Amazon is scaling back its physical retail footprint in a big way

Amazon is scaling back its physical retail footprint in a big way

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The big picture: Amazon hasn’t shied away from experimenting with brick-and-mortar concepts in recent years, which is a bit ironic considering the Internet shopping pioneer’s role in disrupting traditional retail in its formative years. Its 4-star stores, for example, only sell items that have a four-star or higher rating, are top sellers or are new and trending on

The e-commerce giant confirmed to CNBC that it will be shutting down all of its Amazon Books physical stores in the US and UK, along with its Amazon 4-star and remaining Amazon Pop-Up stores. Closure dates will vary by location, the company said. All told, nearly 70 stores will be going away.

An Amazon spokesperson said they will help impacted employees find roles elsewhere in the company. Those who decide to move on will be given severance.

Growth at Amazon has slowed as of late, however, which is reflected in the company’s share value. Year to date, the stock is down nearly 11 percent.

One of its bigger acquisitions, Whole Foods, is still going strong. Amazon earlier this week opened its first Whole Foods store with Just Walk Out technology, allowing shoppers to grab what they need and skip the checkout line thanks to the combined magic of computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning.

The company is also planning to launch an apparel store called Amazon Style in Glendale, California later this year featuring clothing and high-tech changing rooms.

Image credit Tim Mossholder

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