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Amazon 4-Star Makes SoCal Debut

Amazon.com Inc. has opened the first Southern California location of its Amazon 4-Star retail concept in the Caruso-built Americana at Brand shopping center in Glendale. The 4,000-square-foot shop opened in early December, its shelves stocked with the highest-rated products across all categories on Amazon.com, from electronics and home goods to books and toys. As its name implies, every item for sale is either rated four stars or higher, is a top seller or is new and trending on the e-commerce giant’s website. Each 4-Star store features sections tailored to its place and time — the Americana outlet features such sections as “Trending around Los Angeles,” “Top tech gifts,” and “Our picks from the Amazon Holiday Toy List.” One stand is dedicated to L.O.L Surprise! dolls, last holiday season’s bestselling toy which happens to be manufactured by Chatsworth’s MGA Entertainment. The store also has a “devices and electronics” section where shoppers can try out such gadgets as the Echo Dot speaker with Alexa or the Ring Video Doorbell. “The customer response has been really positive,” Amazon’s Director of Physical Stores Drew Sheriff told the Business Journal via email. “Amazon 4-Star is built around the tastes and preferences of our customers – what they’re buying and what they’re loving.” Americana is Amazon’s ninth 4-Star location nationwide and its second in California. The first opened in 2018 in Berkeley. More locations are planned for Burlingame and Corte Madera. Sheriff added Amazon has confirmed plans to open one in Canoga Park, but did not reveal the exact site. The 4-Star store wasn’t the only Amazon analog to show up in Glendale last month. Days after it opened, a Food Network-themed Amazon pop-up store appeared at the Glendale Galleria. Related to the company’s Food Network Kitchen mobile app, it allows shoppers to demo the app and purchase small kitchen-related products (but not appliances). Amazon said it has a long-term lease on the mall space but will frequently rotate the theme of the pop-up. These installations are the latest in Amazon’s nationwide push into brick-and-mortar retail, a backwards track toward its goal to sell every type of product to every type of consumer. The company announced in November it would debut a grocery store concept separate from Amazon Go and Whole Foods in the Warner Center neighborhood in Woodland Hills, slated to open in early 2020.

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