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Two stories this morning about how Amazon seems to be deepening its relationships on two continents with a pair of bricks-and-mortar retailers:

USA Today reports that the Kohl’s department store chain will begin accepting Amazon returns at all its stores, starting in July, expanding a program that began in select locations about two years ago.

Items will be accepted for return “regardless of the reason and whether the items are packaged or not for shipping,” the story says.

The story suggests that “Kohl's is seeking to enhance its appeal to customers as traditional retailers struggle to compete with online retailers and shoppers seek more personalized and direct-to-their-door experiences.” Or, to put it another way, if it can’t beat Amazon, it might as well join it.

"This unique partnership combines Kohl’s strong nationwide store footprint and omnichannel capabilities with Amazon’s reach and customer loyalty," says Michelle Gass, Kohl’s CEO. "This new service is another example of how Kohl’s is delivering innovation to drive traffic to our stores and bring more relevance to our customers.”

It was just a month ago that Kohl’s announced “that it is deepening its product relationship with Amazon by carrying Amazon products in more than 200 stores and that it would be shrinking the size of some of its stores.”

CNBC reports that “e-commerce giant Amazon and French retailer Casino are expanding their partnership, with Amazon installing pick-up lockers in Casino stores and more of the French company’s products to be available on Amazon. The move, which follows an initial co-operation between Casino’s upmarket Monoprix supermarket chain and Amazon in Paris, could re-ignite speculation of a bigger deal later on.”

The story notes that “France is Amazon’s third largest market in Europe, after Britain and Germany. Amazon is the e-commerce leader in France with a market share of 17.3 percent, but its grocery market share stands at just 2 percent, according to Kantar data.”
KC's View:
All of which makes perfect sense, and opens the door to other alliances that will deepen and strengthen Amazon’s ecosystem.