Opening a physical store is one of the last things you’d expect an e-commerce giant like Amazon to do, but that’s exactly what the company did a few months ago when it launched a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle. Even more surprising is the fact that CEO Jeff Bezos told shareholders at an annual meeting on Tuesday that he wants to open up even more physical stores, although he’s not sure how many at the moment.
Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos on Tuesday promised more retail stores as well as new services for the company’s Prime unlimited shipping membership. Bezos, who was speaking at Amazon’s annual meeting for shareholders, held court over a mostly friendly crowd of about 100 that also included employees and news media. Several shareholders thanked Bezos for Amazon’s rising stock price, which has reached new highs in recent days. Bezos said he wants the $99 Prime membership to offer so many benefits that consumers will feel they “are being irresponsible” if they aren’t members. He didn’t, however, indicate exactly how Amazon plans to continue bulking up the service. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the company is introducing of several lines of private-label food, cleaning products and baby goods available only to Prime members. Amazon also plans new brick-and-mortar stores beyond its sole bookstore in a Seattle outdoor mall, Bezos said. The company is constructing one near San Diego.