Amazon considering UK retail stores?

In our review of the Barnes & Noble nook earlier, we pointed to the US retailer's network of physical stores as a key advantage over the Kindle; it looks like Amazon aren't content for that to be the case.  According to a Times report this weekend, Amazon are eyeing up various "high-profile sites" around the UK, believed to be intended as local pick-up points for the larger items the retailer sells.

"When Amazon was just selling books and CDs that fitted easily through the letterbox it was fine to be a web-only business, but now it has branched out into everything from children's bikes to electricals it believes it could boost sales by having stores that offer a collection point for shoppers. It will probably be an Argos-style operation." Unnamed Times source "familiar" with the proposals

The Argos comparison refers to a long-running catalog based highstreet retailer, which allows customers to purchase items online but then collect them in-store rather than have them delivered.  Argos has claimed that 18-percent of its internet sales are collected in this manner, presumably by customers unwilling or unable to wait at home or in the office for a delivery to take place.

So, not so much a cosy coffee shop with bookshelves and places to recharge your Kindle, but a convenient depot for Amazon's larger goods.  Both highstreet and out-of-town locations are believed to be on the consideration list, although Amazon UK have declined to comment on the speculation.