There's an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about Apple's strategy in opening its own retail stores across America. (We ran the story in today's business section). The move was certainly met with some skepticism, but now no one can argue with the numbers: revenue from the stores made up 17 percent of Apple's total sales in 2005.
The story credited Apple chief executive Steve Jobs for much of the success, given that Jobs - a notorious micromanager -- was deeply involved in the initiative. Tomorrow, Apple will open a store on New York City's Fifth Avenue. The store will be underground except for its entrance: a three-story high glass cube.
Mr. Jobs, a major stickler for design details, has been intimately involved in helping to turn the stores into hip, visually memorable shopping destinations. Mr. Jobs is one of the named inventors on a patent Apple secured several years ago for the design of a signature glass staircase featured in many Apple stores. A person familiar with the matter says Mr. Jobs himself was involved in the design of the glass cube atop the new Fifth Avenue store.
In a recent interview, Mr. Jobs admitted that at one point he ordered workers to replace the metal bolts holding together the glass panels that make up the cube over the company's Fifth Avenue store. "We spent a lot of time designing the store, and it deserves to be built perfectly," Mr. Jobs said.
Note: The store will be open 24 hours, according to Curbed, which has photos from the press preview today. (It's rather odd that a store opening has its own press preview, isn't it? Chalk it up to Apple's savvy marketing.)