Apple’s reseller partners have called for better communication between its direct and channel arms after numerous occasions where Apple Premium Resellers and direct stores have opened in the same area within months, often within several hundred meters of each other.
In the past couple of months, several APRs have fallen foul of a lack of communication between the vendor’s two retail teams over the location of planned stores.
"The root of the problem was when Apple transferred control of its UK direct stores to the US," executive director of the Mac Tech Association, Robert Peckham told PC Retail. "The worst thing about it is that the two teams are just one floor apart at Apple’s UK HQ in London, yet they don’t seem to communicate with each other."
One of the worst incidents so far was when Apple opened a direct store less than 300 metres down the road from APR Cancom in Cambridge, just six months after it had opened itself. "Apple could communicate internally for one," suggested managing director Max Wright.
"The channel team claims it has no ideas where the direct team is planning on opening its stores." Speaking about the ‘incident’ in Cambridge, he said: "I find it incredibly hard to believe it didn’t know. It’s the same firm."
Managing director of London-based APR Square Group, Darren King has also been hit by Apple’s direct stores: "It’s a well publicised fact that when Apple opened its London store, our Oxford Road business halved overnight."
This lack of communication has led some to question if new entrants to the market could be put off. "It wasn’t that long ago that we attended a reseller conference where Apple was encouraging us to sign up to the APR scheme," Jennings Computers founder Mike Jennings said.
"Quite a few did and just months after opening up Apple opened direct outlets just down the road".
Apple refused to comment.