Following years of closely protected distribution, Apple Australia has opened its doors to mainstream retailers and welcomed boom Victorian retailer Clive Peeters Electrical Superstores to its exclusive channel.
Don Sparks, computer products manager at Clive Peeters, said after long negotiations it has now launched iMac displays in its Braybrook, Dandenong and Ringwood stores in Melbourne. He claimed that eventually these would be expanded into full Apple retail locations.
"All our staff have been trained and we will expand the scope of Apple hardware, accessories and third-party software as we come to grips with the full range of products and services we can adequately handle."
While it is not quite a return to mass merchants, huge consumer success with iMac personal computers has prompted Apple Australia to adopt a "strategy to ramp up the presence and retail access to our products", according to corporate affairs manager Myrna Van Pelt.
Van Pelt said Clive Peeters is capable of delivering the high standard of customer support Apple demands of its resellers. Apple Centres remain the company's "flagship", she said, adding Clive Peeters simply extends "geographical reach", as its stores were "outside the footprint of our current resellers".
"[Clive Peeters] has won a number of awards for exemplary customer service which is a perfect fit with the way we require channels to deal with customers. Recognising their superior service allows us to guarantee the quality of the customer support," Van Pelt said.
"There is a need for us to expand our retail channel and we believe this is a positive step which complements our existing channels."
Sparks said adding Apple to its broad range "grows the computer market for Clive Peeters", a category which has been a major growth driver for the company which is incubating plans to open two more stores.
"We have always looked to sell premium products and Apple falls clearly into that category," he said.