Apple to open first European store as sales focus shifts

Apple Computer is to open its first own-branded bricks-and-mortar store in London’s Regent Street this autumn. The 20,000 sq ft flagship store will be the first Apple-owned retail outlet in Europe.

It is likely to be followed by another Apple Store in Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre.

Apple has opened more than 80 stores in the US and outlets in Japan. The retail programme is a development from its strategy of focusing on online sales, adopted in the late Nineties.

It is rumoured that Apple is also looking at opening a series of smaller, “mini” stores for its simplest, most portable products.

The UK stores are likely to follow the US format, with a “Genius Bar” where consumers can get technical assistance. There will also be a music section to promote Apple’s iTunes music download service and its iPod digital music player, sales of which now outnumber its computers.

In the UK, Apple distributes its products through its online store and Apple Centre concessions. But recently it has adopted more of high street presence following agreements to sell its products through retailers such as Dixons and PC World. It has also done a deal with Boots to sell the iPod.

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