The number of visitors to the Manchester (UK) region’s two Apple retail stores has grown so large that the company’s real estate team is considering closing at least one store, and relocating it inside a huge city center space to better handle the crowds. Real estate sources say Apple has been in on-going talks with leasing agents for the Trafford Centre and Manchester Arndale shopping malls for larger spaces, but have been unable to find any suitable candidates. So Apple’s real estate team has turned to the property manager for a 26,000 square-foot space along New Cathedral Street in city center Manchester, home to Heals Furniture. Heals management admits that the location has been underperforming for several years and will close, reportedly leaving eight years on a 15-year lease. Besides being spacious, the Heals space has a tall, all-glass storefront along a busy pedestrian walkway that would meet Apple’s requirements for being conspicuous and having lots of foot traffic. Other retailers have previously expressed interest in the space, which reportedly has been offered at nearly $900,000 a year. According to sources, Apple has not signed a lease yet. If a lease is finalized, it’s unknown if Apple would close one or both of the existing stores after the new location opens.
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