June 25, 2022

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Amazon plans a new rival for retailers: a physical clothing store.

Amazon, which has posed formidable challenges to booksellers, big-box chains and grocers, has a new kind of retailer in its sights: physical clothing stores.

The company said on Thursday that it planned to open a clothing store called Amazon Style this year in Glendale, Calif., at a shopping center called The Americana at Brand. Renderings of Amazon Style shared by the company call to mind a department-store chain like Nordstrom or an off-price chain like T.J. Maxx.

Items will range in price from $10 to $400, the company said in an email, and the store will be about 30,000 square feet, which is several times larger than a typical specialty mall store. The shopping complex also has an Amazon 4-Star store and a Nordstrom, along with other clothing chains like Anthropologie, Lululemon and Tory Burch.

Amazon said store customers would be able to use an Amazon Shopping app to send items to a fitting room or the pickup counter. They will also be able to scan an item’s QR code to see additional sizes, colors and customer ratings. Amazon said it planned to provide real-time recommendations to customers as they shopped, incorporating their physical browsing behavior and preferences on the Amazon Shopping app.

Amazon also said it would have new technology in fitting rooms. Customers will find additional recommendations in fitting rooms once they are ready to try on garments — something that sales associates usually do in most clothing stores. Using technology from Amazon fulfillment centers, shoppers will also be able to request additional styles and recommendations, which will arrive in “minutes,” the company said.

Thirty-four percent of millennial consumers surveyed by Cowen analysts last year said they had begun with Amazon when shopping for clothing. About 17 percent said they had started their search in multi-line stores like department store chains or warehouse clubs, while 15 percent started on Google. The analysts noted that Generation Z and millennial consumers remained reliant on Amazon last year even as traditional retailers reopened.

The pandemic upended the apparel industry and shopping centers, making Amazon’s move particularly timely. Amazon, which is populated with many private label clothing brands, did not specify the names of labels it plans to carry in the store.