Apple plans multiple ‘flagship’ stores in India to drive new retail strategy


As Apple continues its struggle to establish a broader retail presence in India, the company may soon establish several large “flagship outlets” to supplement the slowdown in sales, according to a new report from The economic period.

India has long been an important and untapped growth market for Apple, even as sales continue to decline. Last month, it was suggested that Apple only controls 1% of the smartphone market share in the country. The slow sales were partly blamed on unaffordable and fluctuating iPhone prices, often set arbitrarily by Indian wholesalers.

A recent report from Bloomberg outlined Apple’s challenges in detail, noting that plans were in place to establish three official retail stores in India from next year. Located in New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai, the stores would be an important part of a rapid turnaround strategy.

While these plans materialize, Apple could establish 5 to 6 “flagship” outlets in major cities and malls across the country as a second step. With footprints of up to 5,000 square feet, outlets would drastically eclipse Apple Premium Resellers which currently measure up to 1500 square feet. According to a dealer speaking to The economic period, these large factory outlets could open in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai first. Later additions may include stores in Hyderabad and Pune.

Apple is currently banned from opening official retail outlets in India due to government regulations stipulating that 30% of products sold must be made locally. Despite reports dating back to 2016 suggesting a resolution to the dispute was imminent, a formal agreement has yet to be reached. Last year, Chinese manufacturer Oppo got approval to start selling its phones in the country.

The situation was further complicated after Apple lost three key executives in India. Recent recruit Michel Coulomb, head of Indian operations, is said to be at the forefront of recent retail efforts. Apple is also in the midst of a fight with the India Telecom Regulatory Authority, a group that threatens to ban iPhones from carrier networks if Apple continues to resist a government-mandated anti-spam app.

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