- Citing South Korea’s progress in fighting COVID-19, Apple is looking to open its sole store in Seoul.
- It will, however, function on reduced hours keeping the health of customers in mind.
- Apple reopened all of its 42 retail stores in China in March.
Apple is looking to open its first retail store outside of China. Located in Seoul, South Korea, Apple's only store is likely to open its doors on April 18.
Apple, in a statement, said that South Korea has shown great progress during the spread of COVID-19, a report by Bloomberg stated. By doing this, Apple is slowly trying to get back on track to resume physical retail operations.
The store will reportedly work for short hours on an adjusted schedule to ensure customers and employees continue to stay healthy.
Apple, in the beginning, is looking to focus on offering product support instead of making sales. Customers will have the option of buying Apple products from the store, and the option of ordering Apple products online is available top.
South Korea curbed the spread of COVID-19 by early April and set an example for the world to follow. The country has so far seen a little over 200 deaths with over 10.500 cases. The reason why Apple feels it is safe to open its retail store in Seoul.
To contain COVID-19, Apple was fast to take action as it started shutting stores all over the world.
Apple first shut all of its 42 retail stores in China before opening them in March. It then shut shop in all countries indefinitely, leaving out Greater China.
Apple will reportedly open its stores in the US by early May.
CEO Tim Cook, in a company-wide virtual meeting held on April 16 answered queries related to the pandemic.
A report by Bloomberg stated that Cook addressed his colleagues and said that Apple was not immune to worldwide economic trends but that it "entered the coronavirus pandemic with a robust balance sheet." Cook also stressed that the company will keep investing in a "really significant way" in research and development and future products
When asked about job cuts, Cook emphasised on the strong financial position and pointed out that it has been paying retail employees while stores are closed.
Cook said "I won't tell you Apple won't be impacted," while stressing that his focus is on running the company for the long-term rather than making short-term adjustments.
There was no clarity as to when the employees would return to offices, but Cook assured that when it happens temperature checks and social distancing will be implemented.
Apple's head of human resources and retail, Deirdre O'Brien, further said Apple is reworking on its vacation policies so that the company can meet the needs of the employees.