Apple will open more walled-off “Express” stores just in time for the holiday shopping season, its retail SVP Deirdre O’Brien told Reuters. The tech giant started testing the format last month in California and has since opened 20 Express stores across the US and Europe. O’Brien told the news organization that Apple will open more until it has 50 Express stores across the regions by the end of October. “It’s a swifter way for us to serve customers. It allows us to maintain all the appropriate social distancing and maintain all of our health protocols within our stores,” she said.
Express stores have walled-off facades to prevent customers from walking in. They have small windows protected by plexiglass so staff can assist customers one at a time, and people can also just make their purchase online before picking it up to make interactions even shorter.
— Marci Harris (@marcidale) September 14, 2020
Apple has been experimenting with several store formats to determine the best way to cater to customers amidst the pandemic this holiday season — especially since the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro have just started shipping and the new flagship’s Mini and Pro Max models will arrive in November. Opening more Express stores makes more sense than simply just opening locations without the format’s protections, seeing as COVID-19 cases have been on the rise again in both the US and Europe. Several European countries recorded their highest daily number of infections over the past few weeks, while just this week, the US saw its highest number of cases since July.
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