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Samsung hires Apple store designer

Are we about to witness a large chain of Apple-style Samsung stores appearing in malls across the country? We can’t say for certain, but the Korean tech giant’s reported hiring of a senior Apple store designer certainly indicates Samsung has something up its sleeve with regards to its retail efforts.

Tim Gudgel, who’s been with Apple for five years, reportedly joined Samsung this month as vice president and general manager of retail sales operations.

According to The Information, Gudgel specializes in store design and planning, and was, for example, part of the team responsible for the look of the Cupertino company’s striking Upper West Side store in New York City.

Although Samsung has a few standalone brick-and-mortar locations around the world, its main retail efforts currently comprise more than a thousand store-within-a-store sites in Best Buy outlets across the US, most of which opened this year.

It’s not yet clear if Gudgel’s hiring signals the start of a major shift in Samsung’s retail strategy – one that could see it start building more standalone stores around the US and beyond – or if the Korean company is more interested in revamping its Best Buy locations in a bid to better highlight its vast range of handsets, tablets, laptops, cameras, and accompanying accessories.

With or without Gudgel’s talent and experience, it seems Samsung already has a handle on the Apple store formula – last year the company hit the headlines when visitors to one of its newly opened Experience stores (pictured above) in Sydney, Australia, couldn’t help but notice how much it resembled an Apple store, with its minimalist design, wooden tables bedecked with devices, and blue-shirted Geniuses ‘Experience Consultants’.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s technology editor, Asher Moses, said at the time, “Everything from the store layout to the sales staff to the products and even the packaging and promotional material is uncannily Apple-esque.”

So, let’s wait and see if Gudgel’s plans for Samsung involve the ordering of copious amounts of glass, stone flooring, and spiral staircases, or if he’s got something more original lined up.

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