The store is located at Puerta del Sol 1, right in the heart of Spain’s capital city. The building first opened its doors in 1864 and has gone through a number of different identities since then, including the famous Grand Hotel Paris which closed in 2006.
This is Apple’s 11th store in Spain and its first in the centre of Madrid.
The store officially opened its doors at 9.30am, but Apple fans were lining the streets long before then. The first 1,000 people through the door were given a free T-shirt to mark the occasion, although the steady stream of visitors continued long after all the shirts had been handed out.
Just before the official opening, staff inside the store began the traditional ritual of dancing, cheering, and clapping to build up atmosphere and excitement. Apple says the store will employ around 125 people.
Those waiting in line joined in with the excitement, singing “Si! Si! Si! Apple esta aqui!” (Yes! Yes! Yes! Apple is here!) with the staff.
Inside the store, Apple has maintained the look and feel of other stores around the world. Wooden tables display Apple’s products, while the large windows provide plenty of natural light. Apple says that in an attempt to maintain and honour the history of the building, the granite used for the floors is sourced from the same place as the granite in the plaza outside.
The store occupies three levels of the building. The main store is on the ground level, while downstairs there is an event room where demonstrations and other events can take place.
During the excavations for this space, builders found remains of an ancient hospital that had once stood on the site. Construction was delayed while the remains were preserved.
Upstairs houses a small mezzanine level, where accessories and add-ons are displayed. Along with plenty of products from Apple’s latest acquisition, Beats Audio, the area also contains lots of health and lifestyle accessories, hinting at Apple’s latest push. These include wearable fitness trackers such as Nike FuelBand, UP by Jawbone, heart rate monitors as well as analysers for golf and tennis performance.
The mezzanine level is topped by a huge skylight that projects light down to the Genius Bar on the ground level.
Apple has taken a different approach for the Genius Bar here. Instead of being to the side of the store, it is right in the middle on a standalone table.
The opening of a new flagship store in Madrid comes at an interesting time for the Spanish economy. Although officially out of recession, the effects of the economic crisis are still being felt. Unemployment is still around 26 percent, rising to more than 50 percent for those under 25, and partly because of this, price-conscious consumers have been adopting Android ahead of the more expensive iOS devices. According to Kantar, at the end of 2013 Android accounted for more than 90 percent of the market, with iOS way back on just 4.3 percent — level with Windows Phone.
Apple will, of course, be hoping that a new store will help its sales increase.