Discuss as:

Amazon reportedly looking at opening retail stores

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

A move into retail stores is a curious one for a rapidly-growing and highly profitable online retailer.

By msnbc.com staff

Amazon.com is planning to open a retail store in Seattle within the next few months, according to a report on the Good e-Reader blog, a provider of news on the e-reader and tablet computing market.

The store’s main emphasis will be on books from their growing line of Amazon Exclusives, and also on selling e-readers and tablets, the report said. Amazon will use the store as a test to gauge the market and see if a chain of retail stores can be profitable, according to the blog.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

A move into retail stores is a curious one for a rapidly growing and highly profitable retailer that has built its success on the elimination of brick-and-mortar retailers.

While the establishment of retail stores is a costly move, it’s one that has precedence, notes Rob Enderle, an analyst with Enderle Group. Microsoft and Apple have both opened retail stores, with Apple seeing significant success, he said. Now that Amazon has started to develop its own line of products, including the Kindle e-book reader, a small chain of stores like Apple’s chain makes sense, he added.

“It reminds people that Amazon is out there,” he said.

Enderle expects Amazon to follow roughly the same path as Apple, opening a limited number of stores nationwide and focusing on highly-affluent markets with significant foot traffic. The idea, he added, would be to capture sales in places where consumers are clearly still buying, but where Amazon currently has no “storefront” -- in malls and busy shopping centers.

What do you think of Amazon's plan? Discuss it on Facebook.