Brick-and-mortar retail stores are suffering—but not at Apple, where retail is thriving.
Closing in on 500 stores globally, the company has announced plans to launch dozens of new educational sessions next month in all 495 stores in 18 countries, stepping up its free workshops to create more reasons to visit and engage with its stores. It also just opened its newest store in Dubai last weekend, and plans to open another next month in Singapore—its first in Southeast Asia, according to CNBC.
We’re getting ready for our newest store in UAE by celebrating local artists and entrepreneurs. Excited for Apple Dubai Mall! pic.twitter.com/SIT4FeDr1x
— Angela Ahrendts (@AngelaAhrendts) April 4, 2017
The Dubai store opened featuring a 186-foot curved storefront and balcony overlooking Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain, which offers what Apple called “spectacular evening fountain shows” at the city’s epicenter. Events at the store on opening day included Live Art with Myneandyours, and Artist Duos with musician Hamdan Al Abri and artist Sultan Al Rahmahi.
In keeping with the brand’s sustainability commitment, one innovative feature of the Dubai store (designed by Sir Norman Foster’s Foster + Partners) is the integration of 18 motorized “solar wings” — 37.5-foot-high each — that respond to how the sun heats and cools the atmosphere throughout the day.
“They cool the store when the sun is at its hottest, and in the evenings they open to welcome everyone to the public terrace,” Apple said. Each wing is locally fabricated from 340 carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer rods and collectively make up one of the world’s largest kinetic-art installations, Apple said.
Overall for Apple, in the most recent quarter, while sales of iPhones lagged, “Our retail and online stores produced great results, with strong revenue growth in all our geographic segments and 18 percent growth overall,” Apple executive Luca Maestri told investment analysts in a conference call. “Visitors to our retail and online stores were up 16 percent over last year, and we added four new stores during the March quarter.”
In particular in China, Apple sales online and in stores grew by 21 percent, an acceleration from the previous quarter. Seven of the company’s top ten highest-traffic stores in the world are in Greater China. “And traffic—which for us is incredibly important in retail stores because we do a lot more than sell—was up 27 percent year-on-year,” CEO Tim Cook told analysts.
When it comes to doing “a lot more” than selling in its retail stores, Cook and company are rolling out an entire menu of new experiences that will add to the magnetic draw that most Apple stores provide in their communities.
A huge thank you to everyone helping to bring Today at Apple to our customers next month!https://t.co/OiXdhZ4pXf
— Angela Ahrendts (@AngelaAhrendts) April 25, 2017
Collectively called “Today at Apple,” these hands-on sessions will include topics such as photography, video, music, coding, art and design. They will be led by “highly trained team members, and in select cities world-class artists, photographers and musicians, teaching sessions from basics and how-to lessons to professional-level programs.”
“Today at Apple” is part of the brand’s drive to create “a modern-day town square, where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together to connect with one another, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, in a press release. “At the heart of every Apple store is the desire to educate and inspire the communities we serve.”