Apple continued its rehabilitation and exceeded industry expectations having reported its first year-on-year revenue growth in three years.
As predicted at last week's MacWorld Expo by Steve Jobs, long-standing interim chief executive of Apple, the vendor recorded a revenue increase of about eight per cent for the quarter ended 26 December 1998. Total sales for the period were $1.7 billion. Profit more than trebled to $152 million - 95 cents per share.
The vendor said sustained demand for its flagship iMac was largely responsible for the success. Sales were particularly strong in the UK, France and Germany. Apple said domestic (US) sales took 55 per cent of total shipments, while Europe accounted for 27 per cent, Japan 13 per cent and Asia Pacific five per cent.
Jobs said: 'Unit growth year-on-year was three to four times higher than the industry average.'
Apple sold 519,000 iMacs in the last quarter, producing 49 per cent year-on-year unit growth. Well-managed inventories also helped boost overall performance. The vendor said the quarter saw inventory drop to $25 million, or two days' worth of kit. Jobs said this was significantly better than Dell's inventory record of seven days.
Fred Anderson, chief financial officer at Apple, said he expected significant unit and revenue growth for the quarter ending March. But Anderson added he did not expect prices to continue to drop at the same rate as last year. He claimed his prediction would apply to both Apple and PC products.
Anderson added: 'Short supply of components such as LCDs and DRam is resulting in higher component costs and will slow down price drops.'
The quarter's results included $29 million after tax gain from the sale of 2.9 million shares from ARM Holdings - its joint venture with the former Acorn operation.
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