Amazon will shutter all 87 of its pop-up stores in the United states by the end of next month, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The move would end the proliferation of the small shops in malls, Kohl’s stores and Whole Foods in 21 states. The stores are only about a few hundred square feet and have devices like Alexa-enabled speakers and Kindles.
“After much review, we came to the decision to discontinue our pop-up kiosk program,” an Amazon spokeswoman said.
Closing the pop-ups does not mean that Amazon is giving up on its brick-and-mortar strategy, as the company is expanding bookstores and its 4-star stores, where Amazon sells high-rated items that people order online and will “provide a more comprehensive customer experience and broader selection,” the spokeswoman said. “We look forward to opening additional locations of both stores this year.”
Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market and its 460 stores about two years ago.
Amazon is also planning on launching grocery stores and also expanding its Go stores, which are cashierless, smaller convenience stores. The grocery stores will open as a new brand, and not carry the Whole Foods name.
The pop-up stores were mostly used to show off items like Alexa devices and to let customers trade in old tablets for credit.
Amazon didn’t say if pop-up stores outside the U.S. would be affected. Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass said that the department store will disperse its Amazon products into the rest of the real estate of the location and lose the “store-within-a-store concept.”
Amazon told landlords that the move wasn’t one meant to retreat from retail locations.
“The pop-up stores were designed to ascertain demand, and Amazon can leverage that data for prototypes of other stores,” said Charles Lanier, a landlord. He added that Amazon is always innovating and that at his company, “We're big fans of the brand.”