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Keep Eye on Irvine For Amazon Department Stores

Robinsons-May. Macy’s. J.C. Penney. Sears. Amazon? Maybe.

A report from the Wall Street Journal this month has Seattle-based Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) eyeing California and Ohio as potential sites for department-like stores running around 30,000 square feet.  

The new retail format would be a way to push categories such as clothing, home and tech.

The concept would be the latest in the company’s brick-and-mortar store fleet that includes Amazon Books, Amazon Fresh (in Irvine and Fullerton), the convenience store-like Amazon Go, Amazon 4-star stores merchandised with high-review product, and Whole Foods Market, which it acquired in 2017. The company had also dabbled with smaller, pop-up concessions in malls to push devices such as the Kindle and smart speakers, but has since pulled in the reins on that concept.

It’s unclear where within California the company is considering. However, Irvine has proven a testing ground many times for Amazon.

It began trialing its Scout robots for delivery in the city. University Center, across from University of California-Irvine, saw the opening of the first Orange County Amazon Hub Locker+, allowing for customer pick-up of merchandise purchased on the retailer’s site. Irvine Co.’s The Market Place was also the first OC location and second in Southern California for the company’s Amazon Fresh grocery store concept.

Amazon is also a large investor in Irvine EV upstart Rivian Automotive. 

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