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Apple's Retail Ambush

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, December 13, 2001

Apple's ambush. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Apple Computer launched a new strategy this year... sell directly to consumers through its own line of retail stores. And the stores have been opening at a blistering pace... .with the company going from zero at the beginning of May... .to 26 now... with a 27th scheduled to open soon. Apple Retail Chief Operating Officer Kathie Calcidise...

"The response to the openings has been tremendous. We can count on anywhere from 800 to 15 hundred people showing up for each of our grand opening mornings and then certainly more during the day. We've had as many as 7 thousand people come through our stores opening day. It's very, very exciting. Thanksgiving weekend we had about a hundred and twenty thousand people visit our 22 stores that we had open at that time."

The retail store strategy isn't new... Gateway has been using its Country Stores to try to boost business. Gateway is a direct seller. Apple's complaint has been that it hasn't been given a fair shake by other retailers. Says Calcidise...

"We have five percent share of market and we're looking to get more of the other 95 percent and the way to do that is to build stores in high traffic locations where we can literally ambush customers who have not been into an Apple store and have not seen the product or have strayed away from the platform and we can encourage them to come back."

Calcidise isn't disclosing sales numbers... but says the rapid expansion shows Apple is pleased so far. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.