Apple’s Retail Strategy Defied the Skeptics

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Appleis chain of retail stores, which launched in 2001, was originally seen as a costly gamble, but itis paid off, Nick Wingfield explained in an article published in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. The companyis latest store, on Fifth Avenue in New York City, is its most lavish yet, with a glass cube encasing the opening and a plan to stay open 24 hours a day.

Mr. Wingfield said that the storeis hours were quoted to him by Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf, who was told the information by an Apple executive. Mr. Wolf said that Appleis retail revenue, which hit US$2.35 billion during fiscal 2005, "has been just astonishing in terms of the traditional retail numbers we look at."

Unfortunately, that success has drawn the ire of some resellers who have sued Apple over allegations of unfair competition. More than half a dozen filed lawsuits over the past four years.

Mr. Wingfield also revealed that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a hand in designing the glass cube at the entrance of the new store and has his name on a patent for the glass staircase featured in the companyis two-story outlets. He even had workers replace the metal bolts holding together the glass cube, stating: "We spent a lot of time designing the store, and it deserves to be built perfectly."

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