Amazon is reportedly in discussions to buy up hundreds of physical retail stores across the US to showcase its products, including the Kindle tablet and unsuccessful Fire smartphone, and act as delivery points for online orders.
The Seattle-based company, which last week reported annual sales of $89bn, is in discussions about acquiring some of collapsed electronics chain RadioShack’s 4,000 stores, Bloomberg reported. Amazon did not respond to requests for comment. RadioShack declined to comment.
If the deal went ahead, it would be Amazon’s biggest-ever push into traditional retailing and mark a challenge to Apple, which has high-street stores in cities across America and the rest of the world.
While the Kindle has been a sales success, the Fire smartphone – which was billed as a rival to the iPhone – has flopped. Third-party sales figures published in 2014 suggested that Amazon had sold only 35,000 Fire phones. Amazon has repeatedly dropped the price of the phone, eventually bringing it to just 99 cents (on a two-year contract) down from $199. The failure to shift enough Fire smartphones contributed to a $170m writedown in the third quarter of last year.
This article was written by Rupert Neate in New York, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 3rd February 2015 17.40 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010