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Third-Party iPhone/iPad Resellers Drive Traffic Away from Apple Stores

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Apple Store sales dropped 3.3% during the September quarter, but the numbers are still better than the previous quarter, when same-store sales were down 9.6%, Needham & Company’s Charlie Wolf has highlighted on Monday morning in his note to investors (via AppleInsider).

Looking at the numbers, Wolf has pointed to rising same-store revenues, which were up for non-Mac products, while Mac unit sales dropped 15.1%. You may recall that Tim Cook emphasized that he wants push in-store iPhone sales. Well, this is about to happen – we can assume – as Apple has tapped Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as its head of retail. While we won’t see her until next spring, we can expect her to accelerate Apple Store sales.

As Wolf highlights, Apple Store sales have become “increasingly hostage to Apple’s overall distribution and product strategies.”

The analyst sees a potential growth in Apple’s next battlefield, China: during his visit to China early last year, Tim Cook highlighted the importance of the country to Apple, and shared the company’s plans to open more retail stores.

While this year wasn’t exactly the best for Apple in terms of Chinese sales, as it lost market share to competition, Wolf sees the Apple Store openings as great news, which will help Apple sales gain traction in the country. His reasoning is simple: Apple Stores are a crucial component of the company’s business – the “face” of the brand.

Apple has opened 27 new stores in fiscal 2013, bringing up to the total of retail lease square feet to 4.6 million. The retail segment has generated more than $20 billion in revenue during fiscal 2013, and the number of visitors is growing year by year. In 2013, 395 million visitors entered Apple’s Retail Stores.

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