Apple reopened the boarded up sections of the London Regent Street store today, proudly reclaiming the accolade of largest Apple Store from the recently opened Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York.
Apple's senior director of international retail Steve Cano confirmed the London store dimensions to be "Over 28,000 square feet of selling space". Previously the store offered 18,500 square feet.
The company has extended from the back into what had been storage areas. These have now been moved to the basement.
The great glass elevator in Apple's London store.
Another major change to the flagship store is the incorporation of Apple's 'Great Glass Elevator'. The lift is a focus point at the centre of the store and takes its inspiration from Apple’s store in Fifth Avenue, New York.
It's not all aesthetic, however. The store has incorporated major changes in the way it does business. Cano confirmed that Apple now has 50 per cent more CPU test points and 75 per cent more product in store than before.
iPod owners get help and advice at the iPod-dedicated Genius Bar.
Apple now offers an iPod Bar in addition to the Genius Bar. The Genius Bar now deals only with CPU enquiries. Dismissing concerns that there could be a risk that gatherings at the iPod Bar could suggest iPod related faults, Cano stated: "It’s not just about fixing problems, it's about solving our customers questions."
Cano added: "The personalised service is enormously popular. We now have the iPod Bar, the Genius Bar, as well as personalised training in the studio - all free to customers that buy a Mac. It’s above and beyond what you’d normally see in a retail environment."
Another significant in-store innovation has been borrowed from the restaurant trade. The company has given employees chip and pin devices so that they can take payment for purchases anywhere in the shop. "There is no longer any need to walk to a register and wait in line," said Cano. This concept has run in US stores for a year now.
Attending the briefing was a Crown Estates spokesperson who commented that Liberty – situated opposite the Apple Store - has seen a footfall increase since the Apple store opened.