(Pocket-lint) - Amazon is set to close most of its physical retail stores, announcing that all 68 of its Amazon Books, Amazon 4-Star and Amazon Pop Up brick-and-mortar locations in the UK and US are to be shut down.
Amazon Books was one of the company's first forays into in-person retail experiences, first opening a store in 2015 before expanding to 24 locations in the US. Amazon 4-Star shops came later, which, as the name indicates, featured a curated catalogue of highly-rated products from its online storefront.
The Pop Up stores, meanwhile, were smaller kiosk experiences that often rotated products and partnered with different brands. Interestingly, these were also sidelined considerably back in 2019, when Amazon closed 87 of them in the US to focus more on Books and 4-Star stores. Now, they are being killed off entirely.
In a similar vein to that Pop-Up refocus in 2019, the news that Amazon is again shifting its priorities isn't surprising; these stores have always felt more of an exercise in just how far the Amazon brand could seep into various areas of retail's consciousness, rather than whole-hearted efforts to compete.
It's also possibly why Amazon isn't scrapping plans for physical stores completely, as well. The company's grocery and fashion stores remain, for now, and appear likely to wind up being the experiments that stick, rather than slide.
As for Books, 4-Star and Pop-Up locations, Amazon hasn't yet laid out the timeline for their full closure - though Reuters indicates that this will vary from store to store.