A central appeal of shopping at Amazon has always been that you get to transport yourself to their store using a Web browser instead of an automobile.
But no one ever said the two modes had to be mutually exclusive.
According to a report on Good e-Reader, Amazon is planning to open a "boutique" retail outlet in Seattle as part of an experiment to see if a chain of such stores would make sense. From that report:
Seattle is where Amazon's main headquarters is based and is known as a fairly tech savvy market. It is a perfect launch location to get some hands on experience in the retail sphere. A source has told us that they are not looking to launch a huge store with thousands of square feet. Instead they are going the boutique route and stocking the shelves with only high margin and high-end items. Their intention is to mainly hustle their entire line of Kindle e-Readers and the Kindle Fire. They also will be stocking a ton of accessories such as cases, screen protectors, and USB adapters.
The company has already contracted the design through a shell company, which is not unusual for Amazon. When Amazon releases new products to the FCC it is always done through anonymous proxy companies to avoid disclosure to their competition on what they are working on. They are doing this for the actual first store layout and design, while modeling themselves after Apple.
In 2009, a similar rumor surfaced regarding an Amazon retail-store initiative, which at least at that time proved to be unfounded.
I've contacted Amazon's public relations department to see if it can confirm whether there is any more actual brick-and-mortar involved this time around.
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