We've reached the endgame: Bezos 'in talks' to turn shuttered department stores into Amazon warehouses

Gutted Sears, JC Penney locations could become 'fulfillment centers'


Amazon is reportedly in talks with realtors to buy and remake the US locations of bankrupt Sears and JC Penney into Amazon fulfillment centers.

The Wall Street Journal cites sources familiar in reporting that Simon Property Group, a commercial retailer specializing in mall locations, was in talks with the Bezos' bunch to sell the now-vacant department store buildings. These will then be used as smaller, local versions warehouses for Amazon to store products before shipping out to customers.

Neither Amazon nor Simon Property Group responded to a request for comment on the report.

Those unfamiliar with the 1970s-1990s heyday of Sears and JC Penney will be forgiven for not understanding just what a seismic shift this deal reflects in American society. It is basically the equivalent of vanquishing your foe and turning his or her castle into horse stables.

During the rise of the shopping mall in the US, massive buildings owned by both chains would serve as so-called anchor tenants for most malls, bringing in shoppers who would then also frequent the other, smaller stores clustered nearby. In smaller towns, the buildings would even become part of the skyline and serve as a hub for social life, particularly for teenagers.

money

Amazon's coronavirus symptoms: Swelling of the profit, large sales deposits, insatiable demand

READ MORE

Of course, the popularity of both chains, and malls at large, has crashed in the 21st century as online shopping and social networking have wiped out public interest in congregating at shopping malls. The sprawling concrete caverns are mostly a thing of the past in the US, though they do remain popular in other parts of the world.

Similarly, as the malls have gone, so too have both Sears and JC Penney. Both chains made unsuccessful bids to enter the online shopping world which ended in bankruptcy proceedings – Sears in 2018, JC Penney in 2020.

What remains of both companies are largely in the domain of real estate, as they try to figure out ways to repurpose the huge brick and mortar shops. Some places have even proposed converting them into housing.

Amazon, meanwhile, having nuked and paved over a large area of the retail sector, now finds itself with a logistics problem: it needs more warehouses "fulfillment centers" to get its packages out as it aims to slash delivery times down to hours for some areas of America.

The report doesn't say quite how many shops may be bought up by Bezos and co in any deal. But we'll bet that there are more than a few people at Amazon who see the funny side of the final takeover of stores that mocked it in the early days. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021