retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, MNB took note of a Wall Street Journal report that Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of mall operator General Growth Properties, said that Amazon is poised to open up to 400 bricks-and-mortar stores around the country.

That report got a lot of attention. And then, Mathrani tried to walk it back, releasing a prepared statement yesterday saying that his comment "was not intended to represent Amazon's plans."

Meanwhile, Re/code has a story about Amazon's actual bricks-and-mortar plans, describing them this way:

"The Amazon retail store initiative is being led by Steve Kessel, a longtime Amazon executive whose team launched the first Kindle e-reader and who is very tight with CEO Jeff Bezos, according to three sources familiar with the group ... The specifics of Kessel’s project had been a secret internally for a long time, but his group has attracted more attention since it opened up Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle in the fall ... Amazon will indeed open up more bookstores, but it also plans to eventually unveil other types of retail stores in addition to bookstores, according to two sources familiar with the plans. It’s not yet clear what those stores will sell or how they will be formatted, but the retail team’s mission is to reimagine what shopping in a physical store would be like if you merged the best of physical retail with the best of Amazon."
KC's View:
Y'think maybe Mathrani got a phone call from Amazon headquarters yesterday?

As I said yesterday, I thought from the moment I heard the words come out of his mouth that he was engaging in more wishful thinking than factual reporting. I think Amazon certainly has a plan for how it can use bricks-and-mortar in innovative ways to build its brand and reach ... but the idea that it quickly wants to get to 300-400 stores strikes me as out of character. Of course, I could be wrong...