updated 04:00 pm EST, Wed January 28, 2009
Needham on Apple Stores
The global recession is having a serious impact on Apple's retail performance, says Needham & Co.'s Charlie Wolf. The researcher claims that while Apple Stores have for years done better than most retail chains, visitors per store fell 1.8 percent year-over-year in December, while same-store revenues dropped 17.4 percent. Mac shipments are said to have slid an average of 17.5 percent, while combined non-Mac revenues fell 10 percent.
Sales are unlikely to resume normal levels, says Wolf, until the worst of the recession is over. Apple Stores are believed to be instrumental in luring Windows users to the Mac however, due to a combination of free after-sales services and paid teaching sessions; Wolf observes that nearly half of the 515,000 Macs sold in stores during the December quarter were bought by people from a Windows background, in turning representing nearly 25 percent of all converts from Windows during the period.
The decline of same-store figures is also believed to be affected as much by Apple's rapid expansion during 2008, which lessened the average take for each location.