Update 3/6/19: Geekwire reports that Amazon is closing “87 pop-up retail stores in malls, Whole Foods locations and Kohl’s stores across 21 U.S. states, a sign that the tech giant is still refining its physical retail vision.”
Kohl’s made headlines yesterday when it announced a partnership to open 10 Planet Fitness centers adjacent to select Kohl’s stores across the country in 2019, but of equal interest was what it had to say about changes in its relationship with Amazon.
In October 2017, Kohl’s had set up Amazon stores-within-stores at 10 of its stores across the Chicago and Los Angeles areas, staffed by Amazon sales associates.
On Tuesday, Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass said it would close the now 30 Amazon stores in favor of a “more robust wholesale relationship with Amazon.” She said Kohl’s would extend its assortment of Amazon branded products into over 200 stores. But while it would offer the Amazon products in a dedicated space, it would be a self-serve experience that customers are used to.
She also said the company continued to be encouraged and learn from its Amazon returns pilot program launched in 2017 that is now in approximately 100 stores. Kohl’s accepts Amazon returns from customers and packs and ships them to Amazon at no charge to customers.