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Apple Stores Rake in Astounding Amounts of Cash

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Much like the plundering magpie that steals rings and tinsel to accent its nest, the average American consumer is very attracted to shiny objects, wanting nothing more than to surround himself with bright, flashy trinkets. He may be walking his daily commute in an incoherent fog when, suddenly in the corner of his eye, a glimmering four-inch Retina Display gleams behind a recently Windexed glass wall. And like in a nature program on the primitive response to flickering stimuli, the consumer breaks his stride and walks inside the retail space.

Congratulations, Apple (AAPL). You've just made another sale.

To say nothing about the calming, digital shores of its online retail space, Apple is incredibly successful in the retail world. In fact, according to recent data compiled by Asymco, Apple Stores boast the most profitable square footage of any retail space -- excluding restaurants -- at over $6,000 per square foot. Comparatively, the US national average for regional malls is $341 per square foot, and the median for the best 20 US retailers is $787. Even $300, Asymco asserts, is "considered respectable."

"The data shows Apple leading by a significant margin," Asymco's Horace Dediu writes. "It's more than twice as efficient as the second place Tiffany and Co. (TIF). It's also more than seven times the median of the top 20 and seventeen times better than the average mall retail space."

As you can see from the graph, Apple outright trounces the rest of the pack, outselling leaders like GameStop (GME), Costco (COST), Whole Foods (WFM), Best Buy (BBY), CVS (CVS), and Urban Outfitters (URBN).

Even looking at sales growth year over year, Apple leads the pack by a significant margin, besting Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU) by roughly 25%. And as was already noted in its recent earnings call, Best Buy has shrunk into negative growth in the last year.

While Apple is a prominent leader among its retail brethren, it's not even a contest between its mobile competitors. Judging from its failed Nexus One experiment, Google (GOOG) has much to learn about the retail biz. Microsoft (MSFT) is dreaming big with its Windows Stores, but it has a long road ahead if it wants to be considered in the same league with Apple Stores. And as for RIM (RIMM), well, that desolate stand-alone shop in Michigan speaks for itself.

(See also: Microsoft Destroys Beloved Franchise's Last Shred of Dignity and AT&T Falsely 'Upgrades' iPhone 4S to 4G)

Twitter: @mcs212

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POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.