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    Jul 29, 2016

    1st Apple Store here may open in November

    SINGAPORE'S first Apple Store could open in Orchard Road as early as November, in time for the Xmas season but two months late for the rumoured launch of its latest iPhone.

    The store, expected to be at Knightsbridge mall, is slated to span about five storefronts.

    An information board at the construction site shows an expected completion date of Oct 31.

    The store could potentially take up four floors as works are being done on the basement and first to third stories of the Knightsbridge complex.

    During a visit to the construction site, the shop's interior was walled off with canvas. But tall glass structures were in place, hinting at Apple's signature glass facade seen in its flagship stores overseas.

    This will also be its first store in South-east Asia. Besides offering its products directly, it will also host hands-on demonstrations.

    News of the Apple Store first broke last October when then fitness club Pure Fitness sent a letter to members informing them of its closure to make room for the store.

    The United States tech giant declined to confirm the opening date and how many people it plans to hire. Apple's website currently lists 14 different job positions available.

    Construction work began in May, five months after Knightsbridge tenants, such as Pure Fitness, Dickson Watch & Jewellery, Tommy Hilfiger and Topshop handed the space back to the landlord last December.

    Only Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F), CIMB Bank and The Hour Glass stayed put, and may benefit from the presence of the Apple Store.

    Said A&F sales assistant Si Xu Vongsuvanish, 20: "People will come here and take a look first as they wait for their queue number to be called."

    Analysts say the opening of the Apple Store could affect current Apple authorised resellers such as EpiCentre, iStudio and Nubox.

    EpiCentre has stores in Ion Orchard, Wheelock and 313@Somerset while iStudio has one remaining in Paragon.

    "A challenge for the resellers would be the stock availability as they will fall further down in the pecking order when stocks are low," said IDC research manager Kiranjeet Kaur.

    But she pointed out that resellers have continued to exist with Apple Stores elsewhere.

    Such resellers also offer special deals on Apple products to compete on price, according to Cris Duy Tran, a consulting associate for digital transformation at Frost & Sullivan.