Apple plans 40 or 50 more store openings, next year

Apple announced it plans to open 40 to 50 retail stores next year as the consumer electronics giant expands its reach to customers.

More than half of the new stores will be outside the United States, with new outlets planned in London, Paris and two in Shanghai.

Speaking ahead of a store opening in New York, Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, said the company expects the holiday selling season to be a good one.

Apple now operates 280 stores in 10 countries

The stores posted revenue of $1.87 billion in the quarter, their highest level ever and up 9 percent from a year earlier.

Annual revenue per store is now around $26 million, Johnson said, or roughly $4,300 per square foot…

Apple arch-rival Microsoft Corp recently made a high-profile foray into retail, opening its first outlet in Arizona last month.

Asked about Microsoft, Johnson said, “retailing is hard … it’s nice to have a 10-year head start.”

Retail is very, very hard. A great deal of my business career was in wholesale and I could bore you to tears with the skills required to make that a success. Multiply the difficulty factor by 10 or more – for retail.

Disclaimer: Every few years I buy AAPL. Last couple times I sold it after I made 100%. I bought it last at $89 and I think I’ll hang onto it for a spell, this time.

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