In February, Sandy Mathrani, head of General Growth Properties, set off widespread speculation about Amazon's growth strategy when he said that the tech giant was intending to open 300-400 bookstores. Six months later, just how many stores the mega-retailer has in mind, and their format, is still not clear.
While Amazon continues to move ahead with staffed pickup locations in college communities, little word has come out on its future bookstores.
After opening its first bookstore, Amazon Books, in Seattle in November, the retailer was reported to be readying a second Amazon Books location at the University Towne Center Mall in San Diego, close to the University of California. The store was supposed to open this summer.
However, the University Towne Center location, which is across the street from an Apple store, has yet to open. In June, Fortune reported that a third Amazon Book is slated to open in Portland, Ore., in the Washington Square Mall.
By contrast, Amazon seems to be moving ahead quickly on its pickup locations, having signed a number of agreements with colleges and universities.
Since Amazon opened its first pickup location, at Indiana's Purdue University in February 2015, it has opened a dozen such stores. The company has also opened a few pickup locations that are not officially connected to the school they are near. Amazon has a pickup location in Isla Vista, Calif., unaffiliated with the local University of California at Santa Barbara and one near the University of Cincinnati.
This week alone announcements were made for two new pickup locations, including one set to open this fall at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The University of Illinois location will mark Amazon's entry into the bricks and mortar business in the high volume Chicagoland market.
Amazon's second planned pickup store, which the Milwaukee Journal reported, will be at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The newspaper said Amazon signed a five-year agreement with the school for the store. According to Michael Lehman, UW-Madison's interim vice chancellor for finance and administration, Amazon views the location "as a Top Ten list of places where they have plenty of opportunity.”