Azrieli negotiating for first Apple store in Israel

Apple Store, Manhattan  photo: Lucas Jackson, Reuters

Apple has two official importers in Israel, but no retail store.

Sources inform "Globes" that Azrieli Group Ltd. (TASE: AZRG), managed by CEO Arnon Toren, has begun negotiations for setting up the first store in Israel of electronics giant Apple in a shopping mall to be opened in the new Sarona Azrieli tower. No deal has been signed yet as far as is known and there is no certainty that one will take place.

There are currently two official importers in Israel selling Apple's products: iDigital, control of which was acquired by SKY Fund for NIS 110 million. iDigital imports Apple's iPhone and iPad devices and Mac computers. iDigital, which currently has 14 branches, was the sole authorized importer of Apple products in Israel up until recently, when iStore became an official marketer.

In additional to the two official importers, official marketers also operate in Israel, including the mobile phone companies and others.

Apple is one of the world's best-known, largest, and most profitable makers of electronic and digital consumer products. The company, which is managed by CEO Tim Cook, the successor of Steve Jobs, whose name is identified with Apple more than any other, has a $945 billion market cap.

Apple has a number of leading international brands, headed by the iPhone. The company operates stores in key location in major cities that are focuses of global attraction. The stores all conform to the same concept, contain several floors with a great deal of space, and include laboratory services.

Apple currently has a development center in Herzliya but has refrained up until now from establishing an official store in Israel. In 2001, the company announced a plan to establish and operate a chain of retail stores and had opened 25 of them in the US by the end of 2017. Apple currently operates stores in many other countries, including Australia, China, France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Japan, the Netherlands, Mexico, and Turkey. The difference in service between Apple's stores lies in their visibility.

The Sarona Azrieli tower is the largest tower in Israel; the 61-storey tower is 255 meters high. This office tower also has 10,000 square meters of commercial space on three floors. It is located near the three older Azrieli towers. Azrieli is about to construct another tower in the vicinity. Construction of the Sarona Azrieli tower, which is located in the Sarona compound on the historic site of the Knights Templar in Tel Aviv, was completed in 2017. Companies renting space in the office tower include Facebook Israel, international company Amazon, ironSource, Dropbox, Citibank, international research firm Nielsen, Regus International, electrical company OPC, Ladbrokes, SimilarWeb, LABS, and many others.

Azrieli said, "As a matter of policy, the Azrieli group does not confirm or deny media reports about the company's internal actions."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 13, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

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Apple Store, Manhattan  photo: Lucas Jackson, Reuters
Apple Store, Manhattan photo: Lucas Jackson, Reuters
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