Apple Stores for Healthy Cities

 

The opening of Apple’s newest store in New York’s Grand Central Terminal prompted Brian Caulfield of Forbes Magazine to write an article about the often underestimated economic kick an Apple Store can bring to surrounding shops.  Retail development guru and author of Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development, Robert Gibbs, estimates that Apple stores can boost consumer traffic (of the affluent, Apple-product buying demographic) to nearby shops by 10-15%.

The stores also generate substantial sales taxes revenues for state and local governments.  Unfortunately for cash-strapped cities, government cannot mandate where and when Apple sets up shop; Apple chooses its locations with great discretion.  “They want the block that has the most traffic, which is surrounded by the best tenants,” Gibbs says.  Apple is not likely to take a risk on low-income neighborhoods or blighted blocks.

Still, Gibbs and other experts believe a city should focus more on attracting Apple stores and other similar business to stimulate economic recovery.  Often, stadiums are talked about as major drivers of a city’s economy due to the masses they attract.  However, stadiums provide fewer spill-over shoppers than major retailers.  By refocusing their efforts, maybe city planners can find more effective ways of bringing shoppers through the front doors of struggling businesses.

 

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