Retailers & Distributors

China's Apple Store Knockoffs

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China-based blogger BirdAbroad reveals what one can describe as the ultimate in copying-- counterfeit Apple stores in Kunming, China, complete with employees clad in blue t-shirts, a winding staircase and rather familiar signage.

Apple StoerTruly, if imitation is the most sincere form of flattery then Apple's logo should be turning into a beetroot as we speak.

The "ripoff store" looks impressive at first glance, even if closer scrutiny reveals the staircase's lack of quality and shoddy paint work. And that's before mentioning that the staff-- clad with name tags lacking in actual names-- "genuinely think they work for Apple". Bless.

It gets even better-- "A ten minute walk around the corner revealed not one, but TWO more rip-off Apple stores," one of which bears the name "Apple Stoer".

The blog entry lacks mention of whether the devices for sale at these stores are authentic or not-- but we doubt any clarification is actually needed.

Apple does actually have a few "real" Chinese stores, but only in Beijing and Shanghai, with more to follow over the next few years.

Go Are You Listening, Steve Jobs (BirdAbroad)

Retailers: Where is Your Tablet Section?

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GupreetAnyone who is following the tablet market knows the pace at which vendors are announcing and now shipping products to the channel.  The category has exploded in terms of number of players from a single vendor in April 2010 (read Apple here) to 19 vendors currently selling tablets in the 18 retail chains monitored by gap intelligence each week.  However, unlike more established categories like computers, digital cameras and TV’s, tablets right now do not have a dedicated section devoted to them in any store.

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If a consumer is out shopping for a tablet, then it is pretty much a guarantee that he/she will have to explore two to three different sections in a store to find the product he/she is looking for.  Tablets can be found anywhere ranging from computer departments, to cell phone and accessories sections, as well as random stand-alone placements.  For example, if you were in Best Buy shopping for a tablet, here is how your retail path will look like.

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Who Wants to be Walphone Warehouse?

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Following last year's in-house pilot tests (held in 20 flagship stores) Walmart decides to expand its Walmart Wireless shops to 150 more superstores this year in the USA.

Walmart WirelessThe Wireless Stores carry mobile phones and smartphones, alongside a number of service plans, inside a space around 185 square meters in size near checkout counters.

The retailer describes initial results as "very positive"-- partly thanks to their location inside the parent chain, next to the banking, eyeglass center and other services.

Walmart is also looking into selling appliances with The Appliance Market-- currently testing in 3 US locations, with more to roll out next month.

The stores carry 80 good-better-best SKUs under the company's Hotpoint, GE and GE Profile brands, with free appliance delivery (but extra charges for installation).

Go Walmart

Belgacom Buys The Phone House Belgium

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BelgacomBest Buy Europe sells its Belgian The Phone House chain to Belgacom for 22m.

The Phone House has 114 stores in Belgium, and will continue operating as an independent store chain retaining the same trade name. 

Triggering the deal was a compelling valuation put on the business by Belgacom in a bid to expand its customer base, and it does not include Best Buy Europe's Belgian insurance business.

Meanwhile the retailer appears to have no plans to sell its stores in other international markets. 

Go Belgacom Announces its Acquisition of The Phone House Belgium