Amazon is in talks to turn some empty mall spaces into fulfillment centers, according to a new report.
The Wall Street Journal reports the e-commerce giant entered discussions with Simon Property Group, the biggest owner of shopping malls in the U.S., to convert some empty stores into fulfillment centers to be closer to residential areas. Simon is looking to replace large retailers like Sears, Lord & Taylor and JCPenney, some of which have closed or filed for bankruptcy due to struggles both before and during the coronavirus pandemic.
WSJ reports the talks began before Covid-19 forced many malls to shut down this year. Most shopping centers have since reopened, though some tenants have remained closed.
According to MassLive.com, Amazon currently has more than 175 fulfillment centers across the globe, including 110 in North America. The centers are typically used to store, pack and ship a wide range of products, from toys to houseware.
It’s unclear how many locations Amazon is considering. Simon has seven shopping centers in New York state, including Waterloo Premium Outlets, Smith Haven Mall and The Shops at Nanuet; Simon malls with JCPenney stores include the Roosevelt Field Shopping Center in Garden City, N.Y.
The Verge points out some mall tenants might be opposed to sharing a roof with Amazon, a company that has hurt many brick-and-mortar retailers that have struggled to stay afloat as online shopping grows. Shutdowns from Covid-19 have forced many to close for good, while Amazon reportedly doubled its net profit year over year to $5.2 billion in its second-quarter earnings results.
Amazon is currently building a large regional fulfillment center in Clay and is believed to be building a smaller distribution center nearby in DeWitt. The two are expected to create 1,200 jobs for the Syracuse area, which is home to the Pyramid-owned mall Destiny USA.
Published by New York Upstate