Of course, you knew that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) was an electronics powerhouse. The company sold an astounding $20 billion of Macs, iPhones, iPods, and iPads last quarter alone. Many of those gadgets were sold online or with the help of partners such as AT&T, Verizon, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) to name just a few.

But Apple also sold more than $3.5 billion of those gadgets or nearly 18% of sales through its own stores, making the company a retail powerhouse as well. That's an increase of 75% in the year-ago period. What other retailers can say they have that kind of growth?

While Apple is a relative newcomer to the retail world, its numbers stack up well even against those of longtime pros and purveyors of big-ticket items like jewelry, appliances, and electronics.


Most Recent Quarter Sales (millions)

No. of Retail Stores

Average Sales Per Store (millions)





Best Buy









Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN)




Sears (Nasdaq: SHLD)




Tiffany (NYSE: TIF)




Source: Company reports.

Other retailers have taken note.  Even if they aren't selling electronics, Apple affects them-- a dollar spent at the Apple store may well mean a dollar not spent at the apparel store next door. And as Apple's goods have become status symbols, designer jeans and handbags find themselves in more direct competition with Apple products.

I believe there will be lots of iPads in Santa's sleigh this year, and that Apple will be one of the retail sector's biggest -- if not the biggest winner this holiday season. Let us know who you believe will be this holiday season's retail winners and losers in the comments.