Apple last week unveiled its largest travel retail stores in Dubai, just in time to cash in on the expected summer vacation rush at the airports.
On June 14, Dubai Duty Free (DDF) officially opened two Apple store programmes at Dubai International T3, with the stores representing the largest Apple experience in travel retail.
According to DDF, the 86sqm and 70sqm units are located close to gates B15 and A12, respectively.
DDF sold close to 50,000 iPhones and iPads in 2015 (38,057 iPhones and 10,657 iPads), and the world’s largest retailer in terms of sales announced sales of Dh6.892 billion ($1.888 billion) for 2015.
The retailer’s iPhone sales made up for almost 30 per cent of its overall mobile phones sales while iPads accounted for almost 35 per cent of all tablet PCs sold by Dubai Duty Free in 2015.
Two big dedicated stores, therefore, make perfect sense for DDF, with the retailer saying it believes Apple brand’s sales could contribute as much as Dh220m ($61m) in sales by the end of this year, according to Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO.
“With the Apple shop programme in Concourse B being the largest in any travel retail in the world, this is a very exciting development for Dubai Duty Free and our customers,” said McLoughlin.
“They will enjoy the design, layout and products, along with a first-class customer experience and product knowledge,” he said, adding that the brand’s stores will be manned by Apple-trained employees.
In the first three months of 2016, DDF sold another 11,000 units of Apple devices (8,951 iPhones and 2,071 iPads) while the brand’s new stores will also house Apple TV, Apple watch, the MacBook range as well as accessories.
In October last year, Apple opened its first two stores in the UAE – one in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates while the other in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall.
“Between the two stores, there will be 150 employees who speak 40 different languages and come from 30 different nationalities,” Wendy Beckman, Apple’s Head of Retail – Europe and Middle East, had then said.
The opening of the Dubai and Abu Dhabi stores on the same day last year marked the first time Apple opened two stores in the same country outside the US on the same day.
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, had confirmed his company’s intentions to expand its presence in the UAE during his visit last month.