Though they’re a new and expensive undertaking, Apple retail stores are expected to break even by the end of the holiday shopping season and show a slight profit next year, Apple Chief Financial Officer Fred Anderson said today.
What’s more, the company’s retail investment (such as expenses and capital investment) has already been included in current Wall Street “guidance,” so there should be no negative fallout in this area.
Apple isn’t commenting or projecting sales from the line of retail stores. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that the company is new at the retail game, adding that “we’ll let you know when we know” about sales.
However, the cost of launching the stores isn’t as much as some reports have mentioned, he said. One newspaper article said that Apple would pay US $500,000 per month in rent for its new Tysons Corner store in McLean, VA. That’s actually $500,000 per YEAR, Jobs said.
Besides attracting new customers to the Mac platform, the stores may also offer a good opportunity for Apple to attract current Mac users into upgrading. According to company estimates, 11 million of its 25 million users own G3 or G4 systems. This leaves a big opportunity to sell newer models.
Still, Apple realizes that the store can’t accomplish everything with its new stores. For this reason, Apple will offer a “concierge-like” service by referring people to other folks and firms in the local Apple community to tackle things the retail stores aren’t equipped for, according to Ron Johnson, Apple’s new senior vice president of retailing.