I’ve read a growing number of stories focusing on the bad timing of Apple’s gambit into brick and mortar retail sales, with many drawing on comparisons with the plight of Gateway. While no one could have foreseen the tragic events of September 11th, the handwriting was on the wall for an economic downturn and the PC recession was well underway before Apple’s first store opened. While most PC manufacturers are now forced to cut prices to the bone and throttle back production, Apple has the cash reserves to tough it out and buy some market share in this difficult economy. There is no easier time to increase percentage of sales than in a downturn. It just takes deep pockets and the capacity to tolerate some pain, all buoyed by the long term expectation of a brighter future.