Apple India facing retail frustrations

Even as it is scouting for locations, Apple India may not be able to open its own store before 2020.

Industry insiders say the US tech giant wants to initially set up two stores, in prime mall or high-street locations in New Delhi and Mumbai.

While it wants the stores to be iconic from design to location, prime sites covering the required 10,000 to 15,000 sqft (929 to 1393.5 sqm) are not readily available (the brand’s average global store size is 8500 sqft). Its outlets would be the biggest single-brand electronics stores in India.

However, Apple is yet to receive government approval for its retail foreign direct investment (FDI) plans, which involve assembling iPhone handsets in India with partner Wistron. Local production is a prerequisite to the brand being able to open its own stores.

A team from Apple’s retail store business visited India last month to meet realtors and mall managers, inspect potential sites and gain an understanding of the retail market.

An Apple India spokesperson says the company has nothing to announce about its retail store plans. It is meanwhile selling through franchised exclusive brand stores, multi­brand and neighbourhood stores, and e-commerce marketplaces

Apple is looking at 4­5 flagship outlets in India over five to ­10 years.

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