Apple's Same-Store Sales Are Flat and That's Great

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 9 2014 3:32 PM

Apple Shouldn't Sweat Same-Store Sales

452971703
Apple store

Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images

I enjoyed Jeff Chu's profile of Angela Ahrendts, Apple's new retail chief, but this skepticism about the health of the retail business as it exists seems unwarranted:

Yet Apple’s retail business has also fallen into relative stasis. Its per-square-foot sales are still the envy of retail—just over $6,000, about twice what runner-up Tiffany records—and net sales rose 7% in fiscal 2013, but per-store numbers were flat, since Apple opened 26 new stores during the year.
Advertisement

Per store sales trends are a key metric for almost any retailer. But if you're already the leader in sales per square foot it's really not so relevant. If you're actually double the per square foot number of the nearest competitor, then you're a ridiculous outlier and you should completely forget about it.

The world, it seems, could absorb more Apple stores. Potentially a lot more Apple stores. But if you open a store in downtown D.C., it'll to some extent cannibalize sales from existing locations in Pentagon City and Georgetown. If you open a store in Brooklyn, it'll to some extent cannibalize sales from existing locations in Manhattan. To the extent that you focus on same-store sales, this is the kind of thing that will impel you to slow your expansion. And that's something a lot of companies need to think about. But Apple's stores are so successful that it would be insane to get too hung up on these kind of cannibalization worries. The only question should be how quickly can they roll out new ones without excessively diluting the actual quality of the experience.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Everything You Should Know About Today’s Eclipse

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 11:51 AM It Seems No One Is Rich or Happy: I Looked
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 23 2014 1:46 PM The Real Secret of Serial Has Sarah Koenig made up her mind yet? 
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.