“Booming demand” for Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Mac product lines has made Apple the fastest-growing major retailer in terms of sales growth in the U.S. In the first three months of 2011, Apple’s U.S. sales rose by $4.6 billion, an 80% increase from a year ago, reports “USA Today” (http://macte.ch/EfN3t).

That increase accounted for one-fifth of all sales growth by publicly traded retailers in the U.S., according to a recent analysis of sales trends by retail sales expert David Berman. Apple’s sales are “mind-boggling,” says Berman, whose quarterly DeeBee Index is closely watched by the retail industry. Berman’s New York hedge fund, Durban Capital, owns shares of Apple.

“People don’t realize how much money has been diverted to Apple,” he told “USA Today.”