Amazon has denied reports that it has embarked on a "secret search for bricks-and-mortar stores" in the U.K., in what was thought to be a move to pick up on customer demand for "click and collect" services.

The original report, which appeared in the Sunday Times over the weekend (Dec. 6), claimed the e-tail giant was "scouring the country for high-profile sites just as the Borders book chain is shutting up shop."

But the Press Association is today (Dec. 7) reporting a denial from the firm. An Amazon spokesman was reported as saying: "We have no plans to open physical stores anywhere in the world."

Previously, U.S.-based analysts have argued having physical stores could give Barnes & Noble an advantage over Amazon in the e-reader wars, as it allows consumers to use the device, and read books onsite for free using WiFi.

However, the Sunday Times suggested Amazon's focus with these stores would be larger goods that are typically difficult to deliver.

The source was quoted as saying: "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."