The department stores that anchor shopping malls have struggled to survive in the face of online shopping, but those spaces might find a new lease on life through their greatest foe. Wall Street Journal sources claim Amazon is in talks with mall owner Simon Property Group to convert some of its department store spaces into fulfillment centers. It’s not certain how many stores would become warehouses, but Amazon is reportedly looking at either stepping into empty JC Penney and Sears stores or else buying locations that are still in use.
Amazon is also said to be talking to multiple mall owners about putting its future low-cost grocery stores in former JC Penney spaces, although those won’t necessarily come to Simon-owned malls. The talks about fulfillment centers have been going on for “months” and predate the COVID-19 pandemic, the sources said.