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UK's Carphone Warehouse denied Apple Watch at launch, hints at Apple retail plans

The CEO of Carphone Warehouse, Britain's biggest cellphone retailer, on Tuesday said that his company's 800 stores were left out of the Apple Watch launch scheduled to kick off on April 24, suggesting other big box chains around the world are in the same situation.




Carphone Warehouse chief Graham Stapleton told The Telegraph that Apple plans to limit Apple Watch sales to Apple Stores and dedicated Apple Watch shops at launch.

"We would love to be able to stock the Apple Watch," Stapleton said. "I've got to be careful what I say but I think they are just going another way with it. We have not been given the opportunity."

Stapleton's statements are in line with rumors claiming big box electronics store Best Buy would not have access to the device on April 24. Fashion retailer Nordstrom was supposedly in talks to carry Apple Watch some time in the future, while other known partner resellers refused to comment on availability.

Compared to previous product launches, Apple is heading in a completely different direction with Apple Watch, the report suggests. The assumption is partly true, as Apple is in the process of building dedicated Apple Watch shops at luxury department stores in London, Paris and Japan.

It should be noted, however, that Apple itself is leasing space for its pop-up stores, presumably with the intent to staff and manage them directly. With rumors of low manufacturing yields and a slow-starting ramp, it is likely that Apple Watch will become available through normal channels in the coming months.

Although Apple's retail strategy remains unknown, investors are already fielding guesses as to how well Apple Watch will sell. Earlier today, analyst Gene Munster said he believes Apple Watch preorders and first weekend sales will come out to one million units, a number predicted to increase to 2.3 million by June.