October 27, 2010 / 9:46 PM / in 7 years

Apple reveals headcount boost, warns on margins

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc said it has raised its employee headcount by more than one-third from last year, as it warned again that it expects its gross margin to fall in coming quarters.

Apple said it has 46,600 full-time employees as of September 25, up from 34,300 a year-ago and 32,000 in 2008.

Most of that increase came in the retail segment, where Apple now has 26,500 employees, 10,000 more than in 2009. Apple has 317 retail stores, up from 273 a year ago.

The details were contained in Apple’s 10-K, which it filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

The company also reiterated its gross margin will fall in coming quarters, as it sells a larger mix of products such as the iPad.

Apple reported a gross margin of 39.4 percent in fiscal 2010, down from 40.1 percent in 2009.

The company introduced the iPad last April and has priced it aggressively as it tries to capitalize on its first-mover advantage in the tablet market.

Analysts widely expect Apple’s margins to decline as the iPad becomes a larger percentage of Apple’s overall revenue. The iPhone has boosted the company’s profitability since its launch in 2007.

In its 10-K, Apple said it “expects its gross margin percentage to decrease in future periods compared to levels achieved during 2010.”

“This expected decline is largely due to a higher mix of new and innovative products ... and expected and potential future component cost and other cost increases.”

The company made similar comments in last year’s 10-K.

Apple has forecast a gross margin for the December quarter of 36 percent.

Apple also said in the regulatory filing that it expects capital expenditures to total $4 billion in fiscal 2011, including $600 million for retail store facilities.

The company plans to open 40 to 50 new stores next year, with more than half located outside the U.S.

Apple’s capital expenditures were $2.6 billion during 2010, including $404 million for retail store facilities.

Shares of Cupertino, California-based Apple closed at $307.83 on Nasdaq, down 0.07 percent.

Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Ted Kerr, Bernard Orr and Sofina Mirza-Reid

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