|Image of the mall where the Apple Store will be located|
Apple currently plans to expand its retail store presence to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil early next year, according to information provided by a source. This person says that Apple is targeting a store opening between February and March 2014, but delays due to construction and staffing are always possible.
Approximately one year ago, Apple confirmed to various media outlets in Brazil that it is planning to open a store in the country. However, Apple has remained mum on when this store would open. “We look forward to the opening of the first Apple Store in Brazil, where we have long standing customers and hope to win many more each day,” the company said last year.
The source says that Apple’s retail expansion into South America is a high priority, and the company will begin seeking Apple retail employees from its U.S. stores to relocate to Rio de Janeiro for several months in the first half of 2014. Apple is said to want the U.S. employees to work in the new store in order to demonstrate and teach Apple’s retail practices. These America-based employees will also serve as temporary employees that can assist customers during this time period.
A second source added that Apple had originally planned to open the store in July of this year, but issues relating to hiring enough people to manage the store caused a delay. Though this type of delay could re-occur, the March timeframe is currently being targeted the launch window.
The opening of the Apple Store in Rio de Janeiro during this time period, a source added, is perfectly scheduled to occur in the few months before the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The internationally-watched sporting event takes place between June and July of 2014 at a stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Tourists visiting the event from across the globe will likely bring an uptake in visits to the new Apple retail in the region. This move would not be unprecedented: in the months prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Apple opened up a flagship store in the city.
The Rio de Janeiro store will be located in the Village Mall shopping center, and the store has been under construction since 2012. This Brazil-based store will not be the only notable Apple Store launch in early 2014 as Apple is planning to open up its first Tokyo store since 2005.
Apple’s connection to Brazil has expanded over the past few years with the company’s collaboration with Foxconn to move some iOS Device production to the region.