(BLOOMBERG) – Apple will add to its global retail presence even as stores in inner cities struggle with an accelerating shift to sales online during the coronavirus pandemic, Germany’s Funke Mediengruppe reported.
The Cupertino, California-based company operates about 500 Apple stores globally, including 100 in Europe.
Retail locations offer an opportunity for people to experience new technology, ask questions and attend workshops on Apple’s products, Funke said, citing Deirdre O’Brien, the iPhone maker’s senior vice-president of retail and people.
“On our online site people can learn a lot about the products; in a store they can touch them and get a feel for them,” she told Funke. “We intend to add more stores.”
The pandemic has exacerbated the pressure on many retailers already struggling to manage both costly inner-city store locations and the growing shift online.
A number of large retailers have either buckled under the strain or are cutting store locations. The UK’s Arcadia Group, owner of fashion chain Topshop, collapsed in November while competitor John Lewis Partnership closed a number of outlets.
Apple this year announced it would invest about 1 billion euros (S$1.6 billion) in Munich to build a centre for computer chip design. The company will “undoubtedly” add to this, Ms O’Brien said.