The response came after a Wall Street Journal story said the company was working on several brick-and-mortar retail store formats.
Amazon.com wants to make sure the American public knows it’s not mounting an Invasion of Normandy-scale attempt at brick-and-mortar retailing. At least for now.
After Amazon on Monday unveiled Amazon Go, a small-format store where technology would allow shoppers to skip checkout lines, the Wall Street Journal reported, based on confidential sources, that the company was working on several store formats and that it envisions having more than 2,000 stores under its brand if the pilot locations work out.
Asked about that on Monday, Amazon declined to comment, but on Thursday it had changed its tune.
“We have no plans to open 2,000 of anything. Not even close,” a spokeswoman said. “We are still learning.”
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Amazon also repudiated another WSJ assertion, that it planned a big, 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot store. “We have no plans to build such a store,” the spokeswoman said.
On Thursday, the Journal doubled down on its story. A Dow Jones spokesman wrote in an email that “we are confident in our sources and stand by our original reporting.”
The newspaper reported that it talked again to the “people familiar” with Amazon’s plans, and those people confirmed both the vision for potentially having 2,000 stores and the big store concept.
Whatever the case, Amazon certainly is thinking big.
The company on Thursday had 35 “Amazon Go” jobs open. Several were for packaging and food preparation associates, but many hinted at how Amazon is building the sinews of an ambitious platform. There were three postings for research scientists; Amazon is also hiring for quality assurance techs, program managers, and various types of engineering positions, from hardware reliability to software development and computer vision.
Even if Amazon doesn’t go all out with putting a smart grocery store under its own brand on every corner, it might choose to follow its usual mode of operation by creating a platform for other retailers to use the technology.
That’s what it did with Amazon Web Services, which rents out computing power and storage to other companies, many of them fierce retail rivals. And not only does it let other retailers sell products on its site for a fee, but it offers to handle their logistics for them through a business called Fulfillment by Amazon.