Apple s plans of expanding its presence in the country has hit a roadblock with Reliance Retail reportedly planning on shutting down 16 of its 20 exclusive Apple iStores in the country, The Economic Times reports. The reason being cited is that the Cupertino-based company is not happy with design standards of these Reliance-run stores.
The report quotes sources familiar with the plan as saying that Apple is not happy with how these iStores have expanded in the past four years under Reliance. It is also not pleased with Reliance not following its set design norms that include high ceilings, white LED lighting, wooden floors, and particular sized display tables.
Reliance on its part feels that Apple is being unreasonable and that it is not feasible to open such stores in India. Complying with such specifications in a market like India may not always make business sense since Apple is still a niche brand and in the current economic environment it becomes an added expense to change store design, a store executive told ET. Of the 16 stores, 12 of them did qualify as per the new Apple norms.
Reliance though is using this opportunity to expand its new multi-brand retail format called Digital Xpress. These stores that don t comply with Apple s norms will reportedly be converted into Digital Xpress outlets and will continue selling Apple s devices.