Amazon is pulling the plug on its pop-up stores program as soon as April as it shifts strategy.
- Amazon is closing all 87 of its pop-up stores and discontinuing the program.
- The retailer will instead expand its Amazon 4-star and books concepts.
- All pop-up locations — including ones in Kohl's, malls, and Whole Foods Market stores — will close by April 29, according The Wall Street Journal.
- Workers will be laid off, but given severance as long as they stay till the end, The Journal says.
Amazon is changing up its physical strategy: The retailer will close all 87 of its pop-up stores and discontinuing the program, according to an Amazon representative, in favor of the company's other physical concept.
"After much review, we came to the decision to discontinue our pop-up kiosk program, and are instead expanding Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star, where we provide a more comprehensive customer experience and broader selection," Amazon said.
The stores were a place where customers interested in Amazon's gadgets like the Echo or Fire TV or other smart gadgets could get hands-on time to see how they worked in the real world before purchasing.
Amazon's pop-ups have been around for about five years and will wrap up by April 29, when all the stores will close and workers will be laid off with severance as long as they stay till then, according to The Wall Street Journal.
It's unclear how many workers will be affected, and if they will be able to transfer to newly opened 4-star or bookstores. "We work to find opportunities within the company for employees," an Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement, but declined to provide further details.
Amazon had previously installed its pop-ups in Whole Foods, Kohl's, and malls.
In a conference call after Kohl's most recent earnings report, CEO Michelle Gass told analysts that its Amazon pop-ups will shift to a more traditional wholesale model.
"It was an experiment and one of the things were really driving in the culture these days is trying lots of things, so we tried the shop in the shop idea and what we're seeing is we’re actually seeing great results through a wholesale relationship," Gass said.
"We're actually going to bring it into a dedicated space in over 200 stores ... with a broader assortment of Amazon devices, but it will be more on a self-serve environment, which is how our customers are used to shopping us."