With the Whole Foods deal behind it, Amazon is now turning its attention to a possible takeover of some Toys ‘R’ Us stores. The giant e-commerce retailer is reportedly considering making a bid in bankruptcy court for prime store locations, in an effort to build its retail presence and increase its distribution footprint. That network expansion could help Amazon improve its quick delivery services to e-commerce customers.
The move looks to be a pure real estate play, since the Toys ‘R’ Us brand would not be maintained. Toys ‘R’ Us is shutting down its U.S. operations involving more than 700 locations. Amazon is interested in stores that will soon become available as part of those bankruptcy proceedings. That includes stores vacated in malls and other sites that would be used to showcase home products, such as voice-activated Echo appliances.
The Seattle-based online retailer acquired Whole Foods last year, which brought in more than 450 locations. Two other Amazon brick-and-mortar plays include opening its own line of bookstores, as well as a convenience-store concept.
The strategy to establish a physical experience is envisioned as a way to give customers a chance to check out Amazon’s technology products in real-world settings, rather than only relying on a computer encounter. Not only would inventory be closer to where shoppers live, a larger Amazon store network could also serve as a staging ground for grocery deliveries from Whole Foods stores.
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