Apple is planning to open in-house stores in UK computer retail outlets in an effort to build upon the success of its “stores within stores” concept in the US.
In branches of the US retail chain CompUSA, an area is specially branded and dedicated to Apple hardware and software and staff trained to explain the benefits of Apple products.
Jeff Martin, senior director of worldwide design and publishing at Apple Computer headquarters in Cupertino, California, says: “We are looking for partners who are advocates of Apple.”
The move is being considered as part of a new European consumer strategy, scheduled for later in the year. This includes the launch of a range of new competitively-priced products.
Martin says: “It [the launch] will be worldwide sometime this year and will address the education and consumer markets.”
In the US, Apple set up its “store within stores” around its current Think Different ad campaign.
The campaign broke in the UK two weeks ago (MW January 22) with a TV ad featuring famous personalities such as Mohammad Ali, Pablo Picasso and Bob Dylan.
According to Apple, in the 57 branches of CompUSA where it has a “store within a store”, Macintosh sales accounted for 14 per cent of total sales in December 1997, up from three per cent in October.
The company hopes that the concept will also improve sales of its computer games by giving them a retail presence.