As thousands of fans queued around the block, with the most diehard sleeping on the pavement for a chance to be the first inside its new store in Berlin, Apple appeared to have lost none of its retail magic at its latest opening yesterday.
“I was here at 9pm last night,” said Jan Teuner, 46, a civil servant. “It was cold and the ground was hard. But I wanted to be first because I love Apple and the products are perfect.”
Opening in a listed building which formerly housed a cinema, the new store is Apple’s biggest outlet in Germany, where it has 10 other shops. The façade of the building on Kurfuerstendamm, Berlin’s main shopping street, is styled like a Greek temple. Inside, iPhones, iPads and MacBooks were on display on tables made of German oak.
The crowd queuing outside was youthful, largely male, and united in its adoration.
“Apple’s prices may be high but they are worth it,” said Adrian Post, 22, a hospital worker who had travelled in from nearby Potsdam. “I’ve just come to look. I’m not going to buy anything today, but I’d like one of those very flat laptops.”
Kim Druschky, 22, who is training to be a childcare worker, said: “I’m here because it’s stylish – and for the T-shirts.” The first 4,500 customers received limited edition T-shirts with the slogan Apple Store Kurfuerstendamm Berlin, handed out by cheering, whooping staff who greeted them at the front of the store.
Until now, Miss Druschky has been ordering online. “I’m glad there’s a shop now – the customer service is better,” she said.
The new Berlin store has opened in a building once occupied by the Filmbuehne Wien – a cinema with a reputation for screening artistically ambitious films. The cinema’s grand interior – chandeliers, moulded ceilings and parquet floors – has been restored, while the screening room has been converted into a theatre which will host talks and concerts.
Apple’s profits fell, for the first time in a decade, in results published last week. It posted quarterly revenue of $43.6bn and net profits of $9.5bn, compared to revenue of $39.2bn and net profit of $11.6bn in the same quarter a year ago,
Latest quarterly results for tablets showed that Apple’s iPad was still in first place, though its market share slipped to 39.6pc while Samsung’s share grew to 17.9pc. The tablet market grew overall by 142.4pc year-on-year, according to market research firm IDC.
In the US, Apple has trademarked the glass storefronts, panelled facades, and the oblong tables and wall-mounted video screens inside its shops. Its new Berlin store has a re-designed ‘Genius Bar’, with experts sitting on stools alongside customers rather than facing them. It also has a dedicated space for business customers, in a high-ceilinged room once occupied by the cinema’s café.