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Amazon founder and executive chairman, Jeff Bezos. Source: Reuters
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  • Amazon plans to open a number of department store-like outlets in the US, further expanding its foray into physical retail
  • Initial stores are expected to open in Ohio and California, and will be approximately 30,000 square feet in size
  • Amazon made its entry into the brick-and-mortar space with its acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017
  • The e-commerce giant has also experimented with small physical stores for books and basic groceries in at least 13 US states

Amazon is planning to open a number of department store-like outlets in the US, further expanding its foray into the brick-and-mortar retail market.

As first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, some of the initial stores are expected to open in Ohio and California, and will be approximately 30,000 square feet in size.

Sales at department stores, which had been a haven for shoppers until the arrival of e-commerce giants such as Amazon, have taken a beating. So much so that once popular US retail chains such as Sears, Neiman Marcus and JC Penney have been forced to declare bankruptcy.

Amazon, which has long dominated the online shopping sector, made its first big bet in the brick-and-mortar space with the acquisition of upscale grocer Whole Foods in 2017. It’s also experimented with small physical stores for books and basic groceries in at least 13 US states, including California, Colorado and Washington.

The Seattle-based behemoth has benefited from a surge in online spending over the past 18 months as COVID-19 forced millions of people around the world to stay indoors. More traditional retailers also saw a boost in online sales, although overall figures fell as many were forced to close their stores, which make up the bulk of their revenue.

That said, steady vaccine rollouts in the US and Europe mean more people are returning to brick-and-mortar outlets to buy clothes, footwear and electronics.

In the US, department store chains Macy’s and Kohl’s both beat Wall Street estimates for second-quarter sales, and even raised their forecasts on full-year revenue and profit.

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