Google is said to be close to signing a lease on a property in a swish part of Manhattan for what would be its first serious foray into brick-and-mortal retail. And, it may not surprise you to learn, it’s located just around the corner from an Apple store.
An unnamed source with knowledge of the Web giant’s plans told New York business site Crain’s the 8000-square-foot premises is located on SoHo’s Greene Street, which is also home to high-end brands such as Dior Homme, Stella McCartney, and Tiffany. Apple’s SoHo store is located a short walk away in Prince Street.
As Google gradually builds up its range of hardware goods – with more to come in the form of Google Glass and other wearable tech – it makes sense that it appears to be moving toward opening its first permanent retail store.
However, whether its expected New York location will be a one-off or the beginning of a more serious strategic push to build a strong brick-and-mortar presence across the US and possibly beyond remains to be seen.
The Mountain View company has already dipped its toe into the world of brick-and-mortar retail, having opened a number of store-within-a-store Chrome Zone sites in Best Buys in the US in recent years.
More recently, in the run up to Christmas last year, it opened several Winter Wonderlab showrooms in US cities such as New York, Chicago and LA. The pop-up stores allowed visitors to try out various Google products like its Nexus mobile devices and Chromebook computers.
It’s also planning to open several barge-based ‘interactive spaces’ (think of them as floating showrooms) to show off the company’s wares, though these are expected to focus on its more ambitious projects like Glass and its self-driving car rather than head down the retail route with its more widely available devices.
The idea of Google considering permanent land-based retail spots has been around a while now, with a report just over a year ago suggesting such plans were in the works. With this week’s news out of New York, perhaps those plans are finally about to be realized.
[Image: Street View]