Ama­zon eye­ing up va­cant depart­ment stores in malls

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Technology Intelligen­ce - By Han­nah Boland

AMA­ZON is said to be con­sid­er­ing turn­ing depart­ment stores into dis­tri­bu­tion hubs, as shop­pers con­tinue to avoid the high street.

The tech gi­ant has been in talks with US shop­ping cen­tre group Si­mon Prop­erty to con­vert JCPen­ney and Sears depart­ment stores into stor­age cen­tres, ac­cord­ing to The Wall Street Jour­nal. There are 63 Pen­ney and 11 Sears stores in Si­mon shop­ping cen­tres.

The re­port said it was not yet clear how many stores were be­ing con­sid­ered and that an agree­ment may not come to fruition.

News of Ama­zon’s po­ten­tial push into shop­ping cen­tres comes as the com­pany ben­e­fits from swathes of peo­ple stay­ing at home. Ama­zon has emerged as one of the big­gest win­ners from global lock­downs thanks to its vast ecom­merce em­pire and en­ter­tain­ment stream­ing site.

Last month, the US com­pany re­vealed prof­its had more than dou­bled to $5.2bn (£4bn) in the three months to the end of June. It had pre­vi­ously warned heavy spend­ing in re­ac­tion to the pan­demic could push it to a loss. Since the start of the year, shares in the com­pany have risen by two thirds. High street re­tail­ers, on the other hand, have been ham­mered since the pan­demic hit, with many hav­ing been forced to shut stores.

In the UK, even af­ter non-es­sen­tial stores were al­lowed to re­open in June, con­sumers have con­tin­ued to shun city cen­tres. Over the seven days to July 26, high street foot­fall was down 60pc on last year.

Re­cent months have seen well­known re­tail­ers such as Laura Ashley and Cath Kid­ston re­struc­tur­ing and ax­ing jobs to cope with the slow­down in busi­ness. An Ama­zon spokesman said the com­pany did not com­ment on ru­mours or spec­u­la­tion.

Jeff Be­zos, the Ama­zon founder. The com­pany has been one of the big­gest win­ners from global lock­downs

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