EXPERIENTIAL RETAIL AT ITS BEST

Readers of this blog — and both my books — know how much I admire the experience of the Apple retail stores, especially the Genius Bars. Apple's strategy of connecting with their customers one-on-one is certainly paying off, according to this Bloomberg article:

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, increased revenue at its stores by 2.5 percent in the first six months of the year to $3 billion as the rest of the retail industry suffered. During the same period, sales at all U.S. retailers fell 9.2 percent compared with the first half of 2008, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Even more interesting is how valuable the Apple retail space is on 5th Avenue in New York:

Apple’s Fifth Avenue emporium probably has annual sales of more than $350 million, topping any of the chain’s other outlets, said Jeffrey Roseman, executive vice president of real- estate broker Newmark Knight Frank Retail in New York. The location is 10,000 square feet, putting its sales per square foot at a minimum of $35,000, based on Roseman’s estimate.

That’s the equivalent of selling one Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan per square foot. Apple may be the highest grossing retailer ever on Fifth Avenue, said Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of the retail leasing and sales division at Manhattan-based Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Apple doesn’t disclose store-specific revenue, said Amy Bessette, a spokeswoman at the company.

By comparison, the sales floor at Tiffany & Co. sells as much as $18,000 per square foot, Consolo said. Another famous Fifth Avenue jeweler, Harry Winston Diamond Corp., sells between $12,000 and $13,000, she said. When asked to comment on Consolo’s estimate, a spokesman at New York-based Tiffany said the number was too high. Toronto-based Harry Winston doesn’t provide individual-store performance figures, said a company spokesman.

So next time a client begins to doubt the experiential engagement model, take a trip to NYC and show them the best and greatest retail operation in history.

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