updated 10:00 am EDT, Tue July 12, 2011
Hong Kong outlet could bring high traffic, costs
Apple is continuing its recent efforts to expand existing stores with one of its shops in Orlando, Florida, sources say. In the city's Mall of Millenia complex, Apple currently occupies a small ground-floor space which is said to be constantly flooded with visitors. When a lease on a larger second-floor space occupied by Z Gallerie came up for renewal earlier this year, the sources claim that Apple jumped on the prospect and ultimately outbid Z Gallerie.
The latter party has reportedly disappeared from the Millenia store directory. The emptying space, #206, is said to be twice as wide as the current Apple Store, and two-and-a-half times as big overall. It will likely be at least several months before Apple moves in however, as there are not yet any building permits on record.
In Hong Kong, meanwhile, a construction facade (below) has been placed over the location of Apple's rumored first store for the city. Based in the International Finance Center, an Apple Store would be in the core of Hong Kong's leading shopping and business district, and potentially draw plenty of traffic not only from the immediate area but also mainland China, where Hong Kong's unlocked iPhones are in demand. Such sales might be necessary, as rent in Hong Kong is expensive as a rule and moreso in such a high-profile location.