Apple 'Messed Up' with Retail Store Cutbacks, Denies Mass Layoffs

Following our report from earlier this week regarding word from Apple retail store sources of cutbacks and layoffs, Dow Jones Newswires now shares word that Apple has acknowledged that it "messed up" in adjusting its staffing formulas, although the company denies mass layoffs at its stores.

In a communication with store leadership teams, senior vice president of retail, John Browett, who took the reins of Apple's retail stores in April, said that the company had been trying a new staffing formula for its retail stores, leading some employees to see their hourly shifts cut and retail locations to be understaffed. This happened for a few weeks before the company decided to revert to its older system, hoping to rectify the problem.

He instructed leadership teams to tell employees, "We messed up," according to two people who were aware of the communication, which also stressed that while shift schedules were affected, no one was laid off. He also wanted employees to know that it was hiring new staff, these people said.

Apple acknowledged the retail staffing changes. "Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed," said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. "Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve."

apple retail employees
Despite Apple's claims that "no one was laid off", we have indeed heard from several Apple employees who have been laid off in recent weeks, with several of them independently claiming that there have been others, although some have called the moves "isolated" while others have characterized them as "many". ifoAppleStore reported yesterday that the cutbacks were made by Browett in an effort to meet profit goals and encourage the "bloated" store staffs to run "leaner", despite the objections of retail veterans within the company.

We did receive an unconfirmed report yesterday claiming that at least some stores held meetings addressing the issue, with promises that the cut hours would be restored and a phone call from Apple's corporate offices apologizing for the situation. It was unclear, however, exactly which employees were included in those meetings.

This is the second high-profile acknowledgment of a "mistake" on Apple's part in recent weeks, with Apple just last month having backpedaled on removing its products from the EPEAT environmental registry. In that case, Apple senior vice president Bob Mansfield posted an open letter apologizing for the company's error.

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Top Rated Comments

FNi Avatar
156 months ago
John Browett's first cock-up. How many more before Apple finds out what everyone in the UK knew all along?
Score: 80 Votes (Like | Disagree)
3282868 Avatar
156 months ago
John Browett will become one of the worst hiring decisions of the most crucial aspect to Apple's structure: retail. Apple retail store's are the face of the company; placing John Browett at the helm is tantamount to placing a former Lehman Brothers executive as CFO.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macnerd93 Avatar
156 months ago
He won't rein long :D With a cockup like this. To me, it looks totally unprofessional, if the Apple VP team went into any Currys, PCWorld or Comet they could see his god awful retail experience first hand.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lone Deranger Avatar
156 months ago
Way to go John Browett! *slow clap* :rolleyes:
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macchiato2009 Avatar
156 months ago
great job Mr John Browett, great job...

this guy is a genius

Apple really needed a talent like him... :rolleyes:


thank God, Steve Jobs is no longer here to see that...
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
miles01110 Avatar
156 months ago
Just like they "messed up" removing themselves from EPEAT? It'd be nice to see them use a different excuse once in a while.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)