Posted by: Chris Barylick
Date: Tuesday, January 26th, 2010, 07:56
Category: Finance, News
Even if the global economy’s in iffy shape, you can’t tell it by Apple.
Per Macworld, the company posted its best-ever performance for the first fiscal quarter, citing tallied sales of US$15.68 billion and a net quarterly profit of US$3.38 billion. That compares to year-ago figures of $11.88 billion in sales and US$2.26 billion in net quarterly profit.
“We’re extremely pleased with our record-breaking performance, including our 32% in growth in revenue and 50% growth in net income,” Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer told analysts during a Monday afternoon conference call to discuss Apple’s quarter numbers.
The company’s quarterly performance translated to earnings of US$3.67 per share, up 47% from the US$2.50 per share that it earned in the year-ago quarter.
Apple’s reports, which may seem a bit off in comparison to last January’s returns, reflect the retrospectively adopted Financial Accounting Standards Board’s amended accounting standards during the 2010 first quarter. Adopting those standards significantly alters how Apple accounts for certain items such as the iPhone and Apple TV sales. The revised standards allow Apple to recognize revenue and product at the time of sale and the company has restated its results for the 2007, 2008, and 2009 fiscal years to reflect this change.
“We believe [the new accounting rules] will better enable us to recognize the underlying economics and performance of our business,” Oppenheimer said.
For the 2010 fiscal first quarter, Apple sold 3.36 million Macs, up 33% from the 2.5 million units the company sold in Q1 of 2009.
The Mac sales figure sets a new record, topping the 3.05 million Macs Apple sold during the fiscal fourth quarter of 2009.
The fall revamp of the iMac line helped boost desktop sales for the quarter. In October, Apple replaced its 20″ and 24″ iMacs with new 21.5″ and 27″ configurations of the all-in-one desktop. Apple sold 1.23 million desktops in its first quarter of 2010, an increase of nearly 70% from the 728,000 desktops it sold a year ago.
Notebook sales came in at just under 2.13 million units sold during the first quarter, a number which accounts for 63% of all the Macs sold during the quarter. Portable sales rose 18% from the 1.796 million laptops Apple sold in the year-ago quarter.
Overall education sales for Mac products grew 16% from last year, reflecting Apple’s best growth rate in that segment since before the start of the current recession, according to chief operating officer Tim Cook. The K-12 and higher-education channels both reported record sales for the December quarter.
“Our whole education business is based on really understanding teaching, learning, and student achievement, and we think we’re the only tech company that really gets that,” Cook said.
iPhone sales reached record heights in the quarter with the company selling 8.7 million iPhones in three months, breaking the record of 7.4 million set in the previous quarter. iPhone sales were twice what they were during the previous year’s first quarter with the sales value of those 8.7 million iPhones exceeding US$5.4 billion. The average selling price of iPhone models was down 5% versus the prior year, likely owing to the existence of the cut-rate US$99 iPhone 3G model.
In response to a question from an analyst, Cook offered praise for often-criticized U.S. wireless partner AT&T. “AT&T is a great partner,” he said. “In the vast majority of locations, we think iPhone customers are having a great experience… AT&T has acknowledged that they’re having a few issues in some cities, and they have plans to address these. We have personally reviewed these plans, and we have high confidence [in them].”
Regarding Apple’s acquisition of Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising company, Cook said that Apple “look[s] forward to providing developers with a great opportunity for advertising,” but that mobile advertising is currently “in its infancy.”
Not every product segment saw growth during the quarter and iPod sales fell 8% from Q1 of 2009, as Apple sold 21 million music players during the quarter. However, Oppenheimer characterized that decline as expected. Indeed, overall iPod sales growth has been flat for some time—sales have declined for three consecutive quarters now.
Still, Apple executives didn’t sound particularly bothered on Monday by the iPod’s quarterly performance. The music player continues to gain market share internationally, and its share of the U.S. market remains at more than 70%, according to Oppenheimer.
Despite the lower iPod numbers, Oppenheimer said Apple sold 55% more iPod touches this year than it did in the first quarter of 2009. The average selling price of the iPod increased by 9% during the quarter, driven by sales of the touch.
Oppenheimer told analysts on Monday that the iTunes Store had enjoyed a “record-breaking quarter,” though the company provided no revenue figures for its online retail arm for music, movies, TV programs, and mobile apps.
Retail and other figures
Apple finished the first quarter with 283 retail stores, after opening 10 new outlets during the quarter. Those openings included high-profile stores near the Louvre in Paris and New York’s Upper West Side. Apple also remodeled 32 stores during the quarter, for a total of 100 remodels during the 2009 calendar year.
Retail revenue rose 17% to US$1.97 billion for the quarter. Average revenue per store was US$7.1 million, up from US$7 million in the year-ago quarter. The brick-and-mortar stores sold a record 680,000 Macs, with half of those sold to customers who were new to the Mac.
Apple is expected to open between 40 and 50 stores during the 2010 fiscal year, Oppenheimer said, with half of those outlets located outside the U.S.
Even after a quarter of cash outlays that included the purchase of online music streaming company Lala, the company reported that it now holds cash and short-term investments totaling US$39.8 billion, up $5.8 billion from the previous quarter.
Looking ahead to the March quarter, Oppenheimer told analysts to expect sales between US$11 billion and US$11.4 billion. That compares to restated sales of US$9.1 billion for the fiscal second quarter of 2009. Apple expects earnings between US$2.06 and US$2.18 per share for the upcoming quarter; that compares to US$1.79 per quarter a year ago, after adjusting for the new accounting rules.
“The new products we are planning to release this year are very strong, starting this week with a major new product that we’re really excited about,” CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement accompanying Monday’s earnings release.