Apple to Reopen First Store in South Korea on April 18
Apple is planning to begin reopening its retail stores beginning with its sole Apple Store in South Korea, located in Seoul's Gangnam district.
The store's page says that it will be opening at 12:00 p.m. local time on Saturday, April 18. It will operate on limited hours for the next several days, opening at noon and closing at 8:00 p.m. In a statement to Bloomberg, Apple said the store will focus on support rather than sales when it reopens.
Apple said in a statement that "South Korea has shown great progress during the spread of COVID-19," prompting the company to reopen its Seoul store on April 18. The location will operate on an adjusted schedule to begin with "to ensure customers and employees continue to stay healthy." Apple also said it will be focusing on support, rather than sales, to begin with.
"A focus for the store will be service and support at the Genius Bar," Apple said in a statement Thursday. "For customers who want to make a purchase, we have several options including ordering online for delivery or pick up in store."
Apple's retail locations outside of China have been closed since March 14, when Apple shut down all stores amid the global health crisis.
In a March note sent out to employees, Apple's retail chief Deirdre O'Brien said that Apple planned to begin opening stores in the first half of April. "We will reopen our stores on a staggered basis. At this time, we anticipate some stores may be able to open in the first half of April depending on the conditions in their community," she told employees.
Apple plans to begin reopening stores in the United States starting in early May, with the company likely planning to relaunch stores on a rolling basis over a period of weeks based on local conditions and guidelines.