The online retail giant Amazon made headlines last year when they opened a brick-and-mortar location – a bookstore just like the ones the website has been competing with for years. Now a new report indicates that the company is secretly planning to open hundreds more.
The apparent leak happened when Sandeep Mathrani, the CEO of General Growth Properties, dished on Amazon’s secret plans in a conference call. While talking about the earnings of his company – which owns retail properties of the sort that Amazon might be interested in – Mathrani pulled the curtain back on Amazon’s strategies. “[Amazon’s] goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400 bookstores,” Mathrani explained.
But did Mathrani “understand” correctly? Amazon is refusing to comment on “rumors and speculation,” which means that they’re neither confirming nor denying the existence of expansion plans. Mathrani, for his part, reneged on his statements the very next day. General Growth Properties posted a statement on their website claiming that Mathrani’s comments were “not intended to represent Amazon’s plans.”
But plenty of observers are skeptical of that claim. Reading Mathrani’s original comments, it’s hard to interpret them as anything other than an assessment of Amazon’s future plans. Did Mathrani withdraw his statement because it was incorrect, or because Amazon asked him to help protect the secrecy of its long-term plan? And if the report really is incorrect, why isn’t Amazon denying it?
A brick-and-mortar expansion would make sense for Amazon, given the success of Amazon’s first-ever brick-and-mortar store in Seattle. An expansion of their physical presence seems inevitable, but is the “300 to 400” figure accurate? Amazon is mum on the subject, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
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