Apple's (AAPL) retail stores have posted impressive operating margins: Last year, it was a remarkable 22.1%. Remarkable when you consider most brick-and-mortar outfits have margins well below 10%. Its retail segment, like all physical shops, has to contend with rent, sales salaries and depreciation costs all which cut into profits.
Very few brick-and-mortar retailers come close to Apple's store margins. Exceptions do exist. Coach (COH) clocks an amazing 31%. The Buckle (BKE), an apparel seller, is neck-and-neck with the Apple stores at 22.1%. Tiffany (TIF) at 19.7% is not far behind. Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), the Limited (LTD), Urban Outfitters (URBN) and Nordstrom (JWN), while enjoying strong margins, are not in Apple's league.
The rest of retail: Not so good. Over 80% of retailers have margins under 10%.
(Data courtesy of Morningstar; Apple 10K)
And, while we're at it: Last year, Apple stores made $3.1 billion in operating income, far more than Macy's (M), Bed Bath & Beyond, Costco (COST) and Coach. Sales came in higher than Nordstrom, AutoNation (AZO) and Whole Foods (WFM). If it was ever spun off, Apple stores would belong in the S&P 500.
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