Apple has announced it has 46,600 full-time employees as of 25 September 2010, up from 34,300 a year-ago and 32,000 in 2008.

With several new Apple outlets opening in the last year, including the flagship Covent Garden, London store and two new stores in China, retail jobs form the bulk of the increased employee numbers.

Apple now has 26,500 employees, 10,000 more than in 2009, while Apple now has 317 retail stores, up from 273 a year ago.

Reuters reports the information was part of Apple's 10-K, which then Mac maker filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

Apple: "expects its gross margin percentage to decrease in future periods compared to levels achieved during 2010," the company said in its 10-K filing.

"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."

Apple added it anticipated opening 40 to 50 new stores in 2011, more than half located outside the U.S.

Apple Store Covent Garden