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Amazon to launch first brick-and-mortar store, report says

Amazon may be venturing beyond the world of online retail to set up its first brick-and-mortar shop, according to a report from Bloomberg News.

The store will be in Seattle and its focus will be pricier merchandise such as tablet computers, the report says. And its footprint won’t be nearly as large as that of big box retailers such as Barnes & Noble.

The single store is a test run for Amazon to see whether a chain of retail outlets could be profitable. If so, it could be a way for the company to make up for the declines they’ve seen in profits due to the manufacturing costs of the Kindle Fire.

The blog Good E Reader reports that Amazon has hired a designer to begin work on the store’s look and layout and that it is aiming to open its doors later this year in time for the holiday shopping season.

There would be certain advantages to Amazon having retail stores — namely that some items could be picked up immediately instead of going through shipping once they were purchased online.

Over at Forbes, Eric Savitz notes that this isn’t the first time that there have been rumors about Amazon opening a chain of stores — in 2009 similar rumors surfaced after the Sunday Times reported the online retailer was looking at properties. Amazon quickly refuted the report.

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Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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