Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has announced plans to expand and revamp its retail chain, aiming to deepen its presence in China and other parts of Asia while transforming established locations in the US and Europe. The tech giant is in discussions to open 15 new stores across the Asia-Pacific region, five locations in Europe and the Middle East, and four additional outlets in the US and Canada by 2027.
The company is also planning to renovate or relocate six stores in Asia, nine in Europe, and 13 in North America. In total, Apple proposes to introduce 53 new, relocated, or remodeled stores over the next four years. The expansion aims to enhance Apple’s brand in emerging markets like India. It also seeks to improve the customer experience in the US and Europe.
Notable new stores under consideration include three sites in India and the company’s first store in Malaysia. In addition, there are plans for an upgrade to the historic Apple location in the Opera shopping area of Paris. Apple is also preparing to open a store at the Battersea Power Station in London, adjacent to its new local headquarters, and planning another location in Miami. A flagship store is slated for the Jing’an Temple Plaza in Shanghai.
While some locations and timelines are still subject to internal projections and proposals, many of the stores are already in development. Apple has secured leases with landowners to move forward with these plans.
Apple currently operates over 520 stores in 26 countries, with approximately half of them located in the US. Although the stores are renowned for their profitability per square footage, their primary purpose is to build Apple’s brand rather than drive sales. Most of the company’s revenue comes from other channels, including its e-commerce site. However, physical stores play a crucial role as a hub for customers to purchase products on release days, receive technical support, and attend classes.
Deirdre O’Brien, one of Apple’s longest-serving executives, oversees the company’s retail operations. She assumed the role from Angela Ahrendts in 2019. The construction and maintenance of the stores are managed by Kristina Raspe, Apple’s executive in charge of global real estate and facilities. This group reports to the company’s chief financial officer.
Apple categorizes its retail outlets into four types: standard stores located in indoor malls, “Apple Store+” locations in outdoor malls or city streets, flagship stores in prominent areas with unique designs, and flagship+ stores, which are the largest and most expensive to operate. Regular stores generate over $40 million in annual revenue, while Apple Store+ locations bring in more than $45 million. Flagships generate over $75 million, and flagship+ sites surpass $100 million annually, according to internal data.
The main focus of Apple’s expansion is the Asia-Pacific region, where it plans to introduce 21 new or revamped stores by 2027. This market accounted for approximately $130 billion of Apple’s revenue last year, about a third of its total. Countries like India have become vital growth engines for the company, which opened its first two stores in India in April.
In the coming months, Apple intends to open a new mall store in Wenzhou, China, upgrade its Nanjing East flagship in Shanghai, and add two new outlets in South Korea, increasing its presence to seven stores in the country. The company recently opened its Gangnam store in Seoul and its Myeongdong location a year ago.
In the coming year, Apple intends to establish its inaugural store in Malaysia, specifically in Kuala Lumpur. In addition, Apple is looking forward to opening a new store at the Jing An Temple Plaza in Shanghai, China, and renovating its existing Pudong site in the same city. There are also discussions about the possibility of Apple’s first outpost in Foshan, China. Furthermore, Apple is preparing to launch a new store at the Grand Front Plaza Mall in Osaka, Japan, and upgrade its Shinsaibashi location in the region with a remodel.
Despite the strained relations between the United States and China, Apple continues to rely heavily on the Asian nation. China serves as a crucial manufacturing partner for Apple’s products and a significant market for its goods. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, expressed his appreciation for this mutually beneficial relationship during his visit to China earlier this year, emphasizing its symbiotic nature. The company’s expansion in the retail sector further demonstrates Apple’s strong commitment to the Chinese market.
Looking ahead to 2025, Apple is considering opening its third store in India, potentially in the Borivali suburb of Mumbai. The company also plans to relocate its site in Perth, Australia, and open four new stores in China, including a remodel of its Ginza shop in Japan.
The following year, in 2026, Apple aims to open its fourth store in India, this time in New Delhi’s DLF Promenade Mall. It will also establish a new store in Yokohama, Japan, and relocate one to Shibuya Marui, Japan. In 2027, the company targets the opening of its fifth Indian store in Mumbai’s seaside Worli area.
In Europe, Apple has plans to open its highly anticipated Battersea store in London this month. The company is also preparing to launch a new store at Madrid’s La Vaguada shopping center and relocate its Milton Keynes store in the United Kingdom. Europe contributed over $95 billion in revenue for Apple last year, roughly a quarter of its sales, with the UK serving as Apple’s third-largest retail market.
The stores earmarked for renovation or relocation are primarily older or outdated locations, often smaller than newer stores and lacking certain features such as product pickup areas or seating for classes. Apple’s design aesthetic has also evolved over time, transitioning from metal walls and accents to wooden shelves.
In addition to physical upgrades, Apple is focusing on improving the overall customer experience in its stores. Recent years have seen a rise in customer and employee complaints, leading to a decline in the brand’s cachet. Apple is also contending with unionization efforts both in the United States and internationally.
The company also plans to revamp or relocate stores in the UK, France, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates.
In North America, Apple’s retail plans primarily involve revamping existing operations rather than expanding into new cities. The company will commence with the revamp of the Tice’s Corner store in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, next month. This store, which opened in 2001, is the last remaining Apple store with the original black front. Apple also plans to relocate three other US stores and one store in Canada during the remainder of 2023.
For the following year, Apple is considering several new US locations, including a mall store in Torrance, Southern California, and a large new store at the Worldcenter development in Miami. The company is also discussing the possibility of opening a major store in Detroit and relocating a store in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Apple is preparing to establish a store at the Birkdale Village Mall in North Carolina, replacing a Charlotte location that closed abruptly in March due to shootings in the area. Additionally, the company is eyeing five other store relocations in the US for 2024.
In 2025, Apple proposes opening its second store in Kansas, a large store in Wichita and plans three other US relocations. There are also discussions about moving the Sainte-Catherine Street store in Montreal.