Amazon to Close Many Stores, Focus on Groceries

Amazon bookstores and 4-Star stores will shutter, reflecting shoppers’ love affair with online retail.

 Person Wearing Hoody and Gloves Walks Outside Amazon 4-Star Store
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Amazon.com is doing an about-face on its move into brick and mortar to supplement its massive online presence by closing 68 brick and mortar stores.

The Seattle-based retailer said it will close all its bookstores (Remember, Amazon got its start as an online bookstore) – plus Amazon 4-star stores that sell home goods and toys, as well as pop-up stores that have appeared in malls and other locations.

The move comes on the heels of Amazon raising its yearly subscription rate for Amazon Prime to $139, from $119.

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Amazon said it will instead concentrate on its core grocery stores (including Amazon Fresh locations and the Whole Foods Chain), plus Amazon Style (opens in new tab), a new, high-tech, high-fashion brick-and-mortar store from Amazon. The first Amazon Style store, which will feature clothing, shoes and accessories for men and women, will open in Los Angeles later this year. You can check out the concept on this video from Amazon.

Disappearing along with Amazon bookstores are Amazon 4-Star stores, a concept that sold home goods, electronics, toys and other goods that got top customer reviews – hence, 4-star.

Reuters was first to report news of Amazon shuttering its stores. The company said the store closing will occur on various dates. Physical stores account for only 3% of Amazon’s recent quarterly sales of $137 billion, and the majority of that 3% was from Amazon’s Whole Foods supermarkets, according to Reuters.

Bob Niedt
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Bob is a Senior Online Editor at Kiplinger.com. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty, and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.