Apple’s #1 in Bricks and Mortar retailing

Following our recent disappointment that Apple were deemed to be ineligible as a retail brand we are today delighted to discover them dominating the 2011 Retail Chain Stores Productivity Report pdf.

“ Though they entered the retail arena just 10 years ago, Apple dominates with sales per square foot nearly double that of its closest rival and manages to crack the top 10 in all 3 lists.”

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The RetailSails report covers 178 US based chains. Apples ranking/performance is:

  • Sales – per square foot pa / 1st               $5,647
  • Sales – per store / 9th                            $44.4 million
  • Growth – year on year / 5th                     70.5%

We think this is quite staggering when one considers the context and competition. Again quoting from the report “In this report, we analyze the store productivity of 178 U.S.-based retail chains. This cross-section of retailers spans 16 sectors and collectively these companies operate over 200,000 stores with more than 4.6 billion square feet of store space, and generated over $1.5 trillion in retail store sales over the past 4 quarters.”

The Luxury goods and fashion retailers trail Apple by significant distances. In per square foot comparisons, Tiffany are in 2nd position and achieve 55% then Coach and Lululemon Athletica  are at about 32%.

Looking closer to home, probably, the greatest UK global retail success in the last decade is Burberry.  Their comparative performance (sales per square foot) was stated to be $1,570 (£1,000) about six months ago which in ranking terms would place them in 5th place and be 28% of Apples figure. In absolute terms these figures are all the more remarkable when certain chains appear to be surviving with figures of less than $100 per square  foot and some others have annual store sales of less than $500k.

Apple’s retail success was achieved under Ron Johnson’s stewardship as Senior VP of Retail. He fairly recently moved to become CEO of J C Penney who languish (comparatively) at  $146 per square foot. It will be interesting to see if he can turn them round – he has ambitious plans. Replacing him at Apple is, our very own,   ex CEO of Dixon’s,  John Browett . We think he will have his work cut out simply to maintain Apple’s existing ranking and performance although their iScreen, iVision or iTV could help!

For an in-store experience we, previously, posted a walk round  their Grand Central terminal store on its opening which is a reminder of their retailing excellence.

Update 3.15pm GMT

And for some nostalgia, this is how it all started, here’s Steve Jobs introduction to the Apple store back in 2001.

Update 7.30pm GMT

Please join us for an invitation-only event at the Yerba Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco on March 7 at 10:00 a.m. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. Please arrive early.

Selected journalists received this earlier today from Apple with a picture of part of an iPad with the words “We have something you really have to see. And touch.”

More to follow from us, before the event, as speculation is rife & the share price is currently up around $7  at $533 and rising!

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