Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Big Apple Comes to Covent Garden; iPhone Maker Opens Largest 'And Best' Store

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Big Apple Comes to Covent Garden; iPhone Maker Opens Largest 'And Best' Store

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Prigg Technology Editor

IT IS set to become London's most lucrative store when it opens tomorrow, with takings that could top [pounds sterling]60 million a year.

The new Apple shop in Covent Garden was today described by the computer company as "our best store yet".

Apple is believed to have spent tens of millions restoring the building, which dates from 1876, on the corner of Covent Garden's piazza.

Brick walls have been cleaned, original gas lamps restored, and a giant glass roof built over a hidden courtyard in the centre of the building, originally meant for horse-drawn deliveries.

The store, Apple's 300th around the world and at about 25,000 square feet the biggest it has ever constructed, is expected to overtake the flagship Regent Street branch as the firm's most profitable.

Last year the Regent Street shop was named as the most profitable per square foot in the capital. Takings soared to [pounds sterling]60 million a year, or [pounds sterling]2,000 per square foot -- more than double the estimated sum made by Harrods.

"The store that has taught us most was Regent Street... and we had to expand it by 50 per cent after a year," said Ron Johnson, senior vice-presi-dent of retail operations at Apple. "It is our highest traffic store in the world, we get more people than in our Fifth Avenue store in New York."

The three-floor shop, in a building previously used by Rock Garden, is expected to attract huge numbers of tourists passing through Covent Garden. …

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