Apple to begin reopening stores, starting with South Korea
Apple Inc. plans to reopen its lone retail store in South Korea, the first location to come back online since the iPhone maker shuttered all 458 stores outside of China in March.
The Cupertino, California-based technology giant closed stores to help curb the spread of Covid-19. It began by shuttering all 42 stores in China for about two months before reopening them in March.
Apple said in a statement that "South Korea has shown great progress during the spread of COVID-19," prompting the company to reopen its Seoul store on April 18. The location will operate on an adjusted schedule to begin with "to ensure customers and employees continue to stay healthy." Apple also said it will be focusing on support, rather than sales, to begin with.
"A focus for the store will be service and support at the Genius Bar," Apple said in a statement Thursday. "For customers who want to make a purchase, we have several options including ordering online for delivery or pick up in store." Customers will still have the option of making in-store purchases.
South Korea has had 10,603 cases of Covid-19 and curbed the spread of the virus in early April, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Apple retail chief Deirdre O'Brien told employees last month that the company aimed to open at least some stores in the first half of April, so restarting the Seoul store comes close to meeting that goal. The company plans to start opening stores in the U.S. in early May, Bloomberg News has reported. As in China, re-launching hundreds of stores will likely happen on a rolling basis over several weeks.