UPDATE: March 8, 2019: In a statement to Retail Dive, an Amazon spokesperson stated, "After much review, we came to the decision to discontinue our pop-up kiosk program, and are instead expanding Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star, where we provide a more comprehensive customer experience and broader selection."
Amazon by the end of next month will close its 87 pop-up kiosks located in U.S. malls, Kohl's and Whole Foods stores as it continues to evolve its brick-and-mortar strategy, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The e-commerce player has been operating some of the pop-up locations since at least 2014, well before it opened physical bookstores, Amazon Go cashierless convenience stores and its new 4-Star stores.
Employees and partners have been notified that the pop-ups would shutdown by April 29. The closings come as Amazon plans expansions to its bookstores and Four Star stores, the report said. Amazon did not immediately respond to Retail Dive's request for comment.
This move doesn't come as much of a surprise as Amazon rapidly expands its varied brick-and-mortar concepts. As much as pop-up stores can help online firms establish brick-and-mortar outposts to strengthen customer engagement without breaking the bank on building out physical store footprints, they're called "pop-ups" for a reason — they usually aren't meant to be permanent.
Last month, Amazon reported that its physical store sales dipped 3% in its most recent quarter, which may be causing the company to re-examine its strategy, but it doesn't seem like Amazon is slowing down on the brick-and-mortar front.
The number of Amazon Go location continues to increase, with the addition of its 11th store opening this week, according to Curbed San Francisco. It's 4-Star stores, filled with highly-rated products from its e-commerce site, also have expanded quickly. Meanwhile, the Journal this week revealed that the company is opening another grocery chain — not Amazon Go or Whole Foods, but a new chain in addition to those efforts.