There has been speculation about Apple being in conversations with Nordstrom management regarding distribution for the AppleWatch. We don’t expect an Apple branded store-within-a-store set-up akin to Best Buy, but we can foresee a branded experience within the architecture of the Nordstrom current counters, as a specialty shop or holiday store. We expect to see additional department and specialty store retail channels, especially in flagship locations in major cities throughout the U.S. and globally as the Apple Watch availability rolls out. Currently, Isetan in Tokyo (pictured below) is installing an Apple Watch pop-up, rumored to be permanent.
The question becomes: what happens to the designer watch category that has been a booming business in the past few years? We are already seeing several shifts in sales strategies as discount-shy designers begin marking down their watches through outlet channels. We’ve also noted a lack of newness in watch designs over the last several months, and we are anxious to see if the Apple Watch aesthetic begins showing up across the category. As we continue to make store checks leading up to the launch of the Apple Watch next month, we’ll note changes to the floorspace of existing brands, as well as the appearance of new feature areas for technology-laden wearables.
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