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Amazon Opting for Food Over Fashion in Physical Retail

Retail company closes 2 apparel locations in Ohio and California
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Amazon Fresh
As Amazon closes its two Amazon Style clothing stores, the retail giant continues to tinker with its Amazon Fresh grocery model.

Grocery, it seems, is in style at Amazon when it comes to physical retail. The company said this week that it’s shuttering its two Amazon Style clothing stores in the United States.

The stores were open less than two years and were located in Columbus, Ohio, and Glendale, Calif. They will cease operations by Nov. 9, according to the news outlet Bloomberg.

In a statement, spokeswoman Kristen Kish said that Amazon is focusing on its online fashion experience and refocusing its other brick-and-mortar operations. “Physical retail remains an important part of our business, and we’re continuing to invest in growing our grocery stores business, which spans Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, Amazon Go and third-party partnerships,” she said.

[Read more: “Amazon's Revenue Sees a Significant Increase in Q3”]

To her point, although Amazon hit the pause button on expanding its footprint of Amazon Fresh Stores earlier this year, the company has reiterated its interest in the food and beverage space and is rethinking its concept. In August, Amazon held a grand reopening for two of its Chicago-area stores in the suburbs of Oak Lawn and Schaumburg and is planning another refresh for an Amazon Fresh site in the Los Angeles market. The updated stores feature an expanded selection, more lower-priced offerings and enhanced checkout options.

Currently, Amazon runs 18 Amazon Fresh stores in California, eight in Illinois, two in Maryland, one in New Jersey, one in New York, two in Pennsylvania, five in Virginia, one in Washington, D.C., and five in the state of Washington. 

Meanwhile, the Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market banner is in growth mode. Several new stores have opened within the past year and dozens more are in the works, according to the retailer. 

Amazon's executives didn’t shed much light on additional plans for its Amazon Fresh stores during the company's recent financial call, but the retail giant is on solid footing. Overall revenue for the third quarter climbed 11% from the previous year and sales also edged 11% higher on a year-over-year basis to hit $87.9 billion. Sales at physical stores, including the Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods and Amazon Go banners, rose 6% year over year, exceeding $4.95 billion.

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company one of its Retailers of the Century.

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