Forget about the surge in Apple's (AAPL) market cap. The consumer electronics store is about to open a store in Alaska, a sign of just how far and wide demand for the company's products has grown. Several media reports, based on conversations with Apple, say that new store will be open in the the Anchorage 5th Avenue mall.
Other stores that will open on Saturday include one in Murray, Utah, as well as international stores in Canada, Italy and Australia. With the new Alaska and Utah stores, Apple will now have 240 stores in the U.S.
Why Does Apple Need Stores?
The new location begs the question of why Apple has its own stores at all. Companies such as AT&T (T) and Best Buy (BBY) sell Apple products at their retail outlets, and all Apple products can be purchased online. Apple's extensive online "store" offers free shipping within 24 hours, and even rival Amazon (AMZN) sells Apple products at Amazon.com.
Of course, the brick-and-mortar stores are incredibly successful, in terms of sales. Whether the retail operations make money after lease and personnel costs is another matter.
But Apple must believe that some customers want to look at or feel the company's products. That is not so strange. Many people will not buy products sight unseen. Apple's stores also have award-winning service. Employees at the retail locations apparently receive rigorous training so that they can answer almost any question about the firm's products and services.
Whatever the reason, Apple thinks it needs to move into the 49th state, the largest state measured in square miles and only the 47th by population. Perhaps some of the reindeer will buy iPads.
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