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.