The Apple Store ‘geniuses’ are not just there to sell you an iPad or tweak or iPod. No, according to a retail executive, Apple’s retail staff “look into the heart, not the pocket book” of customers. Ron Johnson, senior vice-president of retail for the Cupertino, Calif. firm, views the growing number of brick-and-more stores in almost mystical terms.
Speaking with Retail Week, Johnson said Apple’s Regent Street location “is our highest traffic store in the world.” Apple’s new Covent Garden store in London is much more than a store. “We’ve created a place for people to be,” Johnson said.
Apple recently reported a 31 percent jump in UK retail sales to around $894 million. Already with 27 UK stores, the iPhone maker announced plans to open five more locations. Earlier this year, UK consumers ranked the iPhone as No. 8 in a list of the 100 most important inventions. In further signs of Apple growing dominance, in 2009 Apple had greater customer approval than PC World, the largest High Street PC retailer. Perhaps noticing the trend, cell phone giant Nokia closed its Regent Street flagship store.
Most recently, Apple retailers have begun to break out of the consumer-only image. The iPad maker has launched plans to attract more small business clients.