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The place to be: Apple joins big retailers investing in Birmingham

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An iconic six-storey Waterstones in Birmingham, the country’s second largest and most populous city, is to be replaced by an Apple store.  

The tech giant’s plans come just one week after Birmingham opened its Grand Central shopping mall, and the doors to a flagship John Lewis branch.  

The deal is currently unconfirmed, although the Birmingham Mail understands that Apple, Waterstones and Horton’s Estate, the building’s owner, have agreed the terms. 

In Birmingham, testing is to begin for the new Metro Line, which will connect customers from Snow Hill station, which is on one side of Birmingham, to New Street station, which is by Grand Central 

The presence of these retail giants is a boon for local stores. David Johnson, the owner of jewellery store Rex Johnson & Sons on nearby Corporation Street, has acquired the store next door to him and plans to expand to take advantage of the coming footfall. 

“For us, Apple trading from there is really massive because it is the right kind of customer, just like with John Lewis and Grand Central. We have been through three years of hell in Corporation Street – I was very close to throwing in the towel when I got the chance 18 months ago. 

Hopefully, now, we will feel the benefit of that decision not to quit.” 

Steve Hewlett, Manager of the Retail Birmingham Business Improvement District, also praised the deal: “It will rejuvenate that area of New Street and if you add in the Metro extension it is fantastic news for retail in the city and especially retailers in that vicinity. 

Published on Thursday 01 October by Philip Gallagher

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