Apple Looking to Expand its Retail Stores to India

Last year, Apple significantly increased its international retail presence by opening over thirty new stores in the fourth quarter alone. As of January 2012, the Cupertino-based company operates over 360 retail stores in twelve different countries.

And it doesn’t look like Apple intends on slowing down anytime soon, as the iPhone maker looks to round off a baker’s dozen by expanding its retail chain to a thirteenth country: India…

According to Indian business newspaper Mint, Apple has been in discussions with the Indian department of industrial policy and promotion. Apple is considering launching its retail stores in India following the local government’s decision to allow foreign companies to fully own and operate single-brand retail stores within the nation’s borders.

“They have not told us how many stores they will open,” an Indian official said. “We have made the policy. The doors are now open.”

Despite not having any brick-and-mortar retail stores in India — yet, anyways — Apple has partnerships with several authorized resellers in the country such as iStore and Imagine. The prospect of Apple opening up its own retail stores in India is quite interesting, mainly because the company has several manufacturing plants situated in nearby countries China and Taiwan. Presumably, this could result in less expensive Apple products for Indian consumers.

“If companies such as Apple open their own retail stores in the country, prices could go down and it could also “up the game in the retail category in the country due to the revolutionary nature of Apple’s retail front end,” said Jaideep Mehta, vice-president and country manager of market research firm IDC India.

The success of Apple’s retail division can almost singlehandedly be attributed to Ron Johnson, the company’s former Senior Vice President of Retail Operations. Under his leadership, Apple retail stores reached over a billion dollars in annual sales just two years after the first location opened in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia in May 2001. Johnson, who joined Apple in January 2000, resigned from his post at Apple on November 1st, 2011 to become the CEO of U.S. retail chain J. C. Penney.

[Live Mint via TNW]