After decades of being the face of online-only retail, Amazon is increasingly inching into the bricks-and-mortar world: pop-up stores; planned supermarkets without checkouts; a reported interest in buying Whole Foods — and now the possible acquisition of BJ’s Wholesale Club.
The New York Post, citing sources close to the matter, reports that Amazon has expressed modest interest in the Northeast-regional warehouse chain.
The membership retailer, similar to Sam’s Club and Costco, is currently owned by private equity firms Leonard Green & Partners and CVC Capital Partners, which are looking to sell the brand for as much as $4 billion, according to sources.
BJ’s Warehouse recently ditched plans for a initial public offering and began talking to bankers about a sale process, sources said, adding that while other buyout firms are likely to pursue a deal, Amazon is also evaluating the merits of purchasing the chain.
If it decides to seek a deal for BJ’s, Amazon would be making its biggest bricks-and-mortar push to date, as BJ’s operates 213 stores and 130 gas stations in 15 states.
Amazon, which is prepping to open its first checkoutless, cashier-free convenience store in Seattle, has long been rumored to be joining the physical store game, mainly focusing on grocery stores.
Last October, reports surfaced that the company would eventually open as 2,000 grocery stores over the next two years. A purchase of BJ’s could expedite that process.
In addition to providing another avenue for Amazon to sell groceries, electronics, and bulk products, a deal to buy BJ’s would give Amazon a foothold in appliance, furniture, and auto parts sales, the sources tell the NY Post.
Additionally, the sources says BJ’s stores would provide Amazon more space to expand its Amazon Fresh delivery service, which provides subscribers with delivery of fresh produce.
A rep for BJ’s tells the NY Post that it does not comment on rumors and speculation. Amazon did not provide comment on the rumors to the NY Post. Consumerist has also reached out to the company.