Many department stores have had to close because the online retailer is stealing customers away from them. Now the group is also attacking the pedestrian zones in city centers.
For two and a half decades, online retailer Amazon has played a major role in forcing large department stores around the world to close their doors – now the Seattle-based giant wants to open department stores itself. As the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, the first stores will most likely be opened in the US states of California and Ohio, with more to follow. Amazon’s move is intended to further expand its market share in the sale of clothing, household goods and electronics items, among others, it said.
The average sales area of the department stores will reportedly be around 2800 square meters. That’s about three times the size of an Aldi store, but only a quarter of the space offered by large department stores such as Kohl’s, Macy’s or – in Germany – Galeria.
Exactly which goods and brands Amazon plans to sell in the department stores is still unknown. However, insiders assume that the company will primarily offer its most popular private labels. These include clothing and furniture. In addition, Amazon has apparently been in talks for years with well-known fashion labels and other brand manufacturers about whether they want to offer their products in the new large stores.
The sale of clothing in particular is to be boosted even further in this way.
The aim of the push into the stationary department store market is quite obviously to make the company’s own products even more visible and better known, to build up a closer relationship with customers and to enable them to look at or try out goods. In particular, the sale of clothing is to be boosted even further in this way. Founder Jeff Bezos’ company is already the number one in the USA for T-shirts, shirts, pants, dresses and jackets. But the company’s management apparently assumes that many more people would shop at Amazon if they had the opportunity to try on clothes, for example.
The online retailer is already active in brick-and-mortar retail through its small Amazon Go stores, bookstores, its so-called 4-star stores, and the Whole Foods organic food chain. It is also expanding into numerous other areas – from the entertainment industry to the healthcare industry and the insurance market. At the same time, however, there is a growing number of critics who complain that Amazon’s market power has long since assumed proportions that threaten competition and even democracy. Currently, half a dozen bipartisan bills are being debated in Congress in Washington that aim to put Bezos’ company and other large corporations like Apple, Google and Facebook on a much tighter leash.