Apple To Re-Focus Spotlight By Moving, Expanding Store

May 11, 2011

Apple’s retail team would say that moving their Bellevue Square (Wash.) retail store from its narrow, 30-foot storefront into the chain’s largest space is simply part of the company’s on-going commitment to expand square footage. But anyone visiting the small Apple store can’t help but notice a shadow, cast from the enormous Microsoft store three spaces away that opened last November, and might wonder if Apple is trying to win back the spotlight that Microsoft very deliberately stole. Whatever their motive, later this year the Apple store will move, from its ground-floor location that opened in 2003 with 4,600 square-feet, and into a second-level space formerly occupied by three separate retailers, including the former Talbots. When the move is finished by year’s end, the store will double its current size and, most importantly, will be visible to every single visitor leaving the Microsoft store across the hallway and one floor below.


The relocated Apple store on the second level will be within view of visitors leaving the Microsoft store (shown in yellow) on the ground floor.


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Marktrek May 12, 2011 at 0457

Has there been any news about the small Park Meadows store in Lone Tree, CO? (Denver) There is a large Microsoft store near the center of the shopping center (retail resort) across from the food court (dining hall). The central location gives Microsoft better visibility, but Apple is closer to an exit. Directly across from the existing Apple store, Restoration Hardware closed. Apple would have their choice of size if they decided to take advantage of the available space.


Greg G May 12, 2011 at 0816

Yay, it will also be much more convenient to the parking garages.


Actual Apple Employee May 12, 2011 at 0858

Yep. That is likely a factor when you consider that we will walk large purchases out for the customers.

Also, sorry but the Microsoft Stores have nada to do with this. If you look at every store that is getting an expansion it is because dozens more folks than can safely fit into the current size are trying to shop there every day. We staff can’t move around, it’s too noisy for workshops etc and the fire marshals are likely not too happy. Period. That there is a Microsoft store in the same mall is moot cause according to reports those stores have had zero effect on our traffic.


Alan Shutko May 12, 2011 at 0821

They did the same type of upgrade to the St Louis Galleria store, making it the largest mall Apple store when it opened. There’s no Microsoft store in play there, so I’m guessing that they’re just upgrading some stores that they see a better market for. The Galleria store, for instance, was always packed.


PatrickH May 12, 2011 at 0904

I am in the Bel Square store on a fairly regular basis, and even if the MS store had not gone in it would still need this expansion. When we took my wife’s MacBook Pro in this weekend for an issue you could barely even move around the store. In contrast the MS store was fairly empty. (I counted about 50 people while the Apple store had over 100). This is fairly typical of the two stores traffic from when we have been there.


Jeff F. May 12, 2011 at 0912

The story mentions the new space was formerly occupied by three retailers. One was Bailey Banks and Biddle and was closed. The other retailer (in a large space) just moved, and the third? I believe it is Yankee Candle, pictured above in a space contiguous to the others mentioned.

From my walking of the new footprint, the new Apple Store space is more than twice that of its former crib. It appears more like 3x the size, but curiously the square footage is omitted in the story.

The space upgrade is long overdue (thank you Apple). And I’m sure Apple could care less about moving closer or further away from Microsoft retail. The MS store’s sales per square foot are a pittance compared to Apple’s.


Colby May 12, 2011 at 1740

I think that they are also taking Talbot’s space as they had two stores right next to each other that are now in a different part of the mall.


Gary May 12, 2011 at 1804

Thanks for the on-site investigation. The information I received was not specific about which three spaces Apple will occupy. You’re also probably correct that the final store will be three times the size of the current store, which could be 13,000 s.f. Lastly, I forgot to mention that one of the stores is Talbots.


Rob M May 13, 2011 at 0950

I was one of the original MacGenius’s that opened the Bell Sq store in May 2003. From the moment the doors opened until the present day, the store has always been packed. Speaking with my former colleagues, it’s been a long time in the planning stage. Bell Sq management has been looking for a better more expanded space for Apple for quite some time and almost had a move planned but called off at the last minute a few years ago. It’s the last in the chain to sport the glass divided panels (according to my colleagues) and the only one left to have it’s current layout. So it’s considered a “Classic”! :)


Jeff F May 13, 2011 at 1027

I walked off the space of the departed retailers that Apple will replace. The frontage of the Bailey Banks & Biddle and Talbots measures 50 walking strides frontage. Compare this with 25 strides for MSFT’s space and a paltry 12 for the current Apple store. The new store will be massive, fit for the blue chip retail experience that Apple uniquely provides. And this does not even account for the third retailer quoted in the article. The second floor of Bellevue Square is going to get new life — the neighbor tenants just got a retail kiss.


FrMRApple May 15, 2011 at 0928

Good thing they are relocating it. An Apple store can never be too big. They are a.ways packed, really loud and uncomfortable to be in. Apple started out wanting to re-invent retail and they have come pretty close. Butt now the stores are a victim of their own success. I hate going into to Apple stores now. I went to theBarton Creek store here in Austin and it was insane. I wanted to take a look at a 20″ iMac and I couldn’t get anywhere near them.


Greg May 23, 2011 at 1149

As a former Bel-Sq Apple employee as well I can attest that this move is LONG in the making and has little or nothing to do with Microsoft. Having talked with a few of my former coworkers it sounds like MS moving in down the block has not hindered their traffic at all – and instead has just added a new resource to the store (need help with your PC that is not connecting with your perfectly functional iPod? 3 doors down! Need windows to run on parallels? 3 doors down! (etc)). More realistic is that MS is putting its stores (obviously) within sight of Apple Stores in an effort to pillage their customers, and, as is often the case with MS’s ventures, is failing. (Just across town MS is about to open another store near Apple’s University Village store in Seattle). But echoing the notes from above, about time Apple finally moved ahead with a newer and bigger space at Bel Sq!! (MS never has many customers in their space across the hall anyhow)


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