updated 05:20 pm EDT, Wed October 17, 2001
In Apple Fourth Fiscal Quarter '01 conference call, Apple CFO Fred Aderson said he was "very pleased" with the quarter, as Apple shipped over 850,000 Mac units, including 300,000 portables.
Its unit sales in the education market grew 14% year-over-year in the September compared with 7% year-over-year growth in the June quarter. As noted below, Apple's iBook sales tripled to the education market. The total number of iBooks shipped was 250,000 for the quarter. Apple said that its high-end, "very popular" Combo-drive iBook was in "short-supply" in the first part of the September quarter, but that the company finally caught up with demand and that it sold more iBooks through its worldwide channel than to the US education market. Growth for the education market over the entire year was 7%. Apple said that 43% of its revenue was generated from the Apple Store (compared with 40% in the last quarter and 26% in the prior year quarter).
Anderson said that Apple is on track to introduce new "very strong pipeline" of products over the next 12 months, including its first foray into the digital device market next Tuesday. Despite the slowing economy, Apple also said it had increased research and development spending by 13% over the last year.
Apple is also still on track to introduce 25 stores by year's end, including 15 by the of October (it has already opened 11 stores this month and 4 more are due later month). The majority of these are expected to be open by the holiday shopping season. Apple says it expects to post a slight loss on its retail stores for the December quarter, after initially predicting a break-even point December. Most of the reduced sales is due to the September 11th events and the decline in post-event consumer spending. Sales of third-party software were better than expected and Apple has doubled the number of software titles in each store to 600. Apple also noted that 70% of its sales at retail Apple Stores are of its better/best models.
Gross Margins were 30.1 percent this quarter, a significant increase from the 25.1 from the prior year quarter. Most of the savings was from decreasd memory and flat-panel display costs. Anderson said that operating costs were $384 million, which was lower-than-expected, but included 89 employees that were staffed in CompUSA stores across the country as well as the additional staff required for its retail stores. Apple said that gross margins are expected to decline next quarter due to pricing pressures and a greater mix of consumer products and that operating expenses are expected to increase next quarter due to increased advertising and holiday promotions. Apple also said that it the same headcount as last quarter and had planned to "across-the-board" layoffs: it trimmed from infrastructure and support, while increased its retail stores staff (as well as employees at CompUSA).