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Apple Opens Online Store in Russia

The Apple online store could deal a serious blow to other online retailers who expect to lose customers. Andrey Makhonin

U.S. computer company Apple has opened the Russian version of its site in a move that could blow other online retailers out of the water, Vedomosti reported Wednesday.

General director of Inventive Retail Group Tikhon Smykov said that although the opening of the Apple Online Store will not greatly influence sales of the company's products in Russia, it will deal a "serious blow" to other online retailers who expect to lose customers.

Retailers expect the new online store's prices to be cheaper than at competing outlets in Russia, and that lower prices mean that people will no longer feel the need to buy Apple products abroad to save money.

The online store is selling the MacBook Air for 41,999 rubles ($1,300), which is 5,000 rubles cheaper than at its competitor re:Store.

However, the prices offered by Apple Online Store are higher than in some Moscow stores. For example, the I Phone 5 is 3,000 rubles more expensive than in Svyaznoi.

Apple products, including the I Phone 5, can be purchased from Apple Online Store by credit card, or the courier can be paid in cash on completion of the delivery.

Delivery is free for orders over 4,000 rubles ($120) and the company has promised to guarantee the items. But the delivery service — operated by DHL — is so far only available in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The opening of the online store also means that Apple will start to import its devices into the country itself, whereas before this task was handled by distributors. Furthermore, stores that stock Apple products can now buy direct from the U.S. company.

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