Today marks the 13th anniversary of Apple’s retail stores, the first ever store having opened at 10am on 19th May 2001 at Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Virginia. The video above shows Steve Jobs giving a preview of the store six days before it opened, and below the fold you can see an animated GIF of the growth of the U.S. stores since then.

Amazing as it seems today, the move was considered at the time to be a risky gamble, with critics arguing that they couldn’t possibly make money. Businessweek ran a story entitled Sorry Steve, Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work and TheStreet.com agreed in a piece headlined Apple’s Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel … 

But Steve Jobs was convinced they would be successful, and the rest is history. Today, there are 424 Apple Stores worldwide, 254 of them in the USA, and they are the most profitable retail space in the world, earning over $6,000 per square foot each year – beating even Tiffany and Harrods.

map-preview

You can check out an interactive version of this graphic at Retale, allowing you to zoom in and mouseover stores to see the details. Update: Retale has now added a worldwide version here.