LON­DON:

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Ama­zon.com Inc plans to open up to 400 phys­i­cal book­stores, an ex­ec­u­tive of a ma­jor U.S. mall op­er­a­tor said to­day. Ama­zon dipped its toe into the wa­ters of brick-and-mor­tar stores with the open­ing of a book­store in its home city of Seat­tle in Novem­ber. An ex­pan­sion of book­stores, which the com­pany has not con­firmed, would be a sur­prise re­ver­sal from the on­line re­tailer cred­ited with driv­ing phys­i­cal book­sell­ers out of busi­ness.

"You've got Ama­zon open­ing brick-and-mor­tar book­stores and their goal is to open, as I un­der­stand, 300 to 400 book­stores," San­deep Mathrani, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Gen­eral Growth Prop­er­ties Inc (GGP.N), said on Tues­day, re­spond­ing to an an­a­lyst's ques­tion af­ter it re­ported earn­ings. On the call, Mathrani com­pared Ama­zon's plans to sim­i­lar moves by eye­ware com­pany Warby Parker or men's cloth­ing re­tailer Bono­bos, both of which opened phys­i­cal stores af­ter find­ing suc­cess on­line. An Ama­zon spokes­woman said the com­pany does not com­ment on "ru­mors and spec­u­la­tion." Be­fore branch­ing out to of­fer ev­ery­thing from fresh gro­ceries to orig­i­nal TV pro­gram­ming, Ama­zon got its start as a book­seller 20 years ago. It has since rev­o­lu­tion­ized the pub­lish­ing in­dus­try by in­tro­duc­ing its pop­u­lar e-reader, the Kin­dle. Ama­zon's book­store in Seat­tle car­ries books se­lected based on cus­tomer rat­ings and pop­u­lar­ity on Ama­zon.com. The store­front also pro­vides a space for vis­i­tors to test-drive Ama­zon's Kin­dle, Fire TV and other devices.

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