What does the iPhone release mean for stores next door to Apple?


Carmen Shippy, the first person in line to buy the newly-released Apple iPhone 4S at an Apple Store in Clarendon, is cheered by staff. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

For all that Apple and Steve Jobs did to revolutionize technology and personal computing, it may have done as much to revolutionize retail . No store today claims more sales per square foot and the customers that the stores attract — particularly on major release dates like today — add a huge bump not only to Apple but all the retailers around it.

“They’re the hottest retailer in the world right now, and everyone wants to be on their coattails,” said Tom Papadopoulos, a D.C. retail broker who specializes in Georgetown, where there is an Apple store on Wisconsin Avenue.

Who most wants to be next door to Apple? Papadopoulos said retailers who are aiming for the same young, hip shoppers are the most eager to try to mooch off of the lines of iPhone and iPad lovers next door. Fashion stores such as H&M, Urban Outfitters and Lululemon Athletica.

Wayne Dickson, of D.C.-based Blake Dickson Real Estate Services, said it’s bigger than that — that Apple defines neighborhoods as places other retailers want to be.

“It’s such a hot property that just having it in the neighborhood is a positive jolt,” Dickson said. “It says that the big guys, the smart guys have chosen the neighborhood as the place to be.”

Michael Ewing, of Williams Jackson Ewing, in Baltimore, sealed the deal that will bring a new Apple store to Grand Central Terminal, said when the store opens it could drive sales up at neighboring stores by as much as 20 percent.

“Their sales are 10 times what other stores do, and the traffic to support those sales is huge,” Ewing said.

What’s the drawback for Apple’s neighbors? Rents are likely to increase as much as sales do when the tech goliath shows up.

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.
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