), retail sales are continuing to decrease, with same-store sales
at Apple Stores down 3.3% year-over-year in the third quarter. This
however, was less of a loss than the company experienced in the
second quarter (9.6%). Decreasing sales are likely most
attributable to the expansion of distribution for iPhones and
iPads: Consumers can now buy their Apple devices in an increasing
number of third-party outlets, such as the stores of carrier
), as well as big-box retailers like
On Monday, Charlie Wolf, an analyst at investment banking and asset
management firm Needham & Company, said in a quarterly report
that he expects Apple's store will continue to not keep pace with
Apple's continuing overall growth. Apple has hired Burberry CEO
Angela Ahrendts to take the reins of Apple's retail and give it a
stylish kick-start, but Wolf says he believes it will be difficult
for her to turn around the trend because Apple Stores "have become
increasingly hostage to Apple's overall distribution and product
Wolf does foresee growth in one area: China, where the company has
fallen behind initial projections for the opening of new Apple
Stores. Once those retail operations start opening though, they
should drive solid Apple sales in the country.
So Apple's retail is not keeping up with the company in general,
isn't that a problem? Not really.
Wolf believes Apple's stores are a crucial component of the
company's business, serving as the "face" of its brand. Through an
array of post-sale services, the stores have also become a kind of
(MSFT) Windows users ready to switch to the Mac platform, he says.
Almost half of the estimated 1 million Mac computers sold in Apple
Stores during the third quarter were to former users of Windows.
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