Reuters -1.00% Apple Inc (AAPL.
O) will discontinue its retail stores, its first-ever store closure and it is not expecting to close all of its retail businesses, chief executive Tim Cook said in an interview.
The company will cut its retail footprint to a minimum of 2,000 stores by the end of 2021 and it plans to close more than 1,500 of its stores by that time, he said in the interview published on Sunday.
The company’s stores are the most profitable of its consumer electronics businesses.
“There’s no way that we’re going to have a retail business in 2020,” Cook said, adding that his goal is to have more than 5,000 of its remaining stores open by 2021.
Cook added that the company has not set a target for its retail sales to reach the $40 billion mark, but he added that it will likely reach that milestone.
“I’m very bullish on the retail business,” he said.
“We will continue to grow and I think there are a lot of people who are really excited about it.
We think there’s a lot more opportunities in the world of retail.”
Apple has already announced a plan to close some stores to create room for other retail ventures, and it will also end some of its partnerships with retailers.
The CEO said he had no intention of shutting down all of the company’s retail operations.
The news comes as a fresh wave of boycotts of Apple products and services, including the boycott of Apple Pay and a massive walkout at the company headquarters in Cupertino, California, over the past week, have fueled an economic downturn in the United States.
Cook also reiterated that the retail stores are not for sale.
“They are not going to be sold,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
“We don’t want to make a lot [of money] from them.”
Apple has a long history of trying to sell products and merchandise at retail.
The Apple store, which opened in San Francisco in 1971, has since expanded to more than 2,400 locations across the United State and the world.
Apple has sold over $100 billion worth of products and has been one of the most successful tech companies in the history of the consumer electronics industry.