Google Plans First Retail Store at European Base in Dublin
Google Inc. (GOOG) plans its first stand- alone retail store at its European headquarters in Dublin after a trial at a computer shop in London, according to a filing by the world’s most popular search engine.
The Google Store would be open to the public and sell unspecified Google merchandise, the company’s Irish unit said in a local planning application. Located in the Montevetro office block on Dublin’s Barrow Street, the store would have about 123 square meters (1,323 square feet) of space including an added mezzanine floor designed to draw attention from passersby.
Retail may be a new front in Google’s competition with Apple Inc. (AAPL), whose 361 stores have fueled sales of iPods, iPhones and iPad tablet computers. Google, the world’s biggest maker of smartphone operating software, is in the process of buying handset maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. for $12.5 billion to help it compete with Apple’s phones and Microsoft Corp.’s mobile software.
“We’ve not made any decisions, it’s simply a planning application,” the Mountain View, California-based company said today by e-mail. Google already has an online store selling merchandise such as t-shirts and pens, it said.
Google opened a store inside a London branch of Currys and PC World, units of Dixons Retail Plc, as a trial for selling laptop computers running the company’s Chromebook operating system, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported in October.
Google has a store selling products with a Google logo at its headquarters in California, which isn’t open to the public. The company also offers merchandise at www.googlestore.com, featuring merchandise such as baby bibs and notebooks with the logo.
The planning application, prepared by consultants John Spain Associates for Google Ireland Inc., was approved by Dublin City Council on Jan. 23. The document also describes a staff swimming pool in an area designed for use as a restaurant.
Google plans to add a 53-square-meter mezzanine floor to the store space for use by “business partners and contributors” who visit and don’t need full access to the building, according to the document. “The unit will be clearly visible from the public street and will create additional interest and animation,” Google said in the filing.
The Dublin office is Google’s largest location outside of the U.S., according to the filing. Google bought the two buildings that make up its existing headquarters in March for an undisclosed price. It also leases space at two other properties in the area. It purchased the Montevetro site in April for about 100 million euros ($133 million) from Real Estate Opportunities Plc.
Google will have more than 3,000 employees in the Dublin area after it expands into the building and refurbishes its existing headquarters across the street, according to the document.
The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust arm, will rule on the Motorola Mobility deal by Feb. 13 and can either clear it or open an in-depth probe. Mobile phone subscriptions in Ireland increased to 5.4 million through June, up from 5.27 million in the previous quarter, according to the government’s Commission for Communications Regulation. The population was 4.58 million last year, according to census figures.
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