Apple could lure big brands back to city centre

The site of the new Apple store in Princes Street. Picture: Scott Louden
The site of the new Apple store in Princes Street. Picture: Scott Louden
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The launch of the Capital’s first Apple store is likely to act as an “anchor” for the high street and attract brands back to the city centre, retail experts have claimed.

Business insiders said the outlet could attract shoppers and revitalise the economy.

The technology giant’s flagship Edinburgh store will open on Saturday at 10am, with queues expected to start forming as early as tomorrow night.

Retail expert Ian Golding said the store would be a “great thing” for Princes Street and for the city.

“It could act as an anchor. Will it have the ability to attract other brands back to the high street? Without question,” he said.

“It’s a good thing in the long term, unquestionably. Having any strong, credible brand on the high street in 2014 is essential. And they have a long-term future – the day that Apple decides to close its doors is a very worrying day for the high street.

“The change in the high street has been so sudden, and this is why we need aspirational brands like Apple. It lifts the economic viability of the city, and it will increase the confidence of the high street.

“This is why, in a way, it’s a good thing that other brands are trying to emulate what Apple have done, because it shows you that shopping can be done differently.”

The Chester-based customer experience expert said Apple’s success lay partly in its emotional engagement with users.

He said: “One of the amazing strengths of the Apple stores is that the staff are passionate advocates of the products. Most Apple customers are emotionally engaged with the brand – it’s like a community and that’s why it causes such a massive hype. It’s almost become a little bit like a cult

“Apple users are proud of using an Apple phone. People will be queueing for days to get into this new store, because they will all want to go in to see the 
iPhone 6.”

Dr Susan Dunnett, a marketing expert at Edinburgh University’s Business School, said the stores were an important part of the company’s image.

“The design of the store itself depicts what Apple is as a brand,” she said. “It’s very sleek, modern, open and inviting. It’s these experiential aspects that Apple is really good at.

“It’s a different way of experiencing the Apple brand that we have not had here in Edinburgh before.”