It appears that even Apple underestimated how popular their retail stores would be. Their original vision is proving too small, as the stored are filled with crowds looking for iPhone, iPads, and Macs.
When the company’s retail operations began 11 years ago, Apple initially targeted 6,000-square-foot stores as the ideal size, according to analyst Charlie Wolf with Needham & Company. As of Apple’s fiscal 2011 10-K report, Apple’s retail stores are now slightly larger, at 8,400 square feet per store.
But, according to Wolf, Apple’s retail stores are still “bulging at the seams”. The number of visitors on a per-store basis has grown at a 15.3 percent annual rate. Proving that the initial vision of 6,000 sq. ft. per store was way too small.
The original plan also called for Apple to open around 100 stores. Yet, at the end of the March quarter, Apple had a total of 363 retail stores open for business.
“The company has had to rethink this strategy as the crowds have grown,” Wolf wrote in a note to investors on Tuesday. “Apple is moving some existing stores to larger locations.”
Apple is currently expanding its Lower Manhattan store, building a new, larger store in Palo Alto, California, and is in the process of building even larger new stores. The new megastores include a 30,000-square-foot space in London’s, Covent Garden, a 16,000-square-foot store in the Pudong district of Shanghai, and a 20,000-square foot space in New York City’s historic Grand Central Terminal.