By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
December 1, 2008

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster and his research team spent 10 hours counting Mac and iPhone sales in five Apple retail stores during the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy, and this is what they saw:

  • Discounts on seven items (including some Macs but no iPhones) that averaged about 8% off.
  • Mac sales that averaged 13 units per hour per store, up from 2 per hour clocked earlier in November.
  • iPhone sales that averaged 3.4 per hour (not including iPhone gift cards), up from 1.3 per hour .
  • Munster’s conclusion: Macs are selling better than expected this holiday season; iPhone sales are in line with expectations, although they were probably undercounted.

In the “investment recommendation” section of the report, which was e-mailed to clients early Monday morning, Munster slips in an explanation of how he can maintain a target of $250 a share in the face of Apple’s AAPL precipitous 12-month decline.

His target is based on 20 times earnings, which is in line with other analysts. But rather than using the usual EPS, based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), he’s using Apple’s non-GAAP earnings, which include revenue from iPhones that would otherwise be booked over two years.

Apple shares opened Monday at 89.91 and headed south in early trading.

For more holiday sales results, see Apple’s Black Friday bestsellers.

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