Apple has announced the roll-out of 25 direct retail stores in the United States to be completed by the end of 2001. The first two stores will open on the 19th May in McLean, Virginia and Glendale, California.
Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs released a statement suggesting customers at the new retail stores will be provided with an experience' of Apple computing rather than be swamped with technical detail. The stores will include "solution sections" for grouping products to user profiles, a "genius bar" for on-site technical help, a selection of relevant software and peripherals, and a ten-foot screen displaying Apple technology. The stores will carry Apple's entire range as well as third-party software titles for Apple products.
Apple Australia spokesperson Myrna Van Pelt said Apple Australia was "committed to its current channel strategy" but is also "continuing to review it's channel strategy". She was not prepared to comment on whether similar direct stores would be opened in Australia.
When asked whether a "Commitment to the current channel strategy" involved a commitment to Apple resellers, Van Pelt side-stepped the question.
"I cannot comment on how this US announcement will manifest itself on the local market," Van Pelt said.
Apple's channel strategy has been under scrutiny of late, with the appointment of administrators to its merged reseller group Buzzle. Speculation over a direct retail strategy at Apple has been circulating for many months and the announcement from the US referred to global markets, so the US announcement confirms a worrying trend for Apple resellers.