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Friday, October 04, 2013, 05:12 pm PT (08:12 pm ET)

Apple to reportedly bolster India presence with 'store-within-a-store' outlets

According to a report on Friday, Apple is looking to penetrate the emerging smartphone market in India by striking deals to build so-called "store-within-a-store" locations across the second most populous country on earth.



Apple is said to be in the midst of planning a larger entry into India's burgeoning marketplace, claims The Economic Times, which reported that two of the company's top regional executives met with retailers regarding future partnerships. The company does not currently have an official Apple Store in the region.

Apple's India chief Maneesh Dhir and head of telecom business Sanjay Kaul are reportedly pushing hard to make inroads into smaller Indian towns by creating "stores-within-stores" with a number of local retailers. In all, Apple is said to be looking at 100 exclusive "standalone" stores that will operated under a franchise model.

Sources said Dhir and Kaul met with 20 CEOs and senior executives of India's largest electronics retails chains on Monday, outlining Apple's plan to penetrate the top 50 "tier II and III markets." The focus will apparently be on iPhones, iPads and iPods, which are to be marketed in stores-within-stores.

While it is unknown exactly what the executives have in mind, Apple already has similar setups in operation state side at Target and, to a greater extent, Best Buy.

"Getting such space or investing so much on decor may not yield appropriate return on investment from small-town stores since sales cannot be at par with the stores at metros, even though Apple has committed a margin of 15-20% provided the sales targets are met," said a senior executive from one Indian retailer. "It sounds ambitious."

No timeline was given for the rumored India plan, but sources claim the company is planning to at least begin rolling out the shops before the fiscal year is out.