The Tata Group aims to open small exclusive Apple stores across the country, two people aware of the development said.
The iPhone maker is tying up with Tata-owned Infiniti Retail, which runs the Croma store chain, for the venture, they said.
Infiniti Retail will become an Apple franchisee partner and intends to open 100 such outlets of 500-600 sq ft each at malls as well as high-street and neighbourhood locations.
These Apple Authorised Reseller outlets will be smaller than Apple Premium Reseller stores, which are typically more than 1,000 sq ft in area. The smaller stores will mostly sell iPhones, iPads and watches while the larger format ones will have the entire Apple range, including MacBook computers. India currently has about 160 Apple Premium Reseller stores.
Apple India and Infiniti Retail didn’t respond to queries.
“Tata has already started discussions with premium malls and high streets for space,” said a retail consultant aware of the development, adding that the lease terms include details of brands and stores that can’t be opened near the outlet. This is similar to the terms that Apple insists on, the person said.
The Tata-Apple partnership comes as Apple’s first company-owned flagship store is set for a likely opening in Mumbai in the March quarter.
An industry executive said Apple has informed its local franchise partners that its company-owned stores boost business for all partners and retailers, which it expects in India as well.
In the September quarter, Apple’s iPhone global revenue increased 10% year on year to a record $42.6 billion, with the new 14 series driving brisk sales in India. CyberMedia Research (CMR) recently reported that iPhone volume grew 44% in the July-September period in India to over 1.7 million units from the preceding quarter.
India has consistently been one of the fastest-growing markets for Apple for about half a decade. Since the pandemic, Apple has performed at its all-time best in India as consumers preferred buying the latest iPhones, iPads and computers to manage work and study from home.