Today marks the 13th anniversary of the opening of Apple’s first retail stores. The first store opened at 10AM Eastern Time on May 19, 2001 at Tyson’s Corner Center in McClean, Virginia. The second second opened three hours later at 10AM Pacific Time at Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California.
While hindsight is 20/20, it still gives us a chuckle when we think of how the move was considered to be a risky one at the time the stores opened. Numerous scribes believed there was no way for the retail stores to ever become profitable.
Businessweek ran a story entitled Sorry Steve, Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work and TheStreet.com chimed in with a piece headlined Apple’s Scrapping the Bottom of the Barrel.
Currently, there are 424 Apple Stores worldwide, with 254 of them in the U.S. The stores have proven to be the most profitable retail spaces in the world, as they earn over $6,000 per square foot each year, surpassing even Tiffany’s.
The above graphic shows the growth of the Apple retail store chain over the last 13 years. There is also an interactive version of this graphic available at Retale, which allows you to zoom in and hover over store locations to read the details. Retale also has another map that shows the global growth of Apple’s retail stores.