Amazon’s long-rumored plans for a brick-and-mortar store appear to be materializing in Midtown Manhattan — possibly in time for the holiday-shopping season. Or maybe they’re not.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the online giant is set to open a location at 7 W. 34th St., across from the Empire State Building, that will serve as a mini-warehouse, with limited inventory for same-day delivery, product exchanges and online-order pickups, as well as a distribution center for couriers. The newspaper’s sources cautioned those plans could change.
However, The New York Times questions whether we’ll see an Amazon store “any time soon” at that location, noting the retailer is taking over the entire 12-story building for what construction and real estate executives contend will be offices and a distribution center.
Amazon isn’t commenting, and the two stores at street level recently signed new leases and have no intention of moving. There’s showroom space at the back of the building, facing 35th Street, that’s not in use, but The Times observes the doors and windows appear to have been sealed “for some time.” Still, the newspaper floats a possible scenario in which Amazon might buy out one of the ground-floor retailers, with “the likeliest outcome” being a showroom for its Kindle tablets and Fire phone.
Reports surfaced in early 2012 that Amazon was considering a store in its hometown of Seattle to gauge the profitability of a retail chain, but a source tells The Journal it scrapped the idea because of insufficient foot traffic. The company has also tested the waters with pop-up shops operated by subsidiaries, and has partnered with convenience and grocery stores in major metropolitan areas to install large metal lockers where customers can have Amazon shipments delivered and return merchandise.
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