Next stop for the Apple’s retail expansion: Dubai. Apple is expected to open its first store in the Middle East outside of Istanbul, and it will be the largest in the world, according to sources speaking to the Khaleej Times.
Currently under construction within the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, the estimated 50,000 square foot Apple Store is expected to open its doors to the public in August near the mall’s Fashion District. But it’s a tiny fraction of the Mall of Emirates' total retail space, which spans 2.4 million square feet and is home to over 700 stores. Apple may also open a second store in the United Arab Emirates, likely in the Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi, according to the report.
In recent months Apple has posted job listings for several retail positions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, such as creative, expert, genius and store leader roles. Though listings for neither Emirate name a specific store, rumors dating back to August 2014 had previously pointed towards Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates as a potential location. Last year, Apple also opened up an office in Dubai’s Emaar Square as a regional headquarters for the Middle East and Africa, according to The National.
By establishing its own physical stores in the Middle East, Apple will be able to meet growing demand for its products without relying solely on its online store and third-party resellers, as it does currently.
Aside from iPhone-crazy China, Apple has increasingly looked towards the rest of the developing world for profits and first time buyers. “If you look in the emerging markets, our revenues were up 58 percent year-on-year,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the company’s April earnings call. “And this accounted for just slightly less than 40 percent of the company’s revenue.”
At 50,000 square feet, Apple’s Dubai retail store will top its Covent Garden store in London, which occupies three floors and houses 40,000 square feet of retail space.