Here's another sign that Amazon is serious about opening more brick-and-mortar stores

Amazon has been going hard at expanding its physical stores lately, starting with its
first brick-and-mortar bookstore last year to nationwide pop-up stores and a bunch of grocery spots.
And now it looks like Amazon may be eyeing the overseas market as well.

According to The Australian Financial Review, Amazon is opening physical stores, alongside warehouses, in the Australian market by next September.

The report is based on an interview with Watermark Funds Investment’s chief investment officer Justin Braitling, who claims to have heard about the plans last week in a special briefing with an Amazon Australia executive.

“They will also be putting physical stores on the ground which I don’t think anyone knows about,” Braitling told The AFR.

If these plans come to fruition, this would make Australia the first non-US market to have Amazon’s brick-and-mortar store. Amazon currently has three physical bookstores and over 25 pop-up stores in the US, and sees potential for up to 2,000 grocery stores over the next decade, Business Insider previously reported.

Braitling also said the stores will be associated with Amazon’s Prime brand, indicating the company may be planning to make its paid Prime membership service available in Australia as well. Amazon does serve Australia, but hasn’t launched Prime there yet.

“We spoke to the guy rolling out Amazon’s business here in Australia and in his words: ‘We are going to destroy the retail environment in Australia’,” Braitling said.

Braitling’s fund, Watermark, has $600 million under management. It’s one of the largest short sellers in Australia, according to the AFR, which means the firm bets on a market decline. So Braitling’s comment should be taken with a bit of a grain of salt as he stands to gain from driving down investor sentiment.

Amazon’s representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Local media Channelnews previously reported that Amazon is seeking a CEO for its Australian operation. It also reported Amazon’s Prime Video may be coming to Australia early next year.

In its most recent earnings call, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said the company’s “experimented” with physical stores, including bookstores and pop-up shops, but declined the comment on any of its grocery store plans.

“We continue to believe consumables and groceries are a key part of the offer to our customers. We’re finding it a very attractive service,” he said.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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