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Apple Retail Store Sales Losing Steam Ahead Of Ahrendts' Debut

Sales at Apple retail stores dropped 3.3 percent during the company’s fourth quarter. At the same time, non-Mac same-store revenues were up 9.7 percent for the quarter, while same-store Mac unit sales fell 15.1 percent, according to AppleInsider. In a note to investors, Charlie Wolf of Needham & Company said that he expects sales at Apple's retail stores to continue to struggle and not keep up with the company’s overall growth. The reason: Apple retail stores aren’t the only game in town anymore. Consumers can “increasingly buy an iPhone or an iPad at new locations, including carrier partners' retail stores, limiting sales growth of those devices at Apple's own stores.” During the third quarter, Apple retail store sales were down 9.6 percent year over year. Regardless of the slowdown, Wolf believes that Apple’s retail stores are still an important part of the company’s business, since they serve as the “face” of the company. As noted by AppleInsider:
"Through their array of post-sale services, the stores also seem to have become a magnet in attracting Windows users to the Mac platform," he said, noting that about half of the estimated 1 million Macs sold in Apple Stores last quarter were to Windows “switchers."
The sky isn't falling at Apple retail stores, of course. Visits to Apple stores have grown over the last 11 years by 13.1 percent annually. In addition, the annual average rate of sales growth since 2002 climbed 15.9 percent, while non-Mac sales grew at a 23.2 percent rate. Next spring, former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts will take the helm of Apple’s retailing and online businesses. One of her tasks will almost certainly be to shore up sales after recent declines. What should Ahrendts do to improve Apple retail and online sales? See also: Apple Stores Set To Offer iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c Screen Repairs And MoreApple Probably Needs An Entirely New Product For Retail Traffic To Increase, and MacOutfitters Is The Latest Independent Apple Retailer To Call It Quits. Photo: The Los Angeles Times
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