Apple might expand its retail stores into Russia, with a new location situated inside the reconstructed Hotel Moskva in the heart of Moscow.
A report published yesterday by Apple retail store tracker ifoAppleStore cites anonymous sources who say that Apple's senior VP of retail, Ron Johnson, and Bob Bridger, who is the vice president of real estate, were in the area taking a look at the space, though had not yet finalized any paperwork.
If opened, the location would be Apple's first retail store in Russia, filling the gap left with no direct online sales from the company, and would serve as an consumer-targeted alternative to the network of resellers and the authorized distributors.
Notably, Russia received the second largest number of iPad 2s from eBay during the two weeks of post-launch reseller activity the site released exclusively to CNET last week. Russia topped Canada at 500 imported iPad 2 units, more than doubling the 215 it had snapped up during the same time following the release of the first-generation device. That's certainly a good sign that there's a hungry group of customers looking to get their hands on new Apple gadgets.
Last year Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited Apple's campus as part of a tour of Silicon Valley, where he met with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The purpose of the trip was to boost high-tech businesses in Russia, as well as to invite U.S.-based companies to plant roots there. Medvedev left that visit with an iPhone 4 as a gift from Jobs, which was later found to be locked to AT&T's cellular network.