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23andMe Hits the Mall Ahead of the Holiday DNA-Testing Rush

The DNA-testing company plans to open a holiday pop-store at a Westfield mall in California.

(Bloomberg)—Mall shoppers could soon be able to learn more about their genes while they pick up some new jeans.

23andMe Inc. opened a holiday-season pop-up store last week at the Westfield Valley Fair mall in Santa Clara, California, where customers can buy one of the company’s DNA-testing kits and learn more about how they work and what they might reveal.

The pop-up could be merely the first 23andMe store, Chief Executive Officer Anne Wojcicki told Bloomberg last week during a visit to the space. If the experiment is successful, the company could replicate it elsewhere.

“In the future, I think that there’s all kinds of in-person experiences that would be valuable to customers,” she said. “We’ll see what the experience is like.”

At-home genetic tests have been popular holiday gifts for the past few years, as more people decide to investigate their family history by sending a saliva sample off to companies like 23andMe for analysis. 23andMe says that it’s sold more than 10 million of its kits, which retail for as much as $199, since its founding 2006.

The temporary shop opened on Oct. 1 and will remain through January. It’s located next to the mall’s Apple Store — prime real estate to attract tech-savvy shoppers curious about their genome.

“I want to know what my customers think, and this is a great way of doing it,” said Wojcicki. “What are people thinking about? What are they worried about? What are they excited about? Where does it go from here?”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristen V. Brown in San Francisco at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Drew Armstrong at [email protected]

Timothy Annett

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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