Sources within the Harrods company have confirmed Apple are planning to open a store-in-store (SIS) within London’s iconic department store, Harrods, 9to5Mac reports.
With over 1 million square feet of selling space, a valuation of over £635 million and over 330 departments, Harrods would provide the perfect setting for an Apple Store. Over the 5 acres Harrods covers, an estimated £10 billion in sales have taken place since its founding in 1834.
Apple have an aptitude for accumulating prime retail space worldwide, with stores in Grand Central station, New York’s Fifth Avenue, London’s Covent Garden, the Louvre in Paris as well as the 40-foot curved glass facade of the now iconic Beijing store. From that, Harrods seems an obvious choice to continue the trend.
This won’t of course be the first time Apple have chosen to sell their products elsewhere. Apple offer store-in-stores in Target and Best Buy in the U.S. as well as in John Lewis in the UK. But this store will be more akin to the size of a standard Apple Store, with the normal wooden tables and signage, but will lack the ‘Genius Bar’. The sources from within Harrods claim that Apple have omitted this feature to preserve the exclusivity of its own Apple Stores. Apple would evidently prefer that customers in need of technical support wander through the door of a certified Apple Store rather than trudge up flights of stairs in a huge department store. Whilst not being a typical Apple Store, at least it will be free of spoilt fanboys screaming that their precious iProduct has stopped working.
Harrods is the largest single retailer in Europe, with a reputation for not only luxury goods appealing to the rich of London, but also for tourists wishing to visit the long-standing retailer. Whether they’ll also want to pick up a new iPhone, iPad or MacBook Air remains however to be seen.
Harrods already have a small store-in-store (SIS) in one of their 330 departments, but only of the scale seen before. On the same floor, large sections of retail space have been covered up awaiting ‘restoration’, but this could have been a plan in the works for some time. For Apple to remain as and advertise themselves as both a practical and luxury brand, they must advertise themselves in shops like Harrods. With the recent surge of Android devices, Apple aren’t short of competition, and their space at the top could be filled by Google if 2012 doesn’t see some amazing innovations; namely the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010.
Following the late Steve Jobs’ vision has worked so far, and is likely to continue to work. Apple have a knack for destroying the competition, holding the hallmark of class and creating new markets for products we didn’t even know we needed, but cannot now live without.