Apple tops retail charts

28 February 2012

NEW YORK: Apple, the electronics giant, is the number one US retailer when it comes to getting maximum sales from its stores, ahead of Tiffany & Co and Coach.

For new research, RetailSails, the insights provider, tracked 178 chains in the US, collectively boasting 200,000 branches covering 4.6bn square feet, and which have generated $1.5tr over the last four years.

The company found that 92% of retail revenues - excluding the automotive, petrol and restaurant categories - are still attributable to bricks and mortar outlets, despite the rise of ecommerce.

Apple recorded the strongest sales per square foot, on $5,647. The organisation's per store figures reached $44.4m, and it also took fifth position on the list of fastest-growing players, as returns had climbed by 70.5% in the last 12 months.

Second place on RetailSails' chart went to Tiffany & Co, the premium jewellery firm, which delivered $3,085 in sales per square foot from its stores during the course of 2011.

Coach, the handbag and accessories specialist, was on $1,824 per square foot, and plans to target male shoppers in its flagship stores and the other outlets where it trades, alongside creating "dual-gender" branches going forward.

"We need to really work through the entire fleet in Full Price in North America alone. That's 350 stores. We're doing that work today, and we have traction in each of the formats, which gives us a path for growth," said Michael Tucci, its president, North American retail.

Also performing well were Lululemon Athletica, which sells yoga-inspired sportswear, on $1,800 per square foot, and True Religion, the denim group, on $1,096.

CostCo's membership warehouses logged the highest sales per store on $131.4m, beating Sam's Club on $74.2m. While CostCo is keen to develop its ecommerce capabilities, this channel currently yields around 2.5% of revenues at present.

"We recognise that this is a very profitable business, as a percent of sales it's more profitable than our whole company overall," said Richard Galanti, CostCo's CFO. "But keep in mind ...our goal is to get you in the store with the giant chickens, and the gasoline and everything else."

The fastest-growing players included loft, the female fashion chain owned by Ann Taylor, up 161% year on year, topping Joe's Jeans, which expanded by 115%, and Vera Bradley, in the bag and accessories category, up by 97%.

Data sourced from RetailSail/24/7 Wall Street/Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff