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.

Fool contributor April Taylor owns shares of Apple. Best Buy and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Apple, Best Buy, and Coach are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Wal-Mart is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Best Buy. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Best Buy, Coach, and Wal-Mart. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.