the venture never had much success. Despite this, Amazon continued opening physical locations, including 4-Star stores and Amazon Pop Up shops. Sadly, not many Amazon locations were able to sustain.
What is Amazon closing stores and are more store closures expected?
On March 2, 2022, Amazon announced that it would close its 68 brick-and-mortar bookstores, Pop Up, and 4-Star stores due to poor revenue growth, Reuters reported. Sales at the company’s physical stores only accounted for 3 percent of Amazon’s reported $137 billion in sales, most of which comes from its Whole Foods grocery store locations. Then, on March 4, 2023, Fox Business reported that Amazon plans to close select Amazon Go stores.
Keep reading for the latest updates on Amazon's store closures, including which locations are next.
What happened to Amazon bookstores?
Amazon opened its first physical bookstore, Amazon Books, in Seattle on November 2, 2015. When the store opened its doors, a spokesperson for Amazon Books told The Seattle Times, “Our goal is to do a great job selling lots of books.”
A second location opened a year later in San Diego. A Seattle mall owner told The Wall Street Journal in 2016 that Amazon planned to build 400 of the bookstore locations but then he backtracked on that statement.
The company abandoned plans to open several bookstores in 2018. According to a 2018 GeekWire article, permit records revealed that Amazon didn’t follow through with plans to build bookstores in Georgia, Colorado, and Idaho. At the time, Amazon officials said they “remain excited” about the bookstores and “continue to look for new locations,” GeekWire reported.
Today, there don't appear to be any more Amazon Bookstores open.
What happened to Amazon Pop Up stores?
Amazon’s Pop Up retail storefronts also never got off the ground as the company expected. Insider reported in 2016 that Amazon planned to open 100 pop-up stores in shopping malls across the U.S. Amazon Pop Up shops are mainly mall kiosks that showcase the company’s electronic devices like the Kindle, Fire, and Echo.
However, in 2019, Amazon closed dozens of the Pop Up stores, The New York Times reported. In a statement to the Times, an Amazon spokeswoman said the company decided to discontinue the Pop-Up kiosk program and instead expand Amazon Books and Amazon 4-Star, “where we provide a more comprehensive customer experience and broader selection.”
What happened to Amazon 4-Star stores?
In March 2022, only nine Pop Up locations remained in the U.S., though Amazon had plenty of Amazon 4-Star locations still operating. During that time, there were about 33 4-Star locations and 16 of which had “coming soon” listed next to them on the Amazon website. As of March 2023, Amazon doesn't have any open Pop Up or 4-Star locations open.
Launched in 2018, Amazon 4-Star stores were known for selling new and trending products rated four stars and above on Amazon.com.
Which Amazon Go stores are closing?
At the beginning of March 2023, Amazon announced that it plans close some of its Amazon Go stores. Two of the locations are located in Seattle while another two are in New York City. The final four Amazon Go stores slated for closure can be found in San Francisco, per Fox Business.
Despite news of the closures, Amazon Go will continue to operate several other locations in Illinois, New York, and California.
Is Amazon closing Whole Foods or Amazon Fresh?
The announced closures don’t impact Amazon’s grocery stores, Whole Foods or Amazon Fresh. In a previous statement to The New York Times, Amazon spokeswoman Betsy Harden said the company will “focus more on our Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, Amazon Go, and Amazon Style stores and our Just Walk Out technology.”
Amazon Fresh currently has dozens of locations across the nation but only two Amazon Style stores — one in Glendale, Calif. and the other in Columbus, Ohio.
“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,” Harden told the Times.