Austrian newspaper derStandard is reporting that Apple is close to finalizing contracts to open its first Apple Store in the country, on the upmarket shopping street Kärntner Straße in Vienna. Kärntner Straße (shown below) is described as ‘a magnet for international brands,’ with most major retail chains having a presence there.

The company is said to be taking over the flagship premises occupied by fashion company Esprit …

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The store occupies three floors. Esprit is said to have struggled to compete with lower-cost brands, and is currently restructuring the company.

As derStandard learned from real estate brokers circles, the US computer and iPhone maker Apple is soon to move in a big way in the Kärntner Straße.

There has long been speculation that Apple would open a retail store in the Austrian capital, home to almost a third of the country’s population. derStandard reports that previous rumors of a store in Graben came to nothing, but says that contracts here are ‘largely finalized.’

Vienna has consistently ranked highly in quality of life surveys, known as both the ‘city of dreams’ after the work of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, born in the city, and the ‘city of music’ thanks to having been home to Strauss I, Strauss II, Schubert, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, von Suppé, Mahler and Brahms.

Apple’s most recent retail store opening, just yesterday, was at the World Trade Center.

Thanks to reader Wehoq for this photo of the store:

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And here’s a view of the street:

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Kärntner Straße, Vienna

Photo: top Lonely Planet; bottom Wiki

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