More on Apple's Power

Just in time to give more credence to the idea that mall landlords should give Apple stores anchor status, new research claims the chain accounted for an astounding one-fifth of all sales growth by U.S. publicly traded retailers in the first three months of the year.

According to a story in USA Today, Apple's sales rose 80 percent year-over-year during the period from January through March, or by $4.6 billion, and they will likely keep that pace for the foreseeable future.

Apple sales are rising sharply outside the U.S. as well. In the Asia-Pacific region, sales rose 151% to $4.7 billion in the quarter that ended March 26. Europe sales were up 49% to $6 billion.

Analysts expect Apple's sales to keep growing at a double-digit pace for the next few years. Morningstar analyst Joseph Beaulieu thinks Apple can achieve a 20% average revenue growth rate for the next five years, even without the introduction of new products.

Meanwhile, Apple seems to be exploring a new expansion strategy that could potentially pay off in spades. So far, the chain has mainly taken locations on high streets in major cities and in class-A malls. Now, Apple appears to be in discussion with at least two universities to operate within campus bookstores.

Earlier this year, Apple has been rumored to negotiate a deal with Yale University to occupy a former Barnes & Noble space there. Now, it might be looking to execute similar leases with Fairfield University in Connecticut and the University of Delaware.

It's unclear at this point whether Apple wants to simply take over vacant university bookstore spaces or operate stores-within-stores with university booksellers or both. The deals in Connecticut and Delaware seem to involve taking space within an operating bookstore. Either way, given the multitudes of college campuses in the U.S. and Apple's popularity with the college crowd, this might lead to dozens, if not hundreds, new Apple locations.

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