NEW YORK CITY—Demonstrating that online retail andbricks-and-mortar stores can peacefully co-exist,Amazon.com plans to open its first physical store across fromthe Empire State Building, according to the Wall StreetJournal. The two-decade old retail site will launch itsin-person brand at 7 W. 34th St.—putting it on the samebustling street as Macy's—just in time for the holiday-shoppingseason.

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In a report obtained by GlobeSt.com, Paul Morgan, researchanalyst at MLV & Co., says the move, if repeated in othercities, would make Amazon a master of omni-channel selling and itwould verify the value of the retail sector.

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“While details were not published regarding the lease-term andthe strategy (same-day pick-up vs. retail-orientation, forexample), should Amazon view the branding and same-day conveniencebenefits

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of retail stores significant enough to roll out more in thefuture, the omni-channel retail spectrum would essentially becomplete,” he says. This would “assuage investors concerns aboutlong-run shopping center demand and reemphasize the centrality andstability of bricks-and-mortar retail and retail REITportfolios.”

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Opening a physical location is “about marketing the Amazonbrand,” Matt Nemer, a Wells Fargo analyst, tells theJournal. “Same-day delivery, ordering online and pickingup in store are ideas that are really catching on. Amazon needs tobe at the center of that.”

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The Midtown space will function as a mini warehouse, withlimited inventory for same-day delivery within New York, productreturns and exchanges, and pickups of online orders, theJournal notes. The new store primarily will be a place forcustomers to pick up orders they've made online, but it also isexpected to one day serve as a distribution center for couriers andwill likely one day feature Amazon devices.

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The 12-story building on 34th street, owned by Vornado RealtyTrust, once housed an Ohrbach's department store and now has Mangoand Express stores at street level. There are two loading docks atthe back of the building.

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Vornado CFO Stephen Theriot praised the 34th street building ona recent webcast. “As a former department store, its got very highceilings and its got big, open floor plates,” he said. “That's thetype of property that a lot of the creative class tenants [seekout.]”

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Rayna Katz

Rayna Katz is a seasoned business journalist whose extensive experience includes coverage of the lodging sector, travel and the culinary space. She was most recently content director for a business-to-business publisher, overseeing four publications. While at Meeting News, a travel trade publication, she received a Best Reporting award for a story on meeting cancellations in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.