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back to article Want to run your own Apple shop? Start with £70k of German chairs

Marvel at the lavish Corian countertops and the shimmering metallic shelving forming a temple of Jobsian worship. Be still and know that you are in the hands of one of Apple's premium resellers. Around you are hushed voices discussing iPads and iMacs, and the occasional ripple of excitement from a fanbois. But there may be …

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Sounds a bit like BMW (or any other marque)

A colleague of mine dealt with a BMW franchised dealer in the South of England. About four years ago the MD was informed that he'd have to have the showroom rebuilt - estimated cost about £1.2 million. He baulked at the idea and said there was no way his sales would improve enough to cover the cost and asked what would happen if he refused. He was told "you'll lose your franchise", his reply was "take it then".

Ten years ago nobody would ever have to BMW to stuff it, but the marques have become so arrogant that sometimes there's no option.

That said, while I'm not surprised to see that Apple is so arrogant, I am slightly surprised to see they to this long to hop on the bandwagon of stiffing your resllers and making a quick buck by forcing them to buy from certain people - you've got to be incredibly naive to believe that Apple isn't getting a massive kickback for sending business their way.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Sounds a bit like BMW (or any other marque)

It's arrogance may yet one day be its undoing....

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Planning restrictions

In the UK, planning restrictions might well get in the way of some of those specifications (large front windows, ceiling height).

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Re: Planning restrictions

..and if you're in a shopping centre you have no choice on those specifications anyway.

The local apple store is barely a cupboard - I bet they don't meet their own standards!

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Re: Planning restrictions

>> The local apple store is barely a cupboard - I bet they don't meet their own standards!

Probably not. And wouldn't be the first time.

A couple of decades ago I used to part own a small dealership in a small market town in NW England. Back then there were two grades of dealer - "normal" and "Apple Centre". AppleCentre was something similar to the current Apple Stores - Apple only, defined branding, etc, etc. Just like the story, everything was defined, down to minimum sizes, computers in the mandatory training area, floor covering, wallpaper, furniture, and so the list goes on. In return for this, they got an extra 2% margin (we paid 32% off list, they paid 34% off list) and marketing kickbacks.

Even as a "standard" dealer, we still had to meet a long list of requirements - one of which was to produce a 2 year business plan with **detailed** breakdown of what we planned to sell. Anyone else see the nonsense in that when working with a company that won't tell you what it's product range will be in 2 weeks time, let alone 2 years !

But in both cases, these rules were flexibly applied according to Apple's requirements. Ie, if it suited them to ignore something, then they would. One story I recall involved a then large retail group who were having cashflow issues - and were known to have "extended credit terms" with Apple. Some other AppleCentres demanded the same terms and were turned down. Next thing, several of them invited their Apple sales manager to visit - by which time there were strategically placed stacks of IBM boxes shouting "we're prepared to dump Apple".

The next day, the large dealer chain went into administration.

But better still, a friend tells me a good tale from the local Land Rover dealership. They have a very nice showroom with a lovely slate floor. Land Rover standards required carpets - apparently the conversation went along the lines of :

Land Rover - "we want you to carpet the floor"

Dealer - We''ll carpet the floor when you make vehicles that don't leak oil"

Land Rover - silence

They still have a slate floor !

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Unhappy

Good lord! A cross between the Mafia and the Freemasons.

Presumably the next step is for them to decree the type of clothing you have to wear before being admitted as a potential fleece-ee.

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WTF?

Bonkers

"Apple-approved wooden flooring costs on average £30,000, and the standard-issue Apple furniture costs in the region of £70,000."

So, not very green then.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bonkers

Also, they are requiring imports rather than British chairs for British fanbois. Next thing someone will be saying they are avoid tax as well!

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Re: Bonkers

But also: "The flooring is paid for by Apple following a successful inspection by its officials, and it also coughs up half for the furniture if the premium reseller meets the minimum guidelines and hits its sales targets in the subsequent 12 months"

So, given reasonable sales targets, once Apple pays back the cost of floor + 1/2 furniture, the actual refit cost is £35,000, but the reseller can bug in an extra £100,000 onto it's balance sheet straight away (and thus can offset a short-term loan to cover the £100k it has to front up), PLUS it has £100,000 of depreciation to play with over the next 3-5 years that it can use to lower it's tax obligations.

It actually doesn't sound such bad business. From a previous Reg article it seems that Apple stores have teh highest revenue per area of any stores anywhere in the world, and while I expect that Premium Resellers will not have the same kind of revenue, Apple's approved design + seal of approval surely means that any Premium Reseller operating in an area where there isn't an official Apple Store will do very well indeed, thank you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bonkers

In what way is it not green? yes, you have to use wood but a good wooden floor will last decades. It can be sanded, varnished, waxed etc and will look as good as new. Try doing that with carpet and vinyl flooring.

If your plan is to reduce waste, reduce pollution and manufacturing then building something to last is a good idea.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bonkers

Except that it looks like it will have to be replaced by something more expensive every couple of years.

Also, and yes I do like wooden floors, but top of the range vinyl lasts just about as long and is recyclable. And the big Afghan rug in our living room is, I am told, about 70 years old.

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TRT
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Re: Bonkers

The chairs form part of a custom interface for genius staff. It enables them to still be heard whilst sitting down.

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Coat

Re: Bonkers

> The chairs form part of a custom interface for genius staff.

Patent?

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Devil

So...

Any word on the design patents that are encumbering those chairs?

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Big Brother

"But customers need choice, they want to be able to try products that work alongside Apple."

There are non-apple products that work alongside Genuine Apple Products?

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Re: "But customers need choice, they want to be able to try products that work alongside Apple."

The 80s want their anti Apple argument back.

Seriously, while you can levy many arguments against Apple, you cannot still argue that their products only work with Apple products. I am typing this on an iMac, running Windows, attached to a logitech keyboard and mouse.

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Re: "But customers need choice, they want to be able to try products that work alongside Apple."

iTunes Windows.

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Re: "But customers need choice, they want to be able to try products that work alongside Apple."

Yes. The chairs, f'rinstance !

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

Really? You've never heard of USB 2 & 3, Firewire, Thunderbolt, Ethernet etc. that Macs have and connect non-Apple products to? Nor heard of the rather massive market in non-Apple iOS Dock Connector (RIP) accessories?

Get back under your bridge, troll-meister...

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Anonymous Coward

stormfront largest in the uk?

I wonder if their staff still have no contracts or employment rights

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Re: stormfront largest in the uk?

No contracts or employment rights?

I didn't know Apple was running black sites and "reeducation camps"?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: stormfront largest in the uk?

Questionable business practices.. also full employments rights don't kick in with an implied contract till after a year.. avoided issuing contracts. Peanuts pay and being spineless employers

Partially my fault for accepting a job before I had a contract in hand, lesson learnt.. ended up with a cracking job after that though .

Also stormfront amusingly also shares its name with a white supremacist group

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Re: stormfront largest in the uk?

This is off-topic, but it just hit me. Y'know, its sad. Ive only ever worked under two contracts (though one has been extended twice, and Im looking at a third extension), one to the Regular Army and another to the Army Reserve.

Ive never had an employment contract to a civilian employer because generally unless you're an executive or in a union, you aren't getting one here in the US. Which is also the home to the Stormfront neo-nazi forum. And this isn't to say I havent had good jobs, but having an contract is very very few and far between unless you're consulting which I so far haven't done and honestly care to avoid. Pointing out to the cops why their radio system's a coddled together piece of shit which is barely in an international tourist hub

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Anonymous Coward

And as the customer you're paying for all this shit? Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

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Devil

Actually you don't - it's the reseller that suffers (which is why resellers may decline and/or go out of business).

Just today, I found this citation by Murray Rothbard, which may be apposite. It concerns taxation, but it's in the same league:

"The idea that the increased cost will be passed on to the consumer by the employer is an illustration of perhaps the single most widespread fallacy on taxation: that businessmen can simply shift their higher costs forward onto the consumers in the form of higher prices. All the economic theory expounded in this book shows the error of this doctrine. For the price of a given product is set by the demand schedules of the consumers (italics added). There is nothing in higher costs or higher taxes which, per se, increases these sched­ules; hence, any change in selling prices, whether higher or lower, will decrease the revenues of the business involved. For each business, on the market, tends to be, at all times, at its “maximum profit point” in relation to the consumers. Prices are already at their point of maximum return for the business; therefore, higher taxes or other costs imposed on the firm will reduce their net incomes rather than be smoothly and easily passed on to con­sumers. We thus arrive at this significant conclusion: no tax (not just an income tax) can ever be shifted forward."

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Do you seriously believe that or are you just trolling?

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Gimp

Common practice....

...in the car sales world. Audi, BMW, Mercedes all do the same thing, and have driven many a dealer bust.

Same target demographic I suppose - magpies easily distracted by a bit of shiny-shiny.

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They break my rule no 1

Dula (at http://www.dula.de) breaks my rule no1 of websites: music on the front page.

Argh.

Having said that. it all looks rather nice and impressive. Good photography.

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Re: They break my rule no 1

Gotta love an Apple-endorsed company using Flash on its website

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Sounds like...

...a franchise operation. Just go into a Mac Donald's (every town has one) and see how different they are from on another. Same menu, same drinks. The only thing you have going for you is the physical location, and there is no guarantee that they won't open another store next door.

Sure, it is a high margin business, but those margins go down if the cost of selling is too high.

Not a good business model in my book. Have you tried mail order?

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WTF?

Not just BMW, Merc and Audi...

I think every car manufacturer does it - one of my clients is franchised for Hyundai, Nissan, Suzuki and Fiat. They have a devil of a time meeting all of the standards, which even go as far as the paint colours used to paint cupboards and walls in the workshop, which is hidden from customer view. One of their sites has different areas of the workshop painted different colours in an attempt to keep them all happy...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not just BMW, Merc and Audi...

Same at PCWorld stores .. they have a small area of wooden flooring around the Apple section. Often wondered why they did it. Perhaps its a way of warning blind/partially sighted people that they are entering a high-spend area!

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It's not uncommon

It's called franchising. It's been around for bloody ages. Anything from Mercedes Benz to MD and KFC, warehouses, plumbing supplies, Trek, Cannondale, you name it.

The only thing actually worrying about it is the franchiser setting the prices. Allowing rebates is always frowned upon, and often punished when discovered by the franchiser.

This is what's called price fixing, and it's illegal. But oddly no one seems to be bothered.

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Coat

"[I]t will be interesting to see how dealers fare (...)"

Why do I get this mental picture of a bloke dressed in a white coat and holding a spreadsheet, looking through a one-way mirror into a room full of people that seem ready to snap any moment now?

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