Amazon ‘in talks to turn struggling mall department stores into warehouses’

Mall shopping has taken a further hit amid the coronavirus pandemic

Matt Mathers
Monday 10 August 2020 12:23
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Simon Property, one of the biggest owners of malls in the US, is reportedly in talks with Amazon about turning some of its real estate into distribution warehouses.

Executives at the two firms are discussing plans to convert mall space, previously rented by J.C. Penney Co Inc and Sears Holdings Corp, into Amazon distribution centres, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The report also said that Simon and Amazon are exploring buying out space already occupied by the two retailers.

Sources told the WSJ that the negotiations had been ongoing for months, and had started before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in the US, back in March.

But the two sides stressed it is possible they could fail to reach an agreement, the sources added.

A spokeswoman for Amazon told Reuters it has a policy of not commenting on rumour or speculation when asked for a statement.

Simon Property did not respond to a request for comment, while Both J.C. Penney and Sears declined to comment.

Should the deal go ahead, it would mark another significant milestone in the death of mall and high street shopping.

Retailers and department stores, across the US and beyond, are struggling to keep pace with E-commerce firms such as Amazon, who typically have fewer overheads and therefore lower costs.

The popularity of online shopping has soared during the coronavirus pandemic, with millions of people forced to stay home to help limit the spread of the disease.

Many older shoppers, traditionally opposed to online commerce, have become more familiar with the practice, and continue to buy goods and products via the internet.

The continued growth in online shopping saw Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, add $13bn (£10bn) to his personal fortune in a single day.

Last month, Amazon’s share price soared by 8 per cent in just 24 hours, taking Bezos’s estimated net worth to $189.3 bn (£149bn).

Additional reporting by Reuters

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