Amazon wants to turn failed malls into fulfillment centers

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Editor’s take: Now would be the best time to make a move as in-person retail is down due to Covid-19 since more people are shopping on line. If Amazon can score some prime warehouse space in a great location, it’d be a huge win for Bezos and company.

The largest mall owner in the US is discussing the possibility of leasing out some of its anchor department stores to Amazon for use as fulfillment centers.

It seems like a wise move, if not also an ironic one. Amazon was largely responsible for decimating traditional brick and mortar retail through its aggressive e-commerce business over the past two decades… and now, with established brands like Sears and J.C. Penney hanging on by a thread, it’d be… well, something… if Amazon were to take over those failed mall anchor stores and repurpose them as fulfillment centers.

For Amazon, having more fulfillment centers closer to residential areas would allow the e-commerce giant to further speed up the crucial last mile of delivery.

And for Simon Property Group, the owner of the space, they’d at least have a tenant that they know would pay rent and keep security up to snuff. Plus, Amazon already has relationships with some mall owners as they’ve been renting out parking lots to the e-commerce giant to store their huge fleet of vans.

Discussions between the two parties have reportedly been going on since before the Covid-19 outbreak. In some cases, the two have even talked about buying out occupied spaces from retailers to get the space. According to its most recent filing, Simon Property Group malls have 63 Penney stores and 11 Sears stores.

No deal has been made and it’s worth nothing that talks could fall through before any agreement gets hammered out. Still, it’s a compelling idea, one that would bring jobs back to old malls that have seen better days.

Image credit: Nic Neufeld, RozenskiP

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