Amazon looks for UK store sitesMonday, 07 December 2009
It represents an extraordinary reversal from the dotcom boom, when there were fears that internet shopping would kill off the high street. It would also be the most high-profile move by a web-only retailer into stores.
Amazon wants to cash in on rising customer demand for click and collect services where shoppers buy online and then pick up their goods from a nearby store. Consumers who are fed up with waiting at home for deliveries are increasingly choosing to buy online and collecting goods at a time that suits them.
One source familiar with Amazon’s proposals said: “When Amazon was just selling books and CDs that fitted easily through the letterbox it was fine to be a web-only business, but now it has branched out into everything from fashion to electricals it believes it could boost sales by having stores that offer a collection point for shoppers. It will probably be an Argos-style operation.”
It is understood that some of the sites will be out of town because of worries over parking. The company, founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, a former financial analyst, started out as an online book store.
Seattle-based Amazon has delivered a bumper performance during the credit crunch, smashing Wall Street forecasts with a 28% rise in sales to $5.5 billion. The company is now worth more than it has ever been and has finally overtaken a lofty 1999 valuation that epitomised the dotcom mania.
Its international arm, which includes the UK, increased sales by 33% to $2.6 billion in the three months to September 30. The US group has forecast growth of between 21% and 36% in its final quarter across the business. Amazon in the UK refused to comment on its plans to open stores here.
Image: Amazon logo
Source: The Times