Praises Apple's Retail Strategy has posted a ringing endorsement of Appleis retail strategy that says Appleis retail stores will help push Apple out of its 5% market share niche. The article looks at a variety of issues including Appleis financial strength, the companyis unique position, and other related factors. From the article:

Last week I toured Appleis fifth retail store, located in Schaumburg, Ill., with a group of analysts and reporters. After seeing the store, Iim convinced that Appleis retail strategy could finally help the company grow beyond its 5% niche. By opening retail stores in areas with existing foot-traffic (all six current locations are in high-profile shopping malls), Apple hopes to raise consumer awareness of its products.

In its most recent 10-Q statement, Apple disclosed that it plans to spend $85 million to build out its first 25 stores, and the firm has signed store leases valued at $203 million. In addition, Apple will incur the costs of paying employees and stocking the stores. Can Apple afford the stores? Absolutely. Apple has around $4 billion in cash and investments (and no debt) on its balance sheet, so the price tag on the stores isnit much of a problem. In fact, I think that investors are more likely to get a better return on the store investment than they would if Apple were to keep that money in the bank, generating a small amount of interest.]

Apple Isnit Gateway?
Furthermore, other computer makers have found that computer retailing isnit as easy as it looks. After all, isnit Gateway still having problems competing with Dell and Compaq, despite its big retail push? And wasnit Gateway already closing some of its underperforming stores?

Well yes, and yes.

But there are critical differences between Apple and Gateway. Most importantly, Apple is not a victim of the PC price war. Of all the PC vendors, Apple is in a unique position because it does not have to play the pricing game on Dellis terms.

Thee is a lot more that we did not quote, and itis a very good read.