Apple Retail Stores ‘bulging at the seams’ at 8400 average square feet; expansion needed

“Apple’s original vision for its retail operations is proving too small, as the company’s stores are continuously mobbed with crowds looking to buy iPhones, iPads and Macs,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider.

“When the company’s retail operations began 11 years ago, Apple initially targeted 6,000-square-foot stores as the ideal size, according to analyst Charlie Wolf with Needham & Company. As of Apple’s fiscal 2011 10-K report, Apple’s retail stores are now slightly larger, at 8,400 square feet per store,” Hughes reports. “But even as they have grown, Apple’s retail stores are still “bulging at the seams,” according to Wolf. That’s because the number of visitors on a per-store basis has grown at a 15.3 percent annual rate, making the initial vision of 6,000-square-foot store just too small.”

Hughes reports, “Apple’s initial plans also called for the company to open around 100 stores. But at the end of the March quarter, Apple had a total of 363 retail stores open, with a third of them overseas. ‘The company has had to rethink this strategy as the crowds have grown,’ Wolf wrote in a note to investors on Tuesday. ‘”Apple is moving some existing stores to larger locations.'”

Read more in the full article here.

24 Comments

  1. Every time I go into an Apple store it is crowded. On the other hand every time I go into Best Buy, it is very empty and they have Apple products. What gives? Why is Best Buy so unsuccessful?

    1. A nice problem for Apple to have. Best Buys are huge because they are a jack of all consumer electronics trade, or, an Amazon goods show room.

      1. Interesting comment, I have gone into a best buy to look at a physical product, only to source it from the net.

        Makes me wonder if a “refundable cover charge” would help Best Buy and their dwindling receipts.

        Guy at the door captures credit card and charges $2 bucks. When you buy, they deduct the cover from your total?

        I hate this idea, BTW. BUT it is an interesting exercise, I wonder if it has ever been tried?

  2. The stores are essentially empty- most of the software is gone and what little hardware is geared toward iOS. The employee turnover has increased and the quality has slipped.

    I used to go when there was a reason to.

  3. The time has come for Apple to go into the real estate business – with an experienced partner – a 12-15,000 square foot Apple Store would make more sense as a mall anchor these days than Sears or Macy’s or Penny’s – or Best Buy 😉

    BTW anchor stores get not only prime location but very low rental cost…

  4. No! Sony tried the bigger store. It didn’t work
    You are much better off with more smaller stores. It is much more intimate. Even when crowded, you feel a part of something special. The 6-8k ft is an ideal size for the numer of products. Don’t like crowds? Buy on line

    So, when big stores have 20 customers they look empty. When an Apple store has 20 customers it feels exciting.

    1. I agree! Keep the stores about the size they are now but have more of them. If there was only one huge store and it was across the city I wouldn’t go too often. But if there are many stores and one is near by then I’m much more likely to go. Having X amount of people in a smaller store looks better and more inviting then having the same amount of people in a huge store which by comparison looks empty.

      1. Yes, keep them the same size but make more of them. I visited an Apple store in the midwest (Kansas City?) that was huge. It was nice but seemed too large. Even in one mall it might be better to have two smaller stores, one at each end or on different levels.

  5. The biggest Apple store in Seattle at University Village, got rid of their theater and replaced it with a Genius Bar. I miss that, but I understand why they did it because that store is always packed with people every time I’ve been in for the past 3 years. I’d like to see them open a 2nd floor with a new theater like the store in San Francisco.

    1. Interesting. I’ve never been to the University Village store just the Bellevue Square store, which is always packed. I thought they were planning on moving the Bellevue store to a different area in the mall that was bigger, but maybe that was a rumor. I’ll have to check out the UVillage store sometime. Too bad they still don’t have the theatre.

  6. If there’s one thing (aside from size) that Apple stores need to deal with it’s noise. My local Apple store is deafening when crowded. I had to leave on the middle of a training session because I couldn’t hear. All surfaces are hard and reflect sound. I don’t mind being in a crowd but do mind a deafening din.

    At least the ceilings should be covered with some sort of sound absorbing material. I wouldn’t want to work in an Apple store until that happens – I plan to hold on to my hearing until old age.

    1. Be careful about complaining about things like the noise at Apple Stores here, Jroy. I complained a few months ago that, although I still love to go to the Apple Stores, of which there are 5 within a reasonable distance of me, I didn’t like that occasionally they were too hot at the back or that they actually smelled a little rank with the crush of bodies and what would be, I assume, inadequate ventilation. People here said I must be the one that brought the smell and that I was hating on the Apple Store, and no amount of explanation on my part made a difference.

      Just a warning.

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