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Apple is fastest-growing US retailer

One of the topics of next week's Apple third-quarter financial results call is sure to be the performance at Apple's retail outlets. USA Today is reporting that retail sales expert David Berman has named Apple the fastest-growing major U.S. retailer, based on sales growth.

He's basing that laurel on the previous quarter's results, which showed Apple's U.S. sales rising by $4.6 billion, which was a 80% increase from the same period in 2010. On its own, Apple's sales growth accounted for one-fifth of all sales growth by publicly-traded U.S. retailers. While part of that statistic reflects on the general malaise of the retail industry right now, the rest is entirely due to Apple's growing influence in the consumer technology business.

The one product line expected to see a decrease in sales is the iPod. Consumers are moving away from the single-function devices and replacing them with iPhones. It's that reliance on the iPhone, which currently accounts for close to 40% of Apple's sales, that could also be its Achilles Heel. If a savvy competitor can launch a new phone that is much of a quantum leap over the iPhone as the iPhone was over almost everything in the cell phone industry in 2007, the company could be hit hard.

For the time being, though, Apple can bask in its incredible success in the midst of a two-year-and-counting economic downturn.

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