Apple VARs bite back over W1 retail plans

Apple VARs bite back over W1 retail plans

Apple resellers furious as vendor plans to open store less than a mile from their premises

Apple dealers have vented their fury at the vendor’s reported plans to open a colossal retail outlet in the heart of Covent Garden.

According to the Estates Gazette, Apple is in advanced negotiations to open a 25,000sq ft store in the famous market, which stands less than a mile from two Apple Premium Resellers (APRs) ­ Albion Computers and Square Group.

Darren King, managing director at New Oxford Street-based Square, said: “Our retail business halved overnight when Apple opened up on Regent Street and has never got going since.

“Apple will not confirm whether or not the reports on Covent Garden are true. It would decimate our remaining retail business and we would have to consider whether or not to keep the store running.”

Howard Cole, managing director at Albion, based in the Strand, said: “We opened this store 16 months ago with Apple’s full blessing. We have made a significant investment from a retail standpoint, so if this does go ahead we will not be pleased.”

Cole accused Apple’s direct arm, which is based in the US, and its Europe-based channel team, of lacking a coherent strategy for coverage.

The news comes a month after Scottish APR Scotsys was forced to close its Glasgow office following Apple’s arrival in the city last year.

Graham Buknell, director of Scotsys, said Apple’s lack of openness was undermining its plans to have an APR in every UK town or city with a population of more than 100,000.

“Apple is asking us to expand into other towns but we do not know whether it will open something bigger and shinier down the road. There is a disincentive for people to open APRs, which cannot be good for the Apple market,” he said.