Consumers will soon be able to take a bite out of Apple’s extensive product range at Apple retail outlets across the Middle East. Arab Business Machines (ABM), Apple’s exclusive distributor in the region, plans to launch a series of standalone Apple stores and develop store-in-store outlets. Referred to as Apple centres, ABM is confident that the retail drive will be a success.
“Apple centres have proven to be a success all over the world, and what we aim to do is replicate that success here,” explained Elias Abou-Rustom, general manager at ABM. “The whole concept is for customers to have a one-stop-shop where they will find a full range of Apple products from A-to-Z and can savour the Apple experience with trained experts on hand to answer any queries.”
ABM is planning a series of retail outlets for the Middle East’s major cities during 2005. The first Apple centre went live in Riyadh in October 2004. Kuwait’s very own Apple centre is poised to open its doors in late January 2005 with Cairo and Dubai scheduled to follow suit in February. Beirut customers are promised an Apple centre of their own sometime during Spring 2005.
“The centres will be modeled along the lines of Apple’s famous European outlets,” explained Abou-Rustom. “You will be able to test high-end machines, see the iPods and Mac minis and learn about Apple’s culture and technology. This hasn’t been the case before in the region. I have never seen such tremendous curiosity for Apple technology, as I do now, and it seems the perfect time to push the Apple centres.”
ABM also plans to drive home its Apple message through store-in-store launches across the region. This concept involves the establishment of a dedicated Apple concession within larger retail premises. “We started with this concept and it was received very well by the public,” said Abou-Rustom. “You will see more store-in-store concepts during this year as we expand it to include more generalist and electronic retail names.”
Abou-Rustom believes new products such as the Mac mini and the iPod shuffle will create even more buzz around the Apple brand. “We are getting so many telephone calls from PC users curious about the Mac mini after their experience with the iPod. We place orders for new Apple products just after their launch and expect to see them arrive here soon,” he concluded.
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