Apple Enjoys Black Friday Boost

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Apple ( AAPL) enjoyed a big Black Friday sales boost, according to analysts, laying the foundations for a money-spinning holiday shopping season.

The consumer tech giant's eagerly anticipated Black Friday sale offered discounts on the iPad 2, the iMac, iPods, and MacBooks. Apple hasn't yet released any Black Friday sales figures, although analysts say that initial feedback is positive.
Apple's iPad looks set to be a Black Friday winner.

"Our checks show demand for iPhones, iPads and Macs is robust and Apple stores enjoyed heavy traffic throughout the holiday weekend," said Chris Whitmore, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, in a note released on Monday. "Apple experienced healthy demand for iPads and Macs and had sufficiently stocked its retail stores and authorized outlets."

Deutsche Bank checked out more than 200 stores over the Black Friday weekend, including more than 100 Apple partner locations, such as AT&T ( T), Verizon ( VZ), Sprint ( S), Best Buy ( BBY), Wal-Mart ( WMT) and Target ( TGT).

"Our observations on Black Friday confirmed strong iPad sell-through at Apple retail stores," added Gene Munster, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray. "Apple stores were selling 68% more iPads per hour on a year-over-year basis, directionally consistent with our estimates of 13.5 million units in December 2011 quarter, up 84% year over year."

Apple set new all-time quarterly records for iPad and Mac sales during its recent fiscal third quarter. The company shipped a massive 11.1 million iPads, thanks largely to the iPad 2, up from just 4.2 million iPads in the prior year's quarter. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has sold more than 29 million iPads since launching the technology last year.

Citing a source inside Apple Retail, the 9to5mac.com Web site reported that Apple blew past its Black Friday forecast, which called for a four-fold increase on its usual sales. Such was consumer appetite for its products that Apple beat its forecast by 7 pp.m. on Black Friday, according to 9to5mac.com.

The consumer tech giant teased the promotion earlier this week, promising "a special one-day Apple shopping event" at its online store.

Apple hasn't responded to a request for comment on this story.

Deutsche Bank's research also pointed to strong sales of Apple's new iPhone 4S on Black Friday. "As a result of the extremely robust demand for the iPhone 4S, Apple retail stores experienced stock outs at around 75% of the stores we called on Black Friday," explained Whitmore. "However, our checks on Saturday morning indicated that Apple replenished supplies overnight and 30% of the stores we contacted reported iPhone 4S stock outs."

Apple expects revenue of roughly $37 billion during its December quarter.

Shares of Apple rose $11.18, or 3.08%, to $374.75 on Monday.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers.

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