Mall CEO’s Comment About Amazon Stores Not Meant To Represent Amazon’s Actual Plans

Get that story back in the box. (Val D'Aquila)

Get that story back in the box. (Val D'Aquila)

Yesterday, everyone from book lovers to Barnes & Noble shareholders reacted to a tiny piece of news about Amazon during another company’s routine earnings call. The CEO of mall operator General Growth Properties told listeners that one factor affecting the future of mall traffic would be the 300 to 400 stores that Amazon plans to open in malls nationwide. “The what now?” everyone else on the call said. Now the company has walked back that comment. Sort of.

Neither Amazon nor General Growth Properties has denied that Amazon plans to expand into the real-life store business: after all, they’ve already started doing something like that on college campuses, and have opened a small bookstore in their hometown of Seattle.

In a press release this afternoon, the company clarified what was said during that call:

Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Mathrani has indicated that a statement he made concerning Amazon during GGP’s earnings conference call held on February 2, 2016, was not intended to represent Amazon’s plans.

That’s it. That’s the entire press release. Other than that, neither Amazon nor GGP wants to discuss the story.

Maybe there will be no stores, and both companies are messing with us. Maybe the rollout will be very gradual, and it would take a long time to reach a few hundred stores. Either way, clearly someone at Amazon has been talking to mall operators, and it’s too preliminary to be discussed yet.

Mall Operator Clarifies CEO’s Amazon Bookstore Comments [Wall Street Journal]
General Growth Properties CEO Sandeep Mathrani Clarifies Statement About Amazon [Business Wire]