When Westfield’s flagship London mall opened at White City in 2008 there was a fair tech presence among all the boring clothes stores. There was the ubiquitous Apple, naturally. Micro Ankiva, an Apple reseller, had a general computer store. Bose was there, as was Sony and a Jessops photographic outlet. Quite a bit to keep me happy while the memsahib plundered Prada, Luis Vuitton and, even, Zara.
Five years later and only two tech stores remain. Micro Anvika soon retreated last year to its familiar stomping ground in Tottenham Court Road. Jessops was killed off in one click at Amazon and I have just noticed shutters on the impressive Sony corner shop.
The two survivors, Apple and Bose, have something in common. Both control distribution tightly and manage to maintain a non-discount price structure. Only these two companies, it seems, have the margins to pay the high rents of the typical city mall. If ever Apple let the price genie out of the bottle, discounts at Amazon could do for the Apple Store. But they will not be so daft, I am confident.
Apple’s store on the upper level was busier than usual this morning. Encouraging, in the circumstances. That’s why I don’t bother much with Apple results (due this evening, coincidentally) but I do watch store footfall. When I see all those blueshirts standing around twiddling their thumbs it will be time to sell stock.