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2/3/2016 6:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Amazon Plans to Open Hundreds of Bookstores, Mall Executive Says

David Ryder/Bloomberg News
The CEO of a huge mall operator said Inc. plans to take its Seattle brick-and-mortar bookstore experiment to hundreds of locations across the country.

In an earnings call with analysts, General Growth Properties CEO Sandeep Mathrani said Amazon's goal "is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400 bookstores."

The executive was discussing how malls still are relevant to customers and complementary to booming e-commerce, because those malls are a convenient place not only to browse merchandise, but also to make in-store returns.

Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in November in Seattle's University Village, betting that its rich hoard of customer data would allow it to pick books local readers would like while making a store run more efficiently.

It's unclear how well-grounded Mathrani's comments are. Amazon said it doesn't comment on "rumors and speculation." Kevin Berry, a spokesman for General Growth Properties, declined to provide further detail "beyond the remarks made during this morning's earnings call."

But The New York Times reported late Feb. 2, citing an anonymous source, that Amazon does have plans to open more bookstores like the Seattle one, just on a far more modest scale than what Mathrani mentioned.

Internet-based retailers such as Bonobos and Warby Parker, both of which opened locations in Seattle last year, have been keen on establishing physical roots. These e-commerce players see brick-and-mortar stores not only as a way to capture customers reluctant to go online but also as an extension of their brand.

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By Angel Gonzalez
The Seattle Times


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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