Fuel has been added to the long-rumored-but-never-confirmed story/rumor/speculation that Apple will open its own chain of retail stores. A report by
Shopping Centers Today, a publication of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), said that Apple is about to roll out a chain of stores that will sell its own brand of computer equipment.
The company is keeping mum on the plan, but Apple stores are set to open in centers across the country, mall executives report, according to Shopping Centers today.
“They’re opening lots of them around the country now,” Terry McEwen, president of Memphis-based Poag & McEwen Lifestyle Centers, is quoted as saying.
In fact, McEwen’s company will purportedly have a 6,200-square-foot Apple store in the lifestyle center it plans to open in Littleton, Colo. in November. Poag is developing the 60-store lifestyle center, called Aspen Grove, with Cleveland-based Developers Diversified Realty Corp. Executives of one large New York City area mall say they are also close to signing a deal with Apple, according to Shopping Centers today.
The story added that Apple has hired executives from several prominent retailers, including George W. Blankenship, formerly vice president of real estate for Gap, and Ron Johnson, formerly merchandising director at Target, to execute the plan. In May, 1999, Gap Inc.’s president and CEO, Millard Drexler, joined Apple’s board of directors.
Apple, naturally, hasn’t commented on the talk of retail stores. At a Jan. 31 meeting for financial analysts, CEO Steve Jobs was asked about such a strategy and would only say the company didn’t talk about “unannounced initiatives.” Also, see our
Jan. 25 editorial
for some thoughts on the matter.