Amazon boss mulls high street shops

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO and founder, says he's interested in launching bricks-and-mortar shops.

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
2 min read

Amazon already dominates the world of online shopping, but it looks like it could be coming to a high street near you, too.

Jeff Bezos, the online retailer's CEO and founder, told CNET's sister site CBS News that he was interested in launching bricks-and-mortar Amazon shops, in an interview I've embedded below.

What's stopping him? He wants to make sure it's done in a way that's "uniquely Amazon", and not just another generic high street electricals shop. Which is fair enough, considering how some of them have been faring lately.

Asked if he would like to launch Amazon stores, Bezos said, "We would love to but only if we can have a truly differentiated idea. We don't do a me-too product offering very well. When I look at the physical retail stores, it's very well served.

"The question we would always have before we would embark on such a thing is what's the idea, what would we do that would be different, how would it be better... we don't want to be redundant."

It's not the first time we've heard about possible Amazon shops, with rumours surfacing in 2009 that the company was in secret talks to acquire retail space in the UK. In August this year the company extended its collection-point scheme to 4,500 stores across the country.

Bezos reiterated how Amazon would need to stand out to succeed on the high street. "If 100 companies are doing something, and you're 101st, you're not really bringing any value to society," he said. "And, typically the business results are not very good for something like that.

"We want to do something that is uniquely Amazon, and if we can find that idea, and we haven't found that idea yet, we would love to open Amazon stores."

With its Kindle range expanding, Amazon could follow Apple's lead and offer stripped-back minimalist stores at first, adding more of its own products as they launch. There was talk of an Amazon smart phone a while ago, after all.

It may not be a wise time to open shop in the UK -- Amazon was up before MPs last week answering questions about how little corporation tax it pays in the UK. Retail stores would provide high-profile targets for anti-tax avoidance campaigners such as UK Uncut, which has protested against Vodafone, among other companies. Bezos' comments about "bringing value to society" will be sure to rub people the wrong way too.

Would you pop into an Amazon store? What would you like to see in there? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.