Retail Stores’ Importance Highlighted

August 17, 2007

A review of the financial figures of Apple Inc. starting before the opened the first retail stores in May 2001 shows the impact of the chain on the company’s performance. The stores operated at a loss for the first seven quarters they were open, but then began slowly turned into the black. Profit started at just $1 million in the fourth quarter of 2003, but jumped to $45 million by the first quarter of 2005. The Retail segment’s overall contribution to the company’s revenues also increased over those first four years, starting at just three or four percent, but reaching 16 percent by the first quarter of 2005.

Profit and loss have gone up and down since Q1 2005, influenced by the retail selling seasons. The first quarter of 2006 generated $90 in profit, based on huge holiday sales, but slipped back to $29 million the very next quarter. Since then profits have been as high as $89 million and as low as $32 million.

In the latest quarter, Apple changed its accounting rules so that its profit takes into account different cost of sales. The latest profits total $184 million.As for percentage contribution since 2005, it’s been as high as 19.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, and a low as 14.5 in the second quarter of 2006. It now seems to have settled into the range of 15 to 16 percent.

The chart below show the Retail segment’s contribution to Apple’s revenues, starting when the first stores opened in May, 2001: the blue chart speculates what Apple’s results would look like if they had not opened retail stores, and developed not other additional sales outlets. The green chart shows Apple’s actual revenues, with the benefit of the Retail segment revenues. More “green” is visible since 2002, and the two tall spikes in 2006 and 2007 are more prominent with the Retail revenues. 

Click here for a larger version of the chart.

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