We’ve asked Amazon for comment.

There’s no guarantee the two sides reach a deal, provided the report is accurate. However, it would make sense given the state of US shopping malls. Even before the pandemic, malls and their department stores were grappling with reduced traffic as customers increasingly shopped online. Some malls have replaced stores with call centers and other non-retail businesses just to stay afloat. COVID-19 further limited those options. It’s hard to rent space to offices that are working from home, and retail is frequently limited to curbside pickup or just a tiny amount of in-store shopping.

Amazon’s presence would likely make smaller mall store owners bristle, but they might not have much choice. The internet giant could provide a regular source of rent and keep malls alive. There would certainly be plenty of irony — the very force destroying malls might represent the best chance at keeping them intact.

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