Prague to host Apple's first retail presence in former Eastern Bloc - report

in General Discussion edited July 2014
Apple will open a new store-within-a-store branch in the Czech capital later this week, according to a Monday report, marking Apple's first brick and mortar foray into Eastern European retail.

The shop -- which is said to be similar to Apple-staffed outlets inside Best Buy and Wal-Mart stores in the U.S. -- will be hosted by Czech electronics retailer Alza at the chain's Hole?ovice location. A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on Friday at 8 p.m. local time, according to a media invitation published by Czech website

Apple opened a Czech Republic branch of its online storefront in 2011, but the company has remained absent from physical retail operations in the Eastern European country. Until now, consumers have been forced to rely on a number of Apple authorized resellers and repair centers.

There is no word on whether Apple plans to expand its partnership with Alza to other locations around Prague or across the Czech Republic. The iPhone maker could also be considering an official first-party retail store under new retail chief Angela Ahrendts, whose former company Burberry has two such outlets in Prague, though no announcement has been made.

It is unlikely that any Apple executives will attend Friday's opening ceremony, though the proceeding will be hosted by Czech actor Martin Stransky. Stransky, who has dubbed a number of popular western entertainment programs for the Czech audience, was the voiceover artist selected to perform the Czech audiobook version of Walter Isaacson's official Steve Jobs biography.


  • Reply 1 of 29
    While it is somewhat symbolic based on the history, the Czech Republic is just another EU country.
  • Reply 2 of 29
    jendajenda Posts: 3member
    Great, endlessly. I am looking forward.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    Please open a history book or go check it on-line. Czech Republic never was a Soviet state although it was part of the Eastern bloc - still big difference!
    Since 2004 it is part of the European Union in case you missed that too.
  • Reply 4 of 29
    macapfelmacapfel Posts: 571member
    Well, then we'll see whether they can beat McDonald's:
    'After 14 years of intense negotiations; McDonald's finally entered into the Soviet Union on January 31, 1990. This flagship store located in Moscow's Pushkin Square, was the world's largest McDonald's boasting of 28 cash registers and seating capacity for around 700 customers. The first day of McDonald's in Russia broke the record for inaugural sales in McDonald's history serving more than 30,000 customers on the first day itself. '
  • Reply 5 of 29
    Better would be an Apple Retail Store. This Benetton shop currently boarded up and was my first thought last week - right in the centre, outstanding architecture!
  • Reply 6 of 29

    I don't understand why this is so big deal for Apple.


    Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and many others... just another members of European Union. Members of NATO and still NO Apple Retail Store. What are they waiting for? Transatlantic Free Trade Area? This makes no sense. I really don't understand.

  • Reply 7 of 29
    Or an Apple Retail Store? This Benetton shop in the centre was boarded up last week, so something is happening. Great architecture, could easily imagine it here...
  • Reply 8 of 29
    Hey guys, regardless of what it may look like, a "former Soviet state" is a little bit too much. Do your history homework, please.
  • Reply 9 of 29
    It's kind of strange because I've always gotten the impression that Alza didn't really care for Apple much. When you go in their Holesovice showroom (where the store-within-a-store will be) you immediately run into a huge display of tablet computers and the iPads have always been on the far back side of that display. Also their dedicate Apple section is much further in the rear than many other branded areas. I'm interested to see what actually changes from the current set-up. Prague desperately needs a Genius Bar. It's obnoxious to have to drive to Dresden, Germany for the nearest direct Apple service. Hopefully this will just be a precursor for a full-fledged Apple Store in the very near future!
  • Reply 10 of 29

    And if Russia keeps it up, it may be the first Apple retail store in the reconstituted Soviet Bloc.

  • Reply 11 of 29
    Well, it is not the first Apple Store in the former Eastern Block for sure.
    You forgot that entire East Germany was one of the communist countries behind the Iron Curtain.

    City of Dresden lies in the former Eastern Germany (DDR). So to be exact Apple Store in Dresden was the first in the former Eastern Block. The one in Prague will be the second.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    And if Russia keeps it up, it may be the first Apple retail store in the reconstituted Soviet Bloc.

    The Czech Republic is a part of NATO and we've also got Slovakia and Poland as additional buffers beyond Ukraine. If Russia gets this far WWIII will have already started.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    I'm really looking forward to it.

    Pretty much every retailer's shop (Apple resellers) in Prague is staffed with people who apparently think Apple makes fashion items, they're not helping and most of the time they'd look at people with the 'you don't belong here' stare.

    Authorized repairers live in a universe of their own and I suspect if good folks at Apple knew, the licence would be revoked sooner rather than later.

    Sometimes they refuse to honor EU warranty, saying they can only honor Apple pruducts from the Czech distribution, whatever that is. So if you happen to be a German living in Prague, bad for you.

    Speaking from experience, Alza is the only electronic retailer in Bohemia that actually behaves like a Western retailer when it comes to customer experience (including returns).

    Disclaimers - I do not work Alza. I'm an expat living in Prague.
  • Reply 14 of 29
    s.metcalfs.metcalf Posts: 923member

    lol.  Poor old Russia.  Once wanted to be European.  Now nobody in Europe likes them anymore.  Even the former Soviet countries have turned on them.


    What was that Eurovision song from Georgia that got banned..."We Don't Wanna Put In"...get it?


    Anyway, strange angle for this article since the concept of "Eastern Bloc" ended a long time ago.  Prague is closer to London than it is to Russia I'm pretty sure?

  • Reply 15 of 29
    Guys, the Czech republic is not, and never has been, a part of Russia (or the USSR).

    It's a member state of NATO.
  • Reply 16 of 29
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by MacApfel View Post

    'After 14 years of intense negotiations; McDonald's finally entered into the Soviet Union on January 31, 1990.


    Aaaaaaand then it collapsed. <img class=" src="" />

  • Reply 17 of 29
    waybacmacwaybacmac Posts: 309member

    If by "former Eastern Bloc" you mean the former Communist countries aligned with the USSR prior to 1989, then I'm afraid your article is very much incorrect. I believe Apple's first retail presence in the former Eastern Bloc is their Apple store in Dresden, Germany, previously part of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik or DDR. While other Apple stores opened earlier in Germany, they were all in West Germany or Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD). Both were internationally recognized as separate countries until the German reunification; and I know for fact that the Dresden store was opened about two years before the one in Berlin.

  • Reply 18 of 29
    Czech, please!


    Ok, that was pretty bad. I'll let myself out.
  • Reply 19 of 29
    imtboneimtbone Posts: 1member
    'marking Apple's first brick and mortar foray into Eastern European retail.'
    After visit the Czech Republic the last two summer, I can tell you that it is not an Eastern European country. It is Central European. Also, the Czechs don't like their country being referred to as being in Eastern Europe.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    lee123lee123 Posts: 5member

    I've seen some Alza posters in the city that mentioned 'Apple shop' but I assumed it was just referring to their own section within the store. I thought any official Apple involvement would be titled 'Apple store' which seems to be the norm around the world, however this news seems to confirm it is indeed official.  Perhaps it's due to the fact that it's a store within a store concept.


    As another posted has stated, I hope the section within the store gets a serious revamp, it's a little small and insignificant currently, especially compared to the Samsung section for at the entrance.  I'll check it out this weekend.

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