Apple stores coming to Russia courtesy local mobile retailer

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Mobile retailer Svyaznoy plans to launch Apple Premium Reseller mono-brand stores in 10 Russian cities.

According to TelecomDaily analyst Denis Kuskov, who is familiar with the company's plans, Svyaznoy intends to open the first Apple stores in Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Krasnodar, Novosibirsk and other cities with a population of over one million.

The first store is set to open Feb 15 in Novosibirsk.

According to Kuskov, Svyaznoy had agreed with Apple on direct supplies of the entire range of Apple products.

"The Apple Premium Reseller status awarded to the company, the opening of mono-brand stores and an agreement on direct supplies will possibly allow Svyaznoy to influence Apple, while Apple's new products will appear in Svyaznoy without delay," Kuskov said.

Svyaznoy chief executive officer Denis Lyudkovsky said the company was bound by an agreement with Apple and could not comment on its plans of building a mono-brand network without Apple's consent.

Lyudkovsky said, however, that the company would soon launch a new mono-brand project.

Apple's representatives in Russia declined to comment.

Svyaznoy became the largest distributor of Apple's products in Russia in 2012, selling gadgets worth 4.9 billion rubles ($160 million), Lyudkovsky said.

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