“The retail industry has a hard case of Apple envy,” Scott Martin reports for USA Today. “For good reason. The maker of fashionable gadgets today celebrates 10 years since the launch of its first Apple Stores, marking a record run of sales and a new world order in retailing… Industry watchers are now closely monitoring Apple amid widespread speculation that it’s secretly planning a splashy in-store update to launch soon at Apple Stores.”
“Apple CEO Steve Jobs tapped one person widely credited for the stores’ success: Ron Johnson. Now an industry icon, Johnson had just performed a makeover for Target before joining Apple as senior vice president of retail in 2000,” Martin reports. “His admirers say Johnson is humble and imaginative, and has a knack for bringing in the right people. But most of all, they say, he’s always looking for ways to improve the customer experience.”
Martin reports, “Design has set Apple Stores apart. Under Johnson, the company launched 323 retail stores, employing 30,200 worldwide. The company has 16 high-profile stores with design flair meant to promote the brand, such as its glass cube store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, which is open 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year… All of these consumer touch-points that Apple nails translated into sales per square foot of $4,406 in 2010, blowing past rivals, says Apple analyst Charles Wolf of Needham & Co. It doesn’t hurt that Apple sells one-of-a-kind products that people desire. ‘The products that Apple sells are very lustful,’ says Wolf.”
“Apple shows no signs of slowing,” Martin reports. “The company plans to open 40 new retail stores, three-fourths of them outside the U.S., in 2011.”
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MacDailyNews Take: Happy 10th Birthday, Apple Retail Stores! After 10 years, we still love going into Apple Stores, incognito, and talking with staff about Apple products or even just quietly observing customers and staff.