Cupertino-based Apple Inc will launch more large-format franchisee stores in India to capitalise on the turnaround the company is seeing in the domestic market.
On Wednesday, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook had said that India had bounced back in terms of financial performance in the June quarter, reporting double-digit revenue growth over the previous year. iPhone shipments alone in India had grown 19 per cent in the June quarter despite a 11 per cent drop globally. Apple follows an October-September accounting year.
The tech giant unveiled its first large-format franchisee store in Mumbai on Friday along with retail partner Aptronix. It is expected to launch more such outlets, targeting cities such as Bengaluru and Delhi, industry sources said, tying up with its retail partners to execute it.
The move also comes as Apple awaits clarity on local sourcing norms for single-brand retail. Last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the 30 per cent local sourcing rules in single-brand retail would be relaxed.
Apple has been looking to launch company-owned stores in India for a few years now, but the 30 per cent local sourcing norms have been an impediment, people in the know said. Tying up with its retail partners for large-format stores in the country is being seen as a middle path the company has worked out, informed sources said.
Aptronix is among 10-12 retail partners that Apple works within India, running Apple Premium Reseller (APR) and mono stores in the south and west of the country. APR is a global retail format pushed by Apple where stores (run by franchisees) are in the region of 1,500-2,000 sq ft. Mono stores, on the other hand, are smaller in size at roughly 600 sq ft.
“The large-format store we are launching in central Mumbai (at High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel) will be 8,000 sq ft and spread across two levels,” said Sutinder Singh, founder and managing director of Aptronix. “This is the largest APR so far in India and we will try and see if we can launch more such in the south and west (of the country),” he said.
Aptronix already runs 35 APR and mono stores in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. Mumbai alone has four APRs run by Aptronix, Singh said. “The Lower Parel store could act as a magnet for Apple buffs in the city, given that we have the experience centre at the ground level and the service centre at the upper level,” he said.
Typically, Apple stores across the world are large and are positioned as architectural marvels in the places they are located in a bid to draw customers to it. Some of the top Apple stores in the world are in New York, Tokyo, Dubai, Shanghai, London, and Paris.