Well, we called it. At the end of last year, we listed seven predictions for Amazon in 2012, the first of which was: "Amazon opens its first store."
The Good E Reader website is reporting that its sources say Amazon is indeed planning on rolling out a retail store in Seattle within the next few months.
The northwest city is where Amazon is based, and where they first trialled the Amazon Lockers in a 7-Eleven last September.
According to Bloomberg, the company's quarterly profits announced on January 31st were lower than expected - 58% lower than the previous quarter, in fact, affected mainly by the manufacturing costs of Kindle Fire, which most analysts agree is sold at a loss.
As for the design and location of the new store, nothing has yet been announced, however Good E Reader claims that the new store will be a boutique space, "stocking the shelves with only high margin and high-end items", while website The Street reported back in 2009 that Amazon had had a patent accepted for a design of a small building that resembles a store. Also in 2009, The Times of London reported that Amazon was thinking about opening stores in London, but these rumors came to nothing.
Opening a store would certainly help Amazon in two current problem areas. Firstly, when Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch announced the Nook Tablet in November, he remarked that "A lot of people want to know they can take their device into a store and get help with it," stating that they had a bricks-and-mortar advantage over their rival in the e-reader market.
Secondly, a few days ago, Barnes & Noble and Books A Million announced that they wouldn't stock books published by Amazon.
As Amazon is increasingly being viewed as a rival to Apple, an investment in bricks and mortar might prove to be a significant move for both online and high-street consumers.
Amazon did not return a request for comment.