E-commerce giant Amazon has revealed plans to close its physical retail clothing stores as it aims to focus on grocery stores, Bloomberg reported.

The report comes just 17 months after the retailer opened its first Amazon Styles store in Glendale, California. It also operates another store in Columbus, Ohio.

Both are now set to close on 9 November 2023.

Amazon is reportedly working with affected personnel to identify other roles at the company.

It will offer severance to those who decline an internal transfer.

The Amazon Styles format has hundreds of employees across its two stores and corporate facilities, as Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the development.

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Amazon apparel stores enable customers to find sizes, receive personalised recommendations, start a fitting room and even pay using their phones.

They also offer pickup and return services for items ordered online.

Amazon spokesperson Kristen Kish was quoted by CNBC as saying: “After careful consideration, we’ve decided to close our two Amazon Style physical retail stores and focus on our online fashion shopping experience, where we’re offering new, exciting selection[s] at great value and introducing innovative technology to meet the needs of every customer.

“Physical retail remains an important part of our business, and we’re continuing to invest in growing our grocery stores business, which spans Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, Amazon Go and third-party partnerships.”

The closure of the apparel stores comes after the company shut most of its Amazon-branded physical stores, including bookstores, Amazon 4-Star and mall pop-up kiosks in 2022.

In October 2023, Amazon reported total sales of $143.1bn for the third quarter of fiscal year 2023, a 13% increase from $127.1bn in the same period of 2022.