Wired looks at one of the greatest retail success stories in history.
Apple says its stores are now making more than $1 billion in sales per quarter. Just two years ago, the stores were making $1 billion a year — and at that time they were the fastest-growing retail operation in history, beating the previous record holder The Gap to $1 billion annual sales in just three years, according to Ron Johnson, the executive in charge of Apple’s retail operations.
These are extraordinary figures. Five years ago, before Apple opened its first store in McLean, Virginia, shopping for Apple products was a miserable experience.
Macs were sold at big-box retailers like Sears, where they were neglected, or small mom-and-pop shops with limited choices and high prices. Apple’s only direct contact with its customers was at Macworld.
The company’s 136 stores now account for about 17 percent of its total revenue. Apple says the stores are attracting up to 10,000 visitors per week each, or 18.1 million visitors a year in total.