Apple Inc. (AAPL) will open its newest retail store with an 8,500 square feet retail space in New York tomorrow. The store will help Apple deliver more Macs, iPods and iPhones, taking advantage of the coming holiday season. The new store is the fourth in Manhattan and fifteenth in New York.
To ensure a high-quality buying experience for its products, in which service and education are emphasized, the company has expanded and improved its distribution capabilities by opening its own retail stores in the U.S. and internationally.
The company operates a network of 280 retail stores in 10 countries across the world, including the U.S., U.K., Italy, Australia, Canada, Japan, China, Switzerland, Germany and France to drive the demand for its other products. Further, Apple is soon to open two new stores in Shanghai as well as London and Paris.

The company further plans to open 40 to 50 new larger retail stores next year, about half of which are expected to be outside the U.S. Apple had earlier estimated that it would open 25 to 50 new stores.

Retail sales increased 4.0% to $6.57 billion (averaging $26.0 million per store annually). Store traffic grew to around 170 million in fiscal 2009. The company has extended its footprint in international retail markets. Growing its presence in the international retail market, Apple opened its first store in Sydney and Beijing and opened stores in Switzerland, France and Germany during the calendar year 2008. 

Apple’s business strategy leverages its ability, through the design and development of its own operating system, hardware and many software applications and technologies, to provide its customers around the world with compelling new products and solutions, superior ease-of-use, seamless integration and innovative industrial design.
To attract customers during the holiday season, the company plans to offer gift-wrapping of any iPod or portable Mac for just $5. It will also allow customers to set aside a gift and pick it up at their local Apple store for free from Dec. 15 to Christmas Eve.

Apple’s stores hosted 42.7 million visitors during the last quarter, an increase of 7% from the year-ago period. The stores posted revenue of $1.87 billion ($7.6 million per store) in the quarter, the highest level ever and up 15% from the year-ago period.

Last month, Microsoft Corp (MSFT) announced the opening of its own first retail store in Arizona. But we do not expect Microsoft to catch up anytime.

We maintain our Outperform rating on Apple, partly because of the remarkable success of the Apple Store.
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