Apple to open a new Store every 50 hours before end of 2011 harvest

By Patrick Avenell (Follow me on Twitter)

Apple Retail Stores have attracted over one billion visitors since the first outlet was opened in Washington DC on 19 May 2001, according to a rare response to questions from Apple’s local PR team. Furthermore, more visitors will be accommodated for, with Apple planning to open new stores worldwide at a rapid rate.

With the announcement today of Apple’s 11th Australian Retail Store in Penrith, we contacted the famously secretive manufacturer to find out more about the company’s direct-to-consumer retail plans.

The response we received, whilst not exactly clear on the future, suggests that Apple’s push into storeland will continue at a steady, if not aggressive, pace.

“Apple Retail has been in business for 10 years. During this period, we have had over 1 billion visitors through our doors, many of whom are new to the Mac, as the Apple Store is the best place to learn about all the latest products from Apple,” said the spokesperson.

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When asked why Apple stores are so popular while at the same time retailers complain of soft conditions, we were told customer service was the key.

“Service is the hallmark of every Apple Store and the response from customers has been overwhelming. We had over 1 million customers sign-up for our Personal Setup offering last quarter alone.

As for the future, Apple plans on adding to its current global count of 330 stores.

“Our retail offering continues to growth, with Penrith the 11th store in Australia, since we opened Apple Store Sydney just three years ago. Globally we are planning to have 363 stores in fiscal 2011.”

When asked for clarification on what ‘fiscal 2011’ referred to, the Apple spokesperson said “The Apple fiscal year ends [25 September]”, which seems to imply the company has transcended the US Government’s sanctioned financial year (1 October 2010 to 30 September 2011) in favour of its own harvest season.

With the Apple fiscal year ending on 25 September 2011, that means Apple will be opening a new retail store, on average, every 50 hours until that date.

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