Amazon confirmed this week that it is closing all of its...

 Amazon confirmed this week that it is closing all of its physical bookstores as well as its 4-star shops and pop up locations. Here, a store in Paramus, N.J. Credit: AP/Ted Shaffrey

Amazon is closing all of its brick-and-mortar bookstores, as well as its 4-star shops and pop-up locations, as the online retail behemoth reworks its physical footprint.

The Seattle-based company said this week that the move, which affects 66 stores in the United States and two in the United Kingdom, will enable it to concentrate its efforts on Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, its convenience concept called Amazon Go and its upcoming Amazon Style stores. Amazon Style, which will sell fashion and accessories, is set to open in a Southern California mall later this year.

"We remain committed to building great, long-term physical retail experiences and technologies and we're working closely with our affected employees to help them find new roles within Amazon," the company said in a statement.

It couldn't be learned immediately how many Amazon workers are being affected.

Amazon does not have any bookstores, 4-star shops or pop up physical store locations on Long Island. The company is planning to open three Amazon Fresh grocery stores in the area, in East Setauket, Oceanside and Plainview.

Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in 2015, two decades after it began selling books online and helped drive a number of shops out of business. Amazon's 4-star shops, which first made their debut in 2018, carry a limited selection of best-selling products from top categories that Amazon.com sells, including devices, consumer electronics, toys and games.

The move comes as Amazon.com Inc.'s overall revenue growth is slowing, and it's looking for new ways to reignite sales.

The company said the move affects 66 stores across the...

The company said the move affects 66 stores across the country. Credit: AP/Mark Lennihan

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said the strategy comes as a surprise. He said he believes it's an acknowledgement that the bookstores weren't delivering the returns Amazon was looking for.

Saunders said he thinks the main problem with Amazon’s non-food stores is that they lacked a real purpose even though the merchandise was well-presented.

"They were designed for people to pop in and browse rather than as destinations where people would head on a mission to buy something," he wrote in a note on Wednesday. He noted that ultimately that wasn't good for driving customer traffic, especially in an era where people are visiting shops less.

Saunders added that the other problem is the assortment which, in many locations, was disjoined and unfocused.

— with Tory N. Parrish

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