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Amazon reportedly discussing using former J.C. Penney and Sears stores as fulfillment centers

A worker assembles a box for delivery at the Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., April 30, 2019.

Clodagh Kilcoyne | Reuters

Amazon is in discussions with mall-owner Simon Property Group about using some closed J.C. Penney and Sears stores for Amazon fulfillment centers, The Wall Street Journal said on Sunday.

“For Amazon, more fulfillment centers near residential areas would speed up the crucial last mile of delivery,” The Wall Street Journal said. “For Simon, turning over what was once prime mall space to fulfillment centers shows it would be willing to relinquish an essential way to bring in more mall traffic to secure a steady tenant.

Simon Property Group declined to comment on the report. An Amazon spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.

Amazon has long focused on its so-called “last mile” of delivery. In 2018, it started to recruit drivers to deliver goods in neighborhoods, for example. It has also tested and explored the use of drones to deliver packages. Amazon Lockers are in some other retail stores around the country where customers can go to pick up the items they deliver online.

The Sears and J.C. Penney locations could give Amazon more fulfillment center space, closer to customers, where delivery drivers could come unload and pick up packages. That may help speed up the time it takes to get an order delivered from Amazon.

The Wall Street Journal said it’s unclear how many of the stores inside Simon malls are under consideration.

In June, J.C. Penney said it’s closing 154 retails stores this summer. J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy in May and is moving toward a sale sometime this fall. Sears announced in Nov. 2019 plans to shut down 96 stores.

— CNBC’s Lauren Thomas contributed to this report.

Read more on The Wall Street Journal.

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