Solid Financials for Stores, Record Sales of Macs

October 25, 2012

The Apple retail stores continue to be a significant and reliable contributor to the company’s financial success, racking up a couple of records while posting revenues of $4.23 billion for the final quarter of 2012, an increase both sequentially and year-over-year. Store profit for the quarter was $848 million. The stores now contribute about 12 percent of Apple’s quarterly revenue and about 14 percent of its profit. As for reliability, store revenues have never declined compared to the previous year’s quarter, although they have fluctuated on a sequential basis. Overall, Apple reported revenues of $35.9 billion and a profit of $8.2 billion, strong figures fueled by iPhone and iPad sales, company executives said. Significantly, in the face of an eight percent global PC sales decline, the retail stores sold more Macs than ever before—1,109,000. Furthermore, the stores’ contribution of total company Mac unit sales also set a new record of 22.5 percent. In a conference call with analysts, CFO Peter Oppenheimer mentioned the recent expansion of the chain into Sweden, and the grand opening of a second store in Hong Kong, Festival Walk, calling it “our biggest store opening of the year.” However, he did not mention any future stores or how many would open during fiscal 2013. He did say the retail stores welcomed the second highest number of visitors for any quarter (94 million), an average of 19,400 weekly visitors per store.

For the trivia-minded, Apple’s contribution of Mac unit sales during Q4 2012 was 22.53 percent of total sales, beating the previous record of 22.50 percent in Q4 2010.

The new Macintosh unit sales record indicates the stores are increasingly busy. Unlike sales of accessories or even iPads, handling a computer sale, setting up the various computer accounts and transferring data upon request is a time-consuming operation. But instead of adding personnel who might be needed to handle these increased Mac sales, recent reports say that Sr. V-P Retail John Browett has been attempting to trim staffing and costs, all intended to increase the retail segment’s profit margin.

Update: In a financial report filed a week later, Apple said it would open 30 to 35 new stores during FY 2013, with about “three-quarters” of those outside the United States. The report also said the company expects retail-related capital expenditures to total $850 million for the fiscal year, compared to $865 million in FY 2012. Lastly, there were 42,400 full-time equivalent retail employees at the end of FY 2012.

The retail chain hit a new record of Mac sales in the latest quarter, 1,109,000, part of up-and-down growth over the past three years. Prior to 2009, sales of Macs increased slowly.

The contribution of Mac unit sales by the retail stores gradually increased from 2002, the first year the figure was reported, until Apple change accounting rules at the end of 2009. For some reason, retail store sales of Macs then jumped from 291,000 to 689,000. Now the retail contribution percentage ranges between 19% and 23% of total sales.

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