Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), the online juggernaut whose rapid expansion helped derail many a brick-and-mortar retail chain, may soon open its first physical store, at a prime site in Midtown Manhattan, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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Amazon plans to open its first full-fledged store across from the Empire State Building, at 7 West 34th Street, the Journal reported. The area, which is also near Macy's flagship store, is one of the city's most heavily trafficked zones.
The site will double as a mini-warehouse to support same-day delivery, returns and order pickups within New York, the Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The store, which is expected to open in time for the holiday shopping season, may also display Amazon's proprietary products, such as its Kindle line of e-readers and tablets, Fire smartphones and video-streaming boxes. If the store takes off, Amazon may expand to other cities, the Journal reported.
Amazon declined to comment on the Journal's report.
A store would mark a significant move for an online retailer that has capitalized on its Internet business model and the cost-savings of doing away with a vast physical network.
In recent years however, Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has led a number of initiatives that have mandated a physical presence in cities: lockers that temporarily hold customer purchases, for example, and a rapid expansion of grocery and same-day delivery that has often meant maintaining some sort of local distribution center.
The company has also on occasion set up pop-up stores in malls, though those have been rare.
(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bangalore and Edwin Chan in San Francisco; Editing by Maju Samuel and Leslie Adler)