Gadgets
Apple to Open 25 Stores, Remodel 100 Others Despite Recession
Saying it wants to “invest in the downturn,” it aims to increase product display space and facilitate customer training.
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Shown is Apple’s 5th Avenue store. The company plans to open a fourth New York City store soon.
May 29, 2009 by Tom LeBlanc

Whether you like Apple or not, you have to admit that the company has nerve.

No, we’re not referring to the audacious (but sometimes annoying) “I’m a Mac; I’m a PC” ads. We’re referring to Apple’s plans to open 25 new retail stores and remodel 100 others during a recession.

You often hear about how companies ought to invest in their business during an economic downturn. Apple is doing it.

The goal, according to USA Today, is to revamp 100 stores this year to create more product display area and better facilitate customer training. The 25 new stores will include a fourth New York City location, one in Paris and stores in Italy and Germany.

Other prominent electronics retailers haven’t been so bold during the recession. Best Buy recently closed several of its Magnolia specialty stores and hinted at scaling back some sales associates pay rates.

We all know what happened to Circuit City and Tweeter.

“We know that a lot of people are cutting back, but we’re doing the opposite,” Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, told USA Today. “We’re investing in the downturn.”

It’s not as much of a downturn for Apple as many other electronics manufacturers or retailers. It reported a 15 percent gain in its Q2 2009, which was largely fueled by iPhone unit sales (up 123 percent) and over 11 million iPod sales (up 3 percent).

It did, however, report a 3 percent decline in Mac computer sales.

All in all, CFO Peter Oppenheimer said Apple’s finances are “very robust, with almost $29 billion in cash and marketable securities on our balance sheet” when commenting on the Q2 performance.

“Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter of 2009, we expect revenue in the range of about $7.7 billion to $7.9 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about $.95 to $1.00.”

This probably helps justify the investment its retail stores.

However, Johnson tells USA Today that the recession has affected store traffic. He says it’s not as strong as last year (second-generation iPhone probably set a high standard) but still strong.

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