• Amazon will shutter its 87 U.S. pop-ups, located in Whole Foods, Kohl’s and various malls. These pop-ups serve as introductions to Amazon products such as Echo speakers and Kindles and can be staffed by the company’s own employees or sales associates from its host. Despite the closures, the company is exchanging this reduction in square footage for a massive expansion of Amazon Go, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star and a new grocery concept. Amazon has recently come into the favor of more malls, which view it as a valuable tenant that adds clout and attracts higher-paying Prime members to the property, and it is not yet clear how the pop-up closures will affect this opinion.
  • Tens of thousands of third-party Amazon vendors faced terminated purchase orders this week with no warning—some accounts were also discontinued. These vendors were told that to continue utilizing Amazon’s platform, they could establish an account with its first-party business, Vendor Central. This may be a sign of the impending One Vendor program that will allegedly combine Vendor Central with its third-party business, Seller Central. Most of the terminated orders were restored, but regardless of Amazon’s long-term vision, a sudden upheaval of thousands of vendor accounts is just another reason for sellers to complain or turn away from Amazon’s platform.
  • In another marketplace news, U.S. Amazon vendors will now be permitted to sell the same products on other sites at a reduced price—a practice that Amazon previously prohibited. Amazon has received mounting pressure from various governments around the world to address its price parity provisions, which may violate antitrust laws. The U.K. cracked down on Amazon in 2013, pushing the company to relax constraints on pricing among its European Union sellers and now this regulatory pressure has spread to the U.S.