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The Wall Street Journal reports that Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of mall operator General Growth Properties, said this week that Amazon is poised to open hundreds of bricks-and-mortar stores around the country.

Amazon's "goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400" stores, Mathrani said.

The Journal writes that "it wasn’t clear where Mr. Mathrani got Amazon’s store figure, but he could have spoken with Amazon’s real-estate executives about their plans."

Amazon has not commented on the report.

The Journal goes on:

"Amazon opened a physical bookstore in Seattle in November, its first foray into brick-and-mortar retail. The store, in an outdoor mall, sells books and Amazon’s Kindle and Fire devices. Amazon says it stocks the location using data it collects from its website. The store stocks about 5,000 titles at any one time, compared with millions on its namesake website ... While Amazon can overwhelm competitors with its vast online inventory, it still cannot rival the immediacy of shopping at the mall. Not that it isn’t trying: Amazon has begun one-hour deliveries in about 20 cities and same-day drop-offs in other markets. At a handful of U.S. colleges, Amazon has physical locations for students can pick up or drop off merchandise and speak to Amazon representatives."

Of course, even if Amazon were to adopt the plan that Mathrani talked about, it won't happen overnight. "If Amazon were to open hundreds of stores, it would take years to pick locations, reach leasing deals, and hire staff," the Journal writes.
KC's View:
While I think there will be times and places where physical Amazon stores make sense, it is hard for me to imagine the company - which seems highly focused on not being anchored by traditional business constructs - investing in hundreds of physical stores that would force it to play the same game as Barnes & Noble, which has even more locations and is seriously sucking wind.

Among other things, it would play into the mistaken belief by mostly delusional would-be competitors that Amazon is just a bookstore. Which clearly it isn't.

I have to wonder if this is just wishful thinking on the part of a guy who owns a bunch of malls and is facing the likelihood that his investment could become obsolete in a digital world. I'll believe what Mathrani is saying when Jeff Bezos confirms it.