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Amazon considers opening hundreds of bookstores

Published: February 4, 2016
Customers paid for purchases at a newly opened Amazon Books store in Seattle in November.
Photo by Photo: Bloomberg News
E-commerce giant Amazon may be opening between 300 and 400 brick-and-mortar bookstores. This speculation has caused uproar in the retail community, with Amazon representatives either denying or refusing to comment, and anonymous sources insisting that plans are in the works.

The rumor began when The Wall Street Journal reported that the Seattle company plans to open as many as 400 bookstores over the coming years. This information was based on an announcement given by Sandeep Mathrani, chief executive of mall operator General Growth Properties Inc. "You've got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400 bookstores," Mathrani said.

Afterward, an anonymous source confirmed the plan with The New York Times. The mystery person also told the Times that Amazon's plans were “modest,” and did not reflect the hundreds of stores that Mathrani suggested.

At this point General Growth Properties Inc. has issued a statement saying that Mathrani’s comments were “not intended to represent Amazon’s plans.” However, this comment does not directly negate the possibility of upcoming bookstores.

If Amazon were to open more bookstores, they may provide other resources than just books. Customers might be given the ability to buy online and pick up in store or return items to the brick-and-mortar locations. Shipping from a store instead of a warehouse could help Amazon cut fulfillment costs.

Look for further developments as they are announced.