Border Town Targeted for Apple Store

October 29, 2010

According to real estate sources, Apple has been scouting the city of El Paso (Tex.) for a retail store space, and has probably settled on the Sunland Park Mall for its first location along the Mexico border. The super-regional, two-level mall is four miles from crime-troubled Ciudad Juárez, and also attracts shoppers from as far away as Las Cruces (NM) and Chihuahua (Mexico). A store in El Paso would fill in a large black-out zone that now covers covers all or part of 10 states from New Mexico to Illinois. But while visitors from Mexico are a significant revenue opportunity for retailers in the region, the economy and employment rate in the two cities raise questions about how successful a high-value Apple store will be.

El Paso has a diverse population of 610,000, and its unemployment rate has been increasing since mid-2008, to 10.2 percent. That compares to 8.3 percent for Texas, and 9.6 percent for the entire United States (August 2010). The average household income for the Sunland Park trade area is $56,946, slightly above the city’s average of $54,174.

The population of Ciudad Juárez is about two million, although a reliable census hasn’t been conducted recently. Employment statistics are impossible to find. The city is on U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) list of cities with a high crime potential, and there has been some spill-over crime in El Paso.

The Sunland Park Mall lease plan shows three large space available on the ground level.

As of late October, the mall lease plan shows three large empty spaces (red circles) where the Apple store could locate.

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