Apple's January Retail Sales Continue To Lag

PC Data released a study by analyst Stephen Baker on Januaryis retail sales. Apple, whose 1st fiscal quarter (ending December) was one of the companyis worst quarters ever, continued to see the same kind of slow sales in January that they saw in the previous quarter. The study deals with retail sales only, and excludes direct sales, mail-order sales, and online sales. According to Mr. Baker, they work with "most of the major retail outlets."

Overall sales declined 26% year over year with dollar-sales declining some 28%. Apple fared a good deal worse with unit sales declining 62% over the prior year and retail revenue declining 63%. Laptop sales for Apple fared poorly as well with a decline of 36% over the prior year. Overall laptop sales decreased by only 9%.

Apple released new PowerMacs in January, but only the two low end models were available immediately. Apple announced on Monday that the 733 MHz models were shipping, and that will hopefully boost February and March sales. Supplies will be constrained for the next two quarters, however, so the new models may not have as much of an impact as they otherwise might have.

Apple also released new laptops in January, the well received PowerBook G4. The company began shipping the units at the end of January, something that also would have negatively impacted their January retail sales.

Appleis iMac sales were likely impacted as well, as Apple has been using the last two months to work through remaining inventory of their iMac models in anticipation of new units that are expected to be announced at tonightis MACWORLD Tokyo keynote event.

Compaq fared the best during the month, with 45% market share and a 5% decline in sales. Competitors such as Dell are excluded from this report as all of Dellis sales are direct. Compaq has long held the #1 position in retail sales.