Apple Goes Soft in Fourth Quarter – 2/4/09
Apple Stores open at least a year saw customer traffic fall off 1.8 percent in the December quarter and sales drop 17.4 percent, according to Charlie Wolf, a hardware analyst with Needham.
Mr. Wolf said that visitors to Apple Stores during the holidays “were not in a spending mood.”
This has to be a concern to Apple, which a Barron’s article points out, sells computers and other gadgetry that tends to be more expensive than competitive products on the market.
A falloff by Apple has to be a concern to mall owners and managers since the chain has consistently attracted consumers and registered sales that Mr. Wolf said were “undoubtedly the highest among retail chains in the country.”
Discussion questions: Is there cause for concern for Apple Store operations? Where do you see opportunities for Apple to benefit during the economic downturn?
Despite the universal falloff in retail spending across all categories, including luxury retailers, it will shock many to see Apple participate in the malaise. To this point their focused vision, gorgeous stores, innovative products and flawless execution have enabled them to deliver stunning results and to this point defy the economic downturn.
I believe that this is not a major long term concern for Apple. It is merely the reality that consumers are cutting back on all but the essentials, including iPods and other cool Apple products. The relatively small drop in visits (-1.8%) shows that people still love the product but just can’t part with the money at the moment – but will be back to buy as their confidence in their financial situation improves. Apple has the financial strength to weather this storm – which for them will be relatively brief compared to the majority of boring me-too retailers out there.
Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist
Go to the full discussion at RetailWire.com:
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