Is Amazon prepping the U.K. for a British retail chain invasion? Possibly, says a report in the Times today.

Indeed, says the source, as part of a move that goes against the shrinking retail space, Amazon would open a number of branded retail stores there, and soon.

It's not entirely crazy. As we reported earlier this year, Amazon has already jumped headfirst into the peripherals market with a line of low-cost branded merch called AmazonBasics.

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Now there's allegedly a secret land grab going on behind closed doors to stock some of that merchandise. The sites are described as "high profile," possibly in locations recently vacated by the Borders book chain. [Times Online]