So apparently very time a major retail chain goes bust in the US, someone floats the rumor that Amazon is going to acquire the chain’s store leases. We heard this rumor with Borders in 2011, RadioShack in 2015, I floated the idea a few weeks ago with regards to B&N, and now we are hearing it again with Toys ‘R’ Us.
That chain filed for bankruptcy a couple weeks ago, and will be closing all of its US stores. But according to Bloomberg, some of those locations could reopen under an Amazon banner.
Amazon.com Inc. has looked at the possibility of expanding its retail footprint by acquiring some locations from bankrupt Toys “R” Us Inc., according to people with knowledge of the situation.
The online giant isn’t interested in maintaining the Toys “R” Us brand, but has considered using the soon-to-be-vacant spaces for its own purposes, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
Such a move would let Amazon quickly expand its brick-and-mortar presence, coming on the heels of buying Whole Foods Market Inc. and its more than 450 locations last year. The Seattle-based company also has opened its own line of bookstores and a convenience-store concept.
Representatives for Amazon and Toys “R” Us declined to comment.
Additional stores would give Amazon space to showcase its popular Echo line of devices, which run on the Alexa voice-activated platform. Amazon sees voice as the next interface for people to access technology — supplanting computer mouses and touch screens — and the benefits may be easier to demonstrate in a real-world setting.
A bigger network of stores also would put inventory closer to where shoppers live, potentially enabling quick delivery to e-commerce customers.
I will beleive this rumor when it is officially confirmed. Yes, it would make sense for Amazon to buy the leases, but on the other hand lots of ideas make sense but never come to fruition.
This version of the rumor actually makes less sense than the RadioShack version. The RS stores were in good condition and good locations, while all of the Toys ‘R’ Us Stores in my area are rundown. They are more decrepit and unappealing than Kmart stores, and I don’t think Amazon is going to want the leases – not when the stores require extensive renovation just to make them look less shabby.
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