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Apple Warns Of Gross Margin Fall

Apple has revealed that it has increased its employee headcount by more than one-third this year, while warning that its gross margins might fall in the upcoming quarters.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Board, the company said that it now 46,600 full-time employees, a marginal increase from 34,300 in 2009 and 32,000 in 2008.

The majority of the newly added employees are for the companies retail outlets, that have grown from 273 in 2009 to 317 in 2010. The company said that Apple's retail segment now employed 26,500 people.

Apple has been expanding aggressively in the global markets by opening a string of retail stores in Europe and China. The iPhone maker has plans to open another 40-50 retail stores next year, with around half of them located outside US.

The company also warned that its gross margins might fall in the upcoming quarters owing to its large product mix, which now as the iPad.

“The Company expects its gross margin percentage to decrease in future periods compared to levels achieved during 2010 and anticipates gross margin levels of about 36% in the first quarter of 2011,” the company said in the filing.