Apple Retail's Emphasis on Profits Continues, Tied to Operational Perspective of Cook and Browett

apple retail portraitEarlier this month, we reported on several changes at Apple retail stores that were reportedly seeing some employees being laid off or seeing recent promotions being retracted, while other part-time employees were seeing their hours reduced significantly, in some cases to zero. Our report was followed several days later by an acknowledgement from Apple that the company had "messed up" in adjusting its staffing formulas for its retail stores.

ifoAppleStore now takes a close look at the situation, tying changes in the philosophy of Apple's retail experience to the passing of Steve Jobs and the operational focus of Apple CEO Tim Cook and new retail chief John Browett. At the most basic level, Jobs served as the champion for former retail chief Ron Johnson's vision of Apple stores focused on consumer satisfaction, and without Jobs to protect that vision Apple has slipped into a numbers-focused perspective for its retail operations.

Johnson was champion of customer satisfaction, designing and staffing the stores to provide a superior experience for visitors and buyers alike. He was able to win over Steve Jobs with the concept that revenue and profit should be a secondary goal of Apple’s retail stores.

But in 2009, Jobs took six months of medical leave and put Tim Cook in charge of the company, including the retail stores. Cook is primarily an “operations guy,” sources explain, and his natural focus is revenues and profits, not customers. While Jobs was away, Cook and chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer began to confront Johnson on his customer-centric retail philosophy—both felt the stores didn’t generate enough revenues to justify operating expenses.

The report claims that Cook hired Browett to replace Johnson, who departed Apple to lead department store chain JC Penney last year, specifically because of his focus on "traditional concepts of retailing" that prioritize revenues and profits as the key performance metrics.

cook browett
Tim Cook (left) and John Browett (right)

Even with Apple reportedly having reversed a number of the staffing changes that brought the company such significant publicity earlier this month, stores are reportedly still subject to directives reducing workshop offerings for customers and specifying policies on staff evaluation and compensation that prioritize profits over the customer experience and employee satisfaction.

Top Rated Comments

appleguy123 Avatar
120 months ago
Browett will destroy the retail store experience for customers. You'd figure that Tim would be smart enough to see this.
Score: 94 Votes (Like | Disagree)
levitynyc Avatar
120 months ago
Best Buy values profit over customer satisfaction and look how great they are doing.
Score: 83 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gimliwon Avatar
120 months ago
I've worked at Apple for 4 years.

I appreciate all that Cook has done for the employees, but I will be the first to say that meeting these numbers/profits is not going to bode well for them.

I don't understand the world of business. If your primary goal becomes meeting quotas and percentiles rather than customer satisfaction, how do you ever expect to be a respectable business?

You can make all the beautiful, respectable things in the world.
But if you don't have heart, you don't have anything.

Disappointed.
Score: 75 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BigMcGuire Avatar
120 months ago
And here we are.... the start of $ is more important than the customer experience :). Won't be long before there will be justification of a cheaper crappier product to save $....
Score: 75 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WhoDaKat Avatar
120 months ago
This totally makes sense as Apple is struggling to make a profit. Give me a break. Glass cubes, giant stores in Grand Central Station, and architectural innovating buildings is not the way you go to maximize profits, and thats not the point of these highly successful retail outlets. Its shock and awe, its getting the products into the hands of consumers so they can "play" with them. To do this is to understand why Apple products are so successful. Nickeling and dimeing consumers is the surest way Apple can shoot themselves in the foot.

Tim, your consumers made Apple the biggest company in the world, and we fight the good fight for you all over the internet (there are no fans like Apple fans) but if you even give off the appearance that you are trying to increase your already sky high profits, then you risk it all sir. You should fire this douche Browett and quit worrying about retail stores profits. Their job is to showcase... obviously the profits will come.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mark Booth Avatar
120 months ago
I worked retail for 35 years before retiring in 2009. Everything I read and everything in my customer service "gut" tells me that Browett is the wrong person to head Apple retail.

Mark
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
airtag in hand

Apple Enhancing AirTags Anti-Stalking Measures With Android App and Shorter Sound Intervals

Thursday June 3, 2021 11:10 am PDT by
Apple is enhancing AirTags security to prevent stalking using the Bluetooth devices, Apple told CNET today. Apple is already sending out over-the-air updates to AirTags that will shorten the amount of time before an unknown AirTag alerts you if it is in your possession. At the current time, AirTags play a sound after three days of being away from their owner. After the update, AirTags will...
maxresdefault

Here's How Apple's New iPhone to iPhone Data Migration Feature Works in iOS 12.4

Tuesday July 23, 2019 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple this week released iOS 12.4, the newest version of iOS 12 available for iPhones and iPads. One of the new features in iOS 12.4 is an updated data migration option that uses device to device transfers rather than relying on iCloud. Apple didn't provide much information on the new data migration feature, so we thought we'd check it out in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the ...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
macos catalina legacy system extension alert

Apple Begins Warning Users That 'Legacy System Extensions' Won't Work With a Future Version of macOS

Wednesday March 25, 2020 9:53 am PDT by
Apple has shared a new support document that indicates kernel extensions — which it calls "legacy system extensions" — will not be compatible with a future version of macOS because they "aren't as secure or reliable as modern alternatives."System extensions are a category of software that works in the background to extend the functionality of your Mac. Some apps install kernel extensions, which...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
airtag precision finding

AirTag Includes U1 Chip for 'Precision Finding' Feature

Tuesday April 20, 2021 12:11 pm PDT by
Apple's long-awaited AirTag was finally unveiled today, and as expected, the small circle-shaped accessories can be attached to items like wallets, keys, and more to allow them to be tracked in the Find My app. As was rumored ahead of release, each AirTag is equipped with a U1 chip, and on devices that also have U1 chips, there's a Precision Finding feature. U1 Ultra Wideband chips are...
iOS 15 General Feature Yellow

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 6: SharePlay Disabled, Safari Redesigned and More

Tuesday August 17, 2021 2:12 pm PDT by
Apple released the sixth beta of iOS 15 just a week after the fifth beta, but the new update brings some of the most significant tweaks that we've seen to iOS 15 during the beta testing period. Safari Redesign Apple in iOS 15 beta 6 has added a toggle to move the Safari address bar to the top of the interface, which returns Safari to an iOS 14-like design and mitigates all of the Safari...
m1 macbook air

Kuo: Mini-LED MacBook Air Coming in Mid-2022

Thursday July 22, 2021 7:48 pm PDT by
Apple will release a new version of the MacBook Air around the middle of 2022, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in note to investors seen by MacRumors. The upcoming MacBook Air will feature a 13.3-inch mini-LED display, which would make it the second Mac to gain mini-LED technology after the 2021 MacBook Pro, which is rumored to include a mini-LED display and is expected to launch later ...
2016 macbook pro flexgate b

Apple Faces Another Class-Action MacBook Pro ‘Flexgate’ Lawsuit

Thursday August 20, 2020 6:43 am PDT by
Another class-action complaint has been lodged against Apple, which claims that the company was aware of a MacBook Pro design flaw that caused some devices to have backlight display issues (via Apple Insider). The so-called "flexgate" problem was present in some MacBook Pro models manufactured between 2016 and 2017. The problem appears as dark patches along the bottom of the MacBook Pro's...