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Reuters reports that Amazon will “open pop-up shops in Britain to give more than 100 small online businesses an opportunity to sell on the high street for the first time. The first of the 10 stores, which are branded ‘Clicks and Mortar’ and will sell homeware, health and beauty, food and drink and electronics, opens in Manchester, north England, on Monday.”

The story notes that British “high street” shopping centers have struggled in recent years, hit by store closures and diminished consumer traffic that is the result of changing shopper preferences.

According to Reuters, “Amazon, which is working with small business support group Enterprise Nation on the project, said it would submit independent research on the success of the pilot stores to help develop the government’s ‘Future High Street’ strategy.”
KC's View:
At a time when Amazon is under increasing regulatory and political pressure, it makes a lot of sense for it to invest in ways to help revive bricks-and-mortar shopping centers as well as in small businesses with which it might otherwise be competing. It may cost some money, but it probably is a rounding error; after all, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos just spent $80 million on three NYC apartments, so investing in initiatives that protect Amazon’s long-term interests is a no-brainer.

I keep coming back to the much-speculated-about chain of food stores that Amazon is supposed to open later this year in the US … and I wonder what concepts like the UK high street venture might tell us about how it might innovate in this new concept.