At 2.4-million square feet, Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates houses over 700 retail stores and a ski resort. According to new reports, the mall will soon be home to the Middle East’s first and the world’s largest Apple retail store.
According to EDGARdaily, the Cupertino-based company is arranging to replace the mall’s current cinema complex with its new store. The publication cites recent job advertisements for retail positions in Dubai on the Apple website. There are 13 positions currently listed, including various Specialists, Leaders, and Managers. Based on the hiring schedules, the Dubai store may open in February 2015.
The construction of the new store in Dubai explains Tim Cook’s meeting in March this year with UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Though no specific details have been revealed about the meeting, it is speculated that the CEO and Shaikh Mohammed discussed Apple’s role in UAE education initiatives. That said, it could be that they also discussed where an Apple retail store would best serve its customers in the area. Tim Cook did visit with Apple resellers in the region, like the Virgin Megastore in Abu Dhabi. The purpose of this Emirates tour may well have been to scout locations for Apple’s Middle East flagship store.
Until now, Apple’s retail presence in the Middle East has been limited to its United Arab Emirates online store launched in 2011. More recently, in July, Apple made a deal with Saudi Arabian books and electronics retailer Jarir Bookstore, allowing the chain to carry Apple’s full product lineup. With the construction of a flagship store in Dubai, Apple’s customer base in the Middle East is bound to expand as it has in other regions of the world.