When looking at the latest performance figures for Apple’s Retail Stores, “the pattern that seems to appear is one of a plateau or peaking of sales, especially when values are seen on a per-store basis. Revenues, employment and visitors per store are all flat or slightly down when seen on a seasonally adjusted basis (trailing four period average),” Horace Dediu reports for Asymco. “Profitability has been more steady over a long period, though more volatile in a short-term window.”

“Seen in isolation, Apple Stores would appear to be coming to a point of quiescence,” Dediu reports. “But… they should not be seen in isolation. Apple Stores mainly sell Apple products, so if Apple products slow then retail sales should also slow. Indeed, in 2007 Steve Jobs told Fortune that the Apple stores had been built to sell the iPhone and in 2010 Ron Johnson said the Apple stores had been built to sell the iPad. These statements were meant metaphorically but they are literally true when looking at what is actually sold.”

Dediu reports, “At the end of the day, the performance of the Apple stores depends on the performance of Apple’s portfolio of products. It stands to reason that as iOS units slow, Apple stores should as well. This is something Apple management should be well aware of. Therefore, if Apple were confident in the future of iOS it would be investing in retail (as it would in other capital projects like manufacturing.”

You need to see the usual excellent graphs in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: One thing to note is that a mall space in Sheboygan costs far less than a flagship store in Madrid. The types of retail projects that Apple has in the pipeline could mask what’s really happening. For example, Apple could have opened 20 retail stores in U.S malls one quarter, then opened only three the next, but those three were flagship stores in Paris, NYC, and Tokyo. The spend would have been higher for three stores than for 20, but the number of outlets would be a different story. So, using just Apple’s capital asset purchase totals for retail may not tell the whole story.