Massive Chinese Retail Expansion to Lead Off iPhone 5 Launch
When Steve Jobs reclaimed the corporate helm of Apple in 1997, he opted to use the retail channel as a primary way to improve the public face of company and the general presentation of its computers. In 2001, Apple opened its first brick-and-mortar retail store. Ten years later, there are more 300 stores worldwide - stores that helped generate some $3.5 billion in revenues during the company's 3rd fiscal quarter.
On Tuesday during Apple's quarterly earnings call, Apple's chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said that the Cupertino, California-based outfit reached new quarterly sales records of 20.3 million iPhones and 9.2 million iPads - a feat made possible in part by the growing retail presence of the company. But based on the comments made by Apple executives on yesterday's call, Apple has only scratched the surface of its retail endeavors.
As MMi reported July 13th
, Apple is now the fastest growing retailer in the US as measured by overall sales growth. In the first quarter of 2011, Apple captured a staggering 20% of all sales growth among publicly traded retailers. And now, possibly just weeks ahead of the new iPhone 5 launch, Apple is working overtime to build and bring online a fleet of new Apple stores in strategic global locations that will vastly increase the exposure and sales potential of the 5th generation device.
Yesterday, Apple's chief operations officer Tim Cook singled out China for what many analysts believe will be a long-term massive retail expansion effort. In fact, it was Cook who used the expression "just scratching the surface" when it came to talk of Apple's retail presence in China. For now, 25 additional Apple stores will open in China before the year's end. And most expect that number to vastly inflate in early 2012 as the iPhone 5 begins globe-hopping across the Asian Pacific.