The re-opening of Samsung’s renovated flagship store in Dubai days before arch-rival Apple launches its long-awaited stores in the UAE is a “coincidence”, the Korean company’s local distributor has said.
Eros Group – the sole distributor of Samsung in the UAE – opened the doors to the brand’s revamped shop in Dubai Mall on Sunday morning following an extensive Dhs5 million renovation. The outlet is also Samsung’s biggest store in the region.
The new Apple stores will open at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai and Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Asked if the timing of the reopening was set to coincide with Apple’s debut, Nalesh Bhatia – manager, business operations and marketing, retail business group, Eros Group – said: “It could be a coincidence. We had to go according to the dates of the renovation plan. We have announced the Samsung shop was under renovation before as well.”
The store – managed by Eros Digital Home – was inaugurated by Ismail Yoon, president, Samsung Gulf Electronics.
Meanwhile, Bhatia denied that Samsung’s new 9,200 sqft guise was influenced by Apple’s plans to open outlets in the UAE – possibly the world’s largest, though the tech giant has made no comment on the size of its stores.
“It’s unrelated to Apple’s plans,” Bhatia said, adding that the new look and feel is designed to reflect the latest innovations and changes in technology and further enhance customer experience.
He added: This store has been totally changed. It’s entirely different – from the flooring to ceiling, everything is new. Everything has been revamped. We took approximately eight weeks.”
Bhatia agreed that the former version of the Samsung store, which opened in 2008, was not old enough to need refurbishment. “The store wasn’t actually so old, but then to bring the digital products in a different way, a newer way, we had to do it, and to bring in more space,” he said.
“Actually every product needs to be shown in a different manner over a period of time so that the customers also feel a difference since Dubai Mall is a place where people visit very often. We have increased approximately 1,500sqft of display area just by designing it differently. We had a couple of walls, a segmentation between the mobile and the audio-video section, which has now been opened up to give you more space when you walk in to see the shop.”
The Samsung Brand Shop receives approximately 50,000 visitors on average per month.
The launch of the Apple store in Dubai will take place at 4pm and the Abu Dhabi store at 7pm.
Apple and Samsung have battled in court many times over technology patents. Still ongoing is a 2012 case that initially awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages for Samsung’s use of its patented technologies.