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USA Today reports this morning on the success of the Apple Stores around the country, which are helping to redefine that the computer maker’s image in the marketplace and relationship with consumers.

“Thanks to brilliant marketing, savvy neighborhood locations and a revival of the company's fortunes sparked by the hip iPod digital music player, Apple stores are hot,” the paper reports. And as noted here on MNB on numerous occasions, one of the best features of the Apple Stores are the Genius Bars that are included in each unit – places where savvy employees are available for on-site, often cost-free hardware and software assistance. “The concept has become so successful that 100,000 people visit the Geniuses every week,” the paper reports.

"Half of the people who walk into the stores are Windows users," analyst Charles Wolf tells the paper. "They come in not because they want to switch but because the stores are different and so inviting. Do they walk out with a Mac? Probably not. But they do leave with an iPod, which they might not have done otherwise."

Apple stores are on track to generate $1.2 billion this year, according to USA Today. Apple's fiscal 2004 revenue was $8.3 billion.
KC's View:
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. These are great stores, and a great example of how a company with a relatively small market share can aggressively, ambitiously redefine itself. And it is one of the best, smartest and most compelling shopping experiences in the country.