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
113 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
113 months ago
Best Buy values profit over customer satisfaction and look how great they are doing.
Score: 83 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gimliwon Avatar
113 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
113 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
113 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
113 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)

Top Stories

tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
apple watch ecg

Apple Watch Likely to Gain Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, and Blood Alcohol Monitoring

Monday May 3, 2021 4:03 am PDT by
The Apple Watch may gain the ability to measure blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol levels, according to newly-revealed information about one of Apple's chosen business partners. Apple has been revealed to be the largest customer of the British electronics start-up Rockley Photonics, The Telegraph reports. Rockley Photonics has developed non-invasive optical sensors for...
signal instagram ads3

Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:29 am PDT by
Encrypted messaging app Signal has had a series of Instagram ads blocked from the social media platform, after it attempted to show users how much data the Facebook-owned company collects about them and how it's used to push targeted ads. In a blog post, Signal described how it generated the ads to show users why they were seeing them, simply by declaring upfront the information that the...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Admits App Store's 30% Cut Is Similar to Consoles, Would Have Accepted Special Deal With Apple

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:54 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and during the second day of the trial, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney continued his testimony against Apple. Sweeney was grilled by Apple's lawyers, and made several points seemingly favorable to Apple. In addition to mentioning how he prefers Apple's iPhone and values Apple's privacy policies that he's aiming to dismantle, Sweeney...
snapchat dark mode

Snapchat Rolls Out Dark Mode on iOS

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:17 am PDT by
Nearly two years following the release of iOS and iPadOS 13, which included native, built-in, and systemwide dark mode, Snapchat, one of the world's most prominent social media networks, has finally rolled out a dark mode theme for iOS users. Snapchat began testing a dark mode theme of its app design late last year with a small group of iOS users. Now, Snapchat says that as of this week, it...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Brydge's 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Keyboard With Trackpad

Tuesday May 4, 2021 11:48 am PDT by
Brydge has been making keyboards for Apple's iPads for years now, and the newest model, the Brydge 12.9 MAX+, is compatible with the third, fourth, and fifth-generation iPad Pro models, so it works even with the new mini-LED iPad Pro. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, we checked out the new Brydge 12.9 MAX+ to see if it's a viable...
iphone 13 pro max dummy notch

iPhone 13 Pro Max Dummy Model Depicts Smaller Notch

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 13 models are expected to feature a slimmed down notch, marking the first major change to the TrueDepth camera system since it was introduced in the 2017 iPhone X. We're still months away from the launch of the iPhone 13, but Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy managed to get an iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy model that represents what we can expect from the new 2021 device. Dummy...
Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1

Mini-LED Display Production Improving for Redesigned MacBook Pro Models Later This Year

Monday May 3, 2021 8:33 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMT, a key vendor involved in the production of mini-LED displays in the newly announced 12.9-inch iPad Pro, has been able to address technical challenges for the production of mini-LED displays to be used in the upcoming 14 and 16-inch redesigned MacBook Pro models. As reported by DigiTimes, TSMT had initially been facing production constraints with the circuit board and...
netflix sign up

Apple Discussed 'Punitive Measures' Against Netflix for Dropping In-App Purchases

Wednesday May 5, 2021 11:03 am PDT by
As the Epic Games v. Apple trial progresses into its third day, Apple's internal documents and communications with various companies are continuing to surface, giving us some insight into the dealings that Apple has had around the App Store. Back in December 2018, Netflix stopped offering in-app subscription options for new or resubscribing members and instead began requiring them to sign up ...
airtags

AirTag Owners Bemoan Inability to Let Others Track Their Items Via Family Sharing

Tuesday May 4, 2021 5:12 am PDT by
Apple's new AirTag item trackers have been making their way into the hands of customers since Friday, and while the company has tried to describe the ways that they can be used to find lost items, many users are still surprised and disappointed to learn that the location of an AirTag can't be shared with other family members. On the face of it, sharing the location of an AirTag via Apple's...