Apple is known for sweating the smallest details in its retail stores: the floors come from a family-owned quarry outside of Florence, Italy; the glass staircases are made with the help of companies from Massachusetts, New York and Germany; and the glass cube that makes up the entrance of the Fifth Avenue store cost Apple $6.7 million. However, it appears new Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts has one more thing to worry about: body odor. More →
Apple’s first foray into retail was a giant question mark on May 19th, 2001, when Apple opened the doors to its first two retail locations in Glendale, CA and McLean, VA. Ten years later, Apple’s retail stores are a crucial piece of the puzzle that has been assembled to create a customer experience unlike any other. “Apple today announced that its first two retail locations welcomed over 7700 people and sold a combined total of $599,000 of merchandise during their first two day weekend,” an Apple press release boasted on May 21st, 2001. Despite the solid weekend, several media outlets lambasted Apple for its decision to target high-rent areas with its first flock of retail shops while Gateway had just closed the doors on its retail endeavor. “I give them two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake,” one analyst was quoted as saying following Apple’s retail debut.
But the company was still optimistic. “We are blown away with the numbers,” CEO Steve Jobs said following the stores’ opening weekend. “More importantly, customers have told us they love everything about the store—from the knowledgeable sales staff to the Genius Bar to the store’s design and unique approach to presenting digital lifestyle solutions.” In fiscal 2009, Apple Stores grossed $6.65 billion globally for $1.66 billion in profit. In fiscal 2010, Apple’s retail stores pulled in $2.36 billion in profit on $9.8 billion in revenue. So far over the first six months of fiscal 2011, Apple has made $1.84 billion in profit on revenues of $7.04 billion. Apple’s gravity defying retail performance can’t keep climbing forever, but from where we’re sitting, opening those first few Apple Stores 10 years ago seems like it worked out pretty well. And we’re fairly confident Apple still has a few tricks up its sleeve to ensure that the crowds keep coming. Hit the break for a video of Steve Jobs introducing the world to Apple’s first Apple Store. More →
While it seems that most are flipping a coin as to whether or not the upcoming iPhone will have NFC capabilities, BGR has just been given some information from multiple Apple sources that could possibly sway the argument in favor of an imminent NFC-capable iPhone… contrary to recent reports. First off, Apple’s POS devices — its iPod touch-based wireless payment terminals — recently all went offline for “maintenance” for an entire day, leaving customers unable to purchase some items or return merchandise. Additionally, we have been told that there were recently multiple “overnights” in Apple retail locations, which required store employees to “assist in installing TBD devices” throughout the stores “as the retail segment of Apple grows.” Lastly, sources tell us that there have been new tables installed in stores that have different wiring compared to Apple’s standard tables. They also have cash wraps built in, but they aren’t being used yet and employees have been instructed to wait for further information. What does all this mean? We have a feeling Apple’s 10th anniversary plans might put a few pieces of the puzzle in place, but one of our sources also believes that NFC payment processing capabilities are among the enhancements that will be brought about by the new gear.