Charlie Wolf: The launch of the iPhone 4S sent Apple Store sales ‘into the stratosphere’

In terms of revenue per sq. ft., think Tiffany's (its nearest rival) multiplied nearly threefold

Apple Stores are always busy places, but they tend to go crazy when a major new product is launched. With the arrival of the iPhone 4S, writes Needham's Charlie Wolf in his tenth annual report on the state of Apple's (aapl) retail empire, they went absolutely nuts.

The numbers for the quarter that ended Dec. 31:

  • Revenue per store: a record $17.08 million, $5 million better than Dec. 2010
  • Same store sales: up 42.6% year over year
  • Sales per square foot: $2,033 for the quarter, or an annualized rate of $8,133 (Tiffany's: $2,974 per sq. ft.)
  • Visitors per store: up 15.3% annualized
  • Share of Apple's worldwide revenue 13.2%
  • International sales: 58% of Apple's worldwide total
  • Stores at the end of the quarter: 361
  • Square feet per store: 8,400, up from 6,000 ten years ago
  • Stores planned for fiscal 2012: 40 total, about 30 overseas
  • Stores planned for China: 25 over the next 3 years, up from 5 today

Below: Wolf's chart of quarterly store revenue over the past 9 years. The spikes, he says, correspond to the "exploding popularity" of the iPod, the introduction of the iPhone, and the launch of the iPad, respectively.

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