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Apple retail stores: 12 years later


On May 19, 2001, the first two Apple retail store opened up for business. One was located in McLean, Va., while the other was situated in Glendale, Calif. At the time, there were no shortage of critics who expressed serious doubt as to Apple's effort to get into the retail business.

Now, 12 years later, Apple's line of retail stores play an instrumental role in Apple's overall sales, and more importantly, give consumers a chance to actually use Apple products in a fun and inviting environment. It may sound absurd to anyone born after 1986, but I distinctly remember a time when the only place I could test out and potentially purchase a Mac was at a local OfficeMax -- unless, of course, I wanted to mosey on down to a shady corner electronics store that somehow managed to become an authorized Apple reseller.

In short, Apple's retail stores enabled the company to put its products out in front of consumers on its own terms. Today, Apple stores, given their ubiquitous nature, seem like a given. I mean, why wouldn't Apple roll out a line of retail stores?

But back in the dark days of the '90's, back when Apple's marketshare continued to plummet as the company bled money, Macs were looked upon disparagingly and their presentation in the few stores that carried them reflected that perception.

There are no shortage of stories surrounding Apple's foray into the retail business and the factors which led to them becoming the most profitable retail stores on the planet on a per-square-foot basis.

That said, with Apple's first retail stores turning 12 this past Sunday, I thought it'd be interesting to present a few impressive factoids about the current state of Apple's retail operation. Looking back, it's hard to imagine that even the most ardent Apple enthusiast could have predicted the juggernaut Apple retail would go onto become.

  • There are now 402 Apple retail stores worldwide.
  • 251 of those are in the United States, 151 are located abroad.
  • By the end of 2013, Apple will have 432 retail stores around the world.
  • In 2013, Apple will be revamping or remodeling 20 retail locations whose success has made accommodating visitors a problem.
  • Apple in 2012 spent nearly $1 billion on retail related capital expenditures.
  • Apple retail stores in 2012 hosted 372 million visitors.
  • Together, Apple retail stores comprise 4.1 million square feet.
  • There are Apple retail stores in 13 countries.
  • There are 5 states which have no Apple retail presence; Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia.

Here are a few factoids from Apple's most recent quarter:

  • Retail revenue checked in at $5.2 billion.
  • Revenue per store came in at $13.1 million.
  • Apple retail stores hosted 91 million visitors.
  • Apple retail stores earned $57.6 per visitor.

Lastly, and in the spirit of nostalgia, here's a video of Steve Jobs giving a tour of the first Apple store in McLean, Va. In typical fashion, Jobs' enthusiasm is infectious, and more importantly, authentic. Also, watch closely and see if you can spot boxes of Mac OS 9 on the shelf, you know, from an era back when Apple actually shipped packaged software.

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