Little Rock’s Apple Store Opens Saturday

The Apple Store, Little Rock
The Apple Store, Little Rock

For Arkansas Mac geeks, tomorrow’s a red-letter day: Apple opens its first retail store in Arkansas, at The Promenade at Chenal. Doors open at 10 a.m.

I’ll be there early tomorrow morning for some live hits on the Today’s THV Saturday morning show from 6-8 a.m. Press get a sneak peek inside the store at 9, followed by the grand opening an hour later.

Arkansas Business started reporting word on the store back in March 2008, so Saturday’s been a long time coming. It’ll be fun to see who and how many show for tomorrow’s grand opening. I’m expecting a lively bunch with lots to talk about, including this week’s big announcement.

I’ll have photos and video here by Saturday afternoon, but you can follow me on Twitter (@LT) and Facebook (Lance.Turner) for stuff as it happens. I’m sure I won’t be the only one broadcasting from the event. Be on the lookout for an agreed-upon hashtag …

Until tomorrow, I leave with some fun facts from a June Wall Street Journal story on Apple’s retail chain, which many list among the key moves Steve Jobs after returning to the company. You can read the full story here.

  • Apple’s first stores opened in Virginia at Tysons’ Corner shopping mall and California at the Glendale Galleria in May 2001
  • There are now more than 330 stores worldwide
  • Annual retail sales per square foot: $4,406 — that’s bigger than Tiffany, Coach and Best Buy
  • In 2009, as national retail sales dropped by 2.4 percent, Apple Store sales rose 7 percent
  • Needham & Co. estimates Apple Stores’ profit margins at 27 percent. It figures Best Buy at about 1 percent
  • More people visit Apple stores in a single quarter than the 60 million who visited Disney’s four biggest theme parks last year
  • Employees receive no commission and have no sales quotas
  • Ron Johnson is the Apple executive who led the Apple Store concept from its inception. In November, he’ll become CEO of J.C. Penney Co.