Samsung is throwing down the gauntlet to Apple by announcing plans to open over 60 stores across Europe in partnership with Carphone Warehouse.
A "preferred partner" agreement between the duo will see Carphone Warehouse roll out the Samsung standalone stores in seven European countries - including the UK - over the next three months.
A Carphone Warehouse representative told CRN that about a third - or 20-25 - of the outlets will be in the UK, 10-15 of which will be up and running by April. They will stock Samsung's full range of mobiles, tablets, laptops and wearables.
The other six countries involved are Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. The roll out follows the successful opening of three stand-alone stores in Spain (the interior of one of which is pictured) in 2013, operated by the retailer.
Samsung and Apple are currently locked in a long-running spat over patents and are warring for supremacy in the tablet and smartphone markets, as well as the lead in consumer brand perception. Apple boasted a 33.8 per cent share of a global tablet market worth 76.9 million units in Q4, according to IDC, with Samsung on 18.8 per cent.
The announcement will only intensify the head-to-head battle between Samsung and its fruit-based nemesis, which has spent the last decade building up a network of 98 Apple stores across Europe, including 37 in the UK. In one fell swoop, Samsung will soon have more than half that number.
Samsung said the blue-and-white-themed outlets would have a "premium look and feel" and would draw on Carphone Warehouse's assisted sales tools and connectivity platform. There is potential to expand the relationship, the duo said, with Carphone Warehouse acting as Samsung's preferred partner across Europe and operating the majority of dedicated Samsung stores.
Carphone Warehouse chief executive Andrew Harrison said: "We are delighted to have been chosen as Samsung's preferred European partner for their store roll-out. Our Connected World Services business will combine Carphone Warehouse's retailing expertise and systems with one of the world's biggest brands and will help us make even more lives better through connected technology."
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