Jan 29, 2014 05:18 PM EST
Samsung has officially decided to take on Apple stores by opening its own series of 60-standalone Samsung stores in Europe. The Samsung stores will open in a number of European countries by cooperating with Carphone Warehouse Group with which Samsung has signed a preferred partner agreement. The stores will open in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands. The first country in Europe to get the Samsung stores will be Spain which will get three Samsung pilot stores operated by Carphone Warehouse, after which the Samsung stores will launch to other countries.
It’s clear that Samsung’s opening of these stores may be a shot across the bow at Apple, which has long used Apple stores as part of its brand. Samsung has never had the same global store presence, though it has had sections within stores at retailers like Phones 4u called a “store within a store” and a “flagship experience store” at the Westfield Stratford City shopping center in London. If this takes hold then Samsung may expand it beyond 60 stores if their brick and mortar stores become popular. The Samsung brick and mortar store are expected to start opening starting in April, with 10 to 15 of the 60 stores to land in the UK. Apple by contrast has 98 stores in the US alone.
Samsung has a serious challenge if it wants to compete with Apple retail stores. Their outlets get $19 billion in profit, which Samsung hopes to replicate, “The deal will benefit both sides. Samsung is desperate to replicate Apple’s famous retail store experience, while Carphone Warehouse badly needs to develop fresh revenue streams in the saturated European mobile market. I expect Samsung to use its flagship stores as showrooms to generate a feel-good factor around the brand,” said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics. Samsung does have a solid base to build from as it has a lead over Apple in terms of smartphone sales with 160.5 million sold, but at the same time lost market share from 29.1% to 28.8%. The Samsung press release is as follows:
SAMSUNG AND CARPHONE WAREHOUSE COLLABORATE ON NEW STORE CONCEPT ACROSS EUROPE London, 29 January, 2014 –Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today announced that it has signed a ‘preferred partner’ agreement with Carphone Warehouse Group plc to operate over 60 Samsung stand-alone stores across Europe. The agreement follows the successful opening in 2013 of three stand-alone stores in Spain, operated by Carphone Warehouse.
The new stores will be rolled out in the next three months across seven European markets: UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands. The stores will have a premium look and feel and will sell Samsung mobile communications products across Samsung’s full range of mobiles, tablets, laptops and wearables. Shoppers can expect an exciting new customer experience which merges retail and technology innovations such as Carphone Warehouse’s assisted sales tool and connectivity platform using Samsung branded tablets.
There is potential to expand the relationship going forward, with Carphone Warehouse acting as Samsung’s preferred partner across Europe and operating the majority of dedicated Samsung stores. This is an important alliance playing to both companies’ strengths. Together we will create a powerful new retail concept to showcase, for our customers, a wide range of products, content and services as well as injecting both investment and new jobs into the retail sector. Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of Carphone Warehouse said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as Samsung’s preferred European partner for their store roll-out. Our Connected World Services business will combine Carphone Warehouse’s retailing expertise and systems with one of the world’s biggest brands and will help us make even more lives better through connected technology.”
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