Contributing to Apple’s record Macintosh sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, sales of Mac computers at Apple’s retail stores rocketed to its own record of 1.1 million, up 25 percent from the same period of last year. The stores also hosted a record number of visitors in the quarter, 77.5 million compared to 74.5 million for the same quarter of 2010. But overall, the retail stores posted $3.6 billion in sales, just off the record $3.85 billion of last year’s holiday quarter. Profit for the stores totaled $679 million for the quarter, up significantly from last year, but down significantly from the $1 billion record of Q1 2011. Company revenue totaled $28.27 billion, with a profit of $6.6 billion, neither one a record. Mac sales totaled 4.89 million, a growth rate over six times the rate of PCs in general during the period. During a conference call with analysts today, CFO Peter Oppenheimer said the Mac sales record was set primarily from purchases from portable, which made up 74% of all Macs sold. Other figures were flat or down, he said, because of customers’ “tough comparisons” with other smartphones last year, and by speculation about a new iPhone this year. Oppenheimer said the company will open about 40 stores during fiscal 2012, with “approximately three-quarters” outside the United States. He said Apple will also be expanding several stores that are “too constrained to deliver our desired customer experience.” Cook did not mention which locations would be expanded, nor did he mention any imminent store openings, such as the Grand Central Terminal (NYC) or Valencia (Spain) stores. Oppenheimer reiterated that the new IFC Mall (Hong Kong) and other China stores are the highest-traffic locations in the chain, and among the highest revenue locations in the chain. View the full charts and graphs.
Overall revenues were down, including at the retail stores, primarily because rumors of a new iPhone model convinced shoppers to wait, instead of buying. Analysts questioned why retail revenue and average per-store revenues were nearly flat, and why profits were lower. However, the record number of store visitors and record Mac sales seem to indicate the stores are still strong contributors to Apple’s sales operation. For one possible explanation for the revenue stagnation, check Horace Dediu’s blog.