How Apple Stores rewrote the rules of retailing

The retail industry has a hard case of Apple envy. For good reason. The maker of fashionable gadgets today celebrates 10 years since the launch of its first Apple Stores, marking a record run of sales and a new world order in retailing.”They grew faster than any other retailer in history” in the first three years, says Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail, who points to their numbers.Take last quarter’s results. Apple Stores’ sales shot up $1.5 billion, or 90%, to $3.2 billion in its fiscal second quarter compared with the same period a year earlier. It didn’t hurt that the maker of must-have iPhones, iPods and Mac computers cranked out another hot seller, the iPad. Apple sold nearly 4.7 million iPads in the quarter, and industry tracker iSuppli expects it to sell almost 44 million for the year. The attraction helped bring in 33% more store visitors during the quarter vs. a year ago. What other retailer has a following that will camp overnight in front of stores to be the first on the block with an iPad?

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