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Amazon is shutting down 68 physical bookstores and other retail shops

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Amazon logo (Image credit: Andrew Martonik/Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Amazon is closing all 68 of its physical bookstores, Pop Up locations, and 4-star shops in the U.S. and UK.
  • The move is part of the retail giant's growing focus on its grocery and fashion stores, as well as cashier-less concept shops.
  • Closure dates will vary for each physical store, depending on their location.

Amazon is revamping its retail strategy after announcing on Wednesday that it is closing 68 brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. and UK, including physical bookstores, Pop Up locations, and 4-star shops.

According to Reuters, Amazon's latest move signals a shift toward grocery and clothing stores. The retail giant is also increasing its focus on its cashier-less Just Walk Out concept.

Closure dates will vary depending on a store's location.

The stores set to close are part of the retail giant's various experiments with physical retail ideas over the past few years. Amazon Books, for example, opened its first physical location in Seattle back in 2015.

A few years later, Amazon would expand on that experiment with the launch of its 4-star shops, which sell curated items from its online storefront with 4-star or higher ratings. These products, of course, include Amazon's devices, such as the best Alexa devices.

Employees at affected locations may be offered jobs at nearby Amazon stores or receive severance payments. It is unclear how many employees will lose their jobs.

The shift in strategy does not mean that Amazon is abandoning its physical retail presence entirely. An Amazon representative confirmed to CNBC that the company intends to experiment with more physical retail concepts, including the recently announced Style clothing stores.

Amazon also plans to continue to focus on its Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market grocery chains and Amazon Go convenience stores.

In 2020, Amazon launched a palm recognition technology called Amazon One, allowing consumers to pay for their purchases at a store by hovering their palms over a device.

The retail behemoth didn't say why it's closing the physical stores, but a CNBC report reveals a lackluster performance for its physical locations in 2021 compared to its 2018 sales figures.

These closures are not exactly a major concern for Amazon. Expanding into physical locations has always been more of a trial than a massive scale operation like its online business.

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He is a tech journalist based in the Philippines who has been writing about consumer tech for the past six years and has been using various Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. When he's not writing, he likes to spend time outside, stealing scenes with his phone camera.