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Apple Store Is Coming To India

  • Apple Stores will debut in India in partnership with Croma

  • Croma will host Apple at six of its locations as a pilot

  • Apple owns more than 460 stores in 17 countries — more than half in the US

The Apple Store is coming to India — or at least a few Apple Storescounters are, along with those signature wooden tables. They will be debuting in India in partnership with Tata-owned consumer electronics chain Croma, which will host Apple at six of its locations as a pilot.

“We are proud to partner Apple to launch the Apple Store in India and extremely bullish about it,” said Avijit Mitra, chief executive officer of Infiniti Retail, which owns Croma. “These stores will be modeled on the global design and will offer the best experience to consumers, showcasing the entire range of Apple products.”

The Apple space will be 400-500 square feet in area and will be set up at five Croma stores in Mumbai — Malad, Juhu, Oberoi Mall, Phoenix Mall and Ghatkopar. In Bengaluru, this will be at Croma in Jayanagar. They are set to open by Diwali next month.

The store design, furniture, fixtures and lighting will the same as that used in Apple stores globally and the sales staff will also be trained by the company. In India, Apple sells through premium resellers who run exclusive brand stores under the franchise model. Devices are also available at multi-brand mobile and consumer electronics retail chains and some of the larger neighborhood phone stores.

Apple hasn’t been able to set up its own stores because of mandatory local-sourcing norms for single-brand foreign direct investment in retail, it is said. Going the Croma route gives Apple the opportunity to control the consumer experience without jumping through the bureaucratic hoops.

To be sure, this could also be a precursor for a possibly stronger retail presence.

CEO Tim Cook is said to have suggested an easing of the sourcing rules when he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the US recently, according to two persons with knowledge of this. Croma said it has 97 stores across the country with 3.8 million customers. Apple owns more than 460 stores in 17 countries — more than half in the US. The company has significantly increased its retail presence in the country in the past year with five distributors as India has become one of the fastest-growing markets for Apple.

It’s also accelerated the launch of new phones. Sales of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will start on October 16, just three weeks after the US. It also plans to launch Apple Watch in India by Diwali.

Apple sold 1.7 million iPhones in India between October 2014 and September 2015, the company’s financial year, compared with 1.1 million units in the year-earlier period, according to market tracker Counter-Point Research.

Filed in: News

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