Apple retail is moving in a new direction

“Apple’s new Senior Vice President of Retail and Operations, Angela Ahrendts, recently attended the opening of Apple’s new London store,” Mark Reschke writes for TGAAP. “Ahrendts was in Omotesando, Japan to unveil another large-scale, two floor Apple retail storefront yesterday. While much of the media focus has been on Ahrendts herself — and the amazing retail glass architectural wonders Apple continues to erect — it is Apple’s direction for retail outlets that merits investigation.”

“On the international stage Apple is loudly promoting its large, standalone retail stores,” Reschke writes. “However, in the U.S., Apple is very quietly moving into ever larger spaces.”

“In 2003, 13.9 million people visited an Apple store. Today, Apple has 425 retail locations, and sees over 425 million customers annually. The original sizes of Apple’s mall stores are no longer able to handle the ever-growing traffic the company is creates with its constant flow of never ending products. Apple’s mall storefronts also struggle mightily in being able to adequately service customers due to the massive amount of foot traffic. The majority of Apple’s retail stores no longer represent the open, friendly vision Jobs brought to market. Rather, the stores are now cramped, loud and physically difficult to navigate,” Reschke writes. “Apple’s waiting for long-term mall location leases to expire isn’t a strategy Apple can control or leverage as they grow. The result is Apple retail is moving in a new direction, building more of its own stand-alone storefronts.”

Read more in the full article here.

12 Comments

  1. Having been in a few of Apple’s stand alone stores (New York, San Francisco, Scottsdale) more than once, outside of the fact they are larger… there isn’t much difference in this customer’s experience.

    1. If Apple opens up the reach of the product line, having more room in the Apple Store gives the opportunity of stores in side of stores. Small islands where 3rd party companies could sell the health or home iOS device compatible products and services. Like a Honeywell section or booth.

  2. I don’t quite get the logic.

    Apple keeps on outgrowing the buildings it leases, but it somehow makes sense to purchase buildings, that are highly customized with design patents that nobody else can utilize if Apple outgrows them. What happens when Apple outgrows these buildings.

    Wouldn’t short term leases with negotiations in place for future growth make sense.

  3. Seems that “multi-level” Apple stores are opening up more and more and will need that room for high value 3rd party accessories.

    I can see the need for twice the space Apple currently has in its Fashion Island Store in Newport Beach. It must be at least 5000 square feet just for the retail consumer area.

  4. The older stores were great at displaying Apple products. Apple has since moved on.

    If the 2014 WWDC is any indicator, Apple’s buildout of infrastructure and support services could easily lead to the need to showcase third-party initiatives that take advantage of the possibilities.

    This is heady stuff, perhaps the start of a whole new chapter in ubiquitous computing. I’m not sure Samsung/other me-too competitors can deal with this market reality.

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