UPDATE – February 4, 2016: TechCrunch is reporting that a source has confirmed that Amazon has no plans to expand its bricks-and-mortar bookstore operation. According to TechCrunch’s source, “the report was speculation from someone not involved in Amazon Books.” The individual who made the comments, Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of General Growth Properties, has also clarified his statement, saying that his comments were not meant to represent Amazon’s plans.
Original story: Amazon’s first bricks-and-mortar bookstore has only been open for a few months, but the e-commerce giant reportedly has plans to dramatically expand its physical presence with up to 400 new bookstores.
That’s according to Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of General Growth Properties Inc, who shared Amazon’s goal of opening “300 to 400 bookstores” on an earnings call earlier today. General Growth Properties is a publicly traded Chicago-based real estate investment trust that owns and operates regional shopping malls across the US.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report on Mathrani’s comment about Amazon’s plans, made in response to a question on the call about the impact of e-commerce on mall foot traffic. The full transcript of the call is available on Seeking Alpha, though an account is required to access the page.
The Seattle-based online retail giant declined to comment on the expansion when asked by the Wall Street Journal. Mathrani’s comments on the earnings call contained no details of a potential timeline.
The Wall Street Journal pointed out that it would take Amazon several years to work out leasing deals with retail property owners.
The first and, to this point, only Amazon Books location made its debut in Seattle’s University Village neighborhood in early November last year, stocking between 5,000 and 6,000 titles.
“Amazon Books is a physical extension of Amazon.com,” said Jennifer Cast, an Amazon VP, in a statement published when the store first opened last year. “We’ve applied 20 years of online bookselling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping.”
Amazon isn’t the only retailer to start online and subsequently open physical locations. Eyewear brand Warby Parker has opened more than 20 retail showrooms across the US while beauty product subscription service Birchbox has a flagship store in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood.