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 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.


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.

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7 Responses to “13th anniversary of first Apple Store: risky gamble to most profitable retail space in the world”

  1. Jared Stutts says:

    I remember working at an Apple Stores back in 2001. The white slabs where we kept some of the computers had to be sanded down daily because it got so dirty.


  2. “Don’t buy Apple’s (AAPL) stock. And if you own it, sell it. I know the company has a core following that is loyal, even cultlike, but the broader base of believers has been steadily eroding for years.” – Arne Alsin – ,2001

    SMART lol


  3. what was that red thing steve was holding around 4:24? #shock


  4. scumbolt2014 says:

    Ironic that The Streets Arnie Asshat was high on Curcuit City when he pulled this dreck from his but. They were the total opposite of the Apple retail exoerience. Rude neglectful employees. The last time I was in a Circuit City before they folded there was more employees than customers bit I still couldn’t get someone to help me.

    “Arne Alsin is the founder and principal of Alsin Capital Management, an Oregon-based investment advisor specializing in turnaround situations. At time of publication, Alsin and/or ACM was long Circuit City, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Alsin appreciates your feedback and invites you to send it to”