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New Apple retail VP John Browett planned to cut jobs to raise profits

post #1 of 218
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Reports that recent hires at Apple Stores were being laid off, followed by claims they weren't, are now being explained as a reversal of a policy enacted by Apple's new retail vice president John Browett in an attempt to cut costs and raise profits within the retail segment.

According to a report by IFO Apple Store, "a series of recent administrative moves to reduce the number of Apple retail store employees" has been blamed upon an effort by Browett to increase Apple's retail profit margins.

The report cited sources with "close ties to the retail stores" who said Browett felt the stores were "too bloated" with employees, and began making cuts "despite strongly-worded advice from Retail segment veterans that reducing personnel ahead of the annual Back-to-School promotion and the September introduction of the iPhone 5 could create a customer service catastrophe."

Browett reportedly ordered Apple Store managers to cease all recruiting and hiring events, stop making promotions, lay off all newly hired employees still in their probationary period, reduce available hours for part time employees, reduce or eliminate overtime and layoff or fire employees who can only work more than 32 hours a week.

John Browett
John Browett, Apple's new SVP of Retail. | Credit: Dixons


The report also noted that Browett said Apple's retail outlets need to "learn to 'run leaner' in all areas, even if the customer experience is compromised."

During fiscal 2011, Apple's retail stores generated $14.1 billion in revenue and $3.1 billion in profits. The chain has operated at around a 22 percent profit margin over the past five years, the report notes, and Browett was seeking to improve upon that. Retail operations currently contribute about a tenth of Apple's profits.

In January, Apple recruited Browett to head its retail operations. He formerly served at the chief executive for Dixons, a discount European tech retailer, and before that Tesco.com, the British equivalent to Wal-Mart.

Writing for The Loop, well-known Apple blogger Jim Dalrymple wrote, "it seems to me that Browett is trying to make Apple retail just like every other retail store on the planet. A few employees trying to satisfy an ever growing consumer base. That formula doesn?t work. It may save a few dollars in the short term and Browett may look like a hero on paper, but in reality the whole company would suffer the consequences."
post #2 of 218
How did this idiot end up at Apple? Never thought he was a good fit. He is the new Papermaster.

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post #3 of 218
I CALLED IT. I knew Browett was behind the staff reductions. Tim Cook needs to send this guy packing, immediately.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #4 of 218
John, are you serious?

Apple made enough profit for the whole year... Keep what you got! It's a great system, and really?! Running leaner?

You're trying to make Apple money-crazed and COMPROMISE CUSOMER SERVICE?
If Steve was here, he'll cut you like you did with the new employees.
post #5 of 218

Did Cook even know about this before this moron put this into effect???  Fire his a*s, NOW!

post #6 of 218
If a bunch of forum readers can call it like that, how the hell did this guy get hired?
post #7 of 218

Oh dear. This is bad. Seems this guy is not Apple.

 

It's one thing to examine how efficiently the operation is running. But this is the problem here:

 

 

Quote:
The report also noted that Browett said Apple's retail outlets need to "learn to 'run leaner' in all areas, even if the customer experience is compromised."

 

Wow.

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post #8 of 218

Why doesn't he cut his salary to save the company money? Oh, because he isn't one of the little people that makes the stores function. Out of sight, out of mind. I hate corporations that do that crap. Who stopped this? That would be interesting to know.

 

Whoever hired him or did the research on him should be in trouble, AND it also makes me wonder about the management that approved his being hired. If it was Tim Cook then this shows he is capable of making mistakes and thinks about the money more than the brand.
 

post #9 of 218

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/apple-retail-leadership-tells-stores-it-messed-up-employee-working-hours-refutes-layoffs-20120816-00774

 

 

 

Quote:

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.

 

Oh boy, everything people were saying about Browett when Cook hired him is true.

post #10 of 218

Great, another fucktard for Apple!  :)  

 

 

America is full of fucktards anyway!

post #11 of 218

This idiot is the reason I couldn't get a replacement charger at the Apple Store the other day. I was told I need to make a Genius Bar appointment the next day to get a new one. Seriously? I have to come back for a freaking replacement charger? That's so unreasonable.

post #12 of 218

Yeah, like their stores' profit margins weren't high enough. This guy has no clue about what makes Apple great. Definitely not a good fit for the job. He'd better wise up or ship out.

post #13 of 218

I've known managers like this. He is going to be an unmitigated disaster. Get rid of him now.

 

(During my college-age career as a food server, I worked for a manager who quit replacing broken dishes to save money. Eventually, we lacked clean dishes when it was time to serve the food.)

post #14 of 218
**** this myopic motherfucker! You lay off just one employee and you create fear that all could be laided off. Your best, most knowledgable employees might look for work elsewhere and all employees will have less of an interest putting their heart and soul into their job if they know the company they work could jettison them on accounting whim.

Apple is the most successful retail chain by square feet and one of those reasons is because you can you get service. This will do more longterm harm than any good than increasing profits by a fraction of a fraction of a percent for a quarter or two. **** him!

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post #15 of 218

When Browett was appointed there was a flood of comments here from people in the UK warning about the disaster that Dixons was as a customer experience. There was widespread astonishment that Apple, having built a huge, highly popular and very profitable chain using a philosophy diametrically opposed to the 'slash and burn quick boost in profits followed by long-term decline' strategy utilised by this chancer should employ him. Big mistake, and here we see the result.

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Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
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post #16 of 218
Service is what Apple sells at retail. It's the only reason for the stores to exist. If he didn't get that coming in he doesn't belong at Apple.
post #17 of 218

This guy's a clown

Building a faster horse...
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post #18 of 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

**** this myopic motherfucker! You lay one employee you create fear that all could be laided off your best, not knowledgable employees might look for work and all employees will have less of an interest put their heart and soul into their job.
Apple is the most successful retail chain by square feet and one of those reasons is because you can you get service This will do more longterm harm than any good in will produce in increasing profits by a fraction of a fraction of a percent for a quarter or two. **** him!

Wow, I don't think I've EVER seen you get this upset. Man, I guess this really has struck a nerve.

 

**Slowly back away**

post #19 of 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by IronTed View Post

Great, another fucktard for Apple!  1smile.gif  


America is full of fucktards anyway!

That maybe true, but isn't this clown a Brit?
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post #20 of 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by IronTed View Post

Great, another fucktard for Apple!  :)  

 

 

America is full of fucktards anyway!

born and raised in UK, been there until he just joined Apple

post #21 of 218

This dude is the archetype of so many bosses in corporate America. The money is pouring in but it is never, ever enough.

There is 2 trillion in off shore profits being hoarded by corporate fat cats and that is one of the reason their aint no damn jobs.

Believe  me corporate America isn't concerned about putting people on the payroll. They are more concerned about PROFITS. 

The GOP can complain all they want  about Obama and the job situation but in reality the corporate bosses don't give a sh**  about hiring to lower unemployment.

post #22 of 218

Fire this goofball! 

post #23 of 218

I could just imagine Ron Johnson reading this. Reading how John Browett wants to turn his retail masterpiece into a standard, basic, unhelpful computer store like PC World.

post #24 of 218

he's an unfortunate hire.

post #25 of 218

Wow what a disaster.  I truly hope that either: this article is wrong or Tim fires this guy.  This is exactly the kind of terrible short term thinking that Apple does NOT engage in. Fix this quickly, Tim, this is the kind of bad management that can kill all of the great good will and brand value that Apple has.

post #26 of 218
Quote:

The report also noted that Browett said Apple's retail outlets need to "learn to 'run leaner' in all areas, even if the customer experience is compromised."
 

 

That's the part that hurts Apple the most. I'm actually ok with running a company leaner if there are areas that just gotten too fat, but Apple should never compromise customer experience! If Steve were still here, he'd have gotten rid of this guy in a NY second.

post #27 of 218

Anyone who has ever worked in Apple retail knows that their staffing has always been lean.  Ive never worked in a place where they are able to get so much productivity out of a small group of very talented people.  If anything they need more.

post #28 of 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

**** this myopic motherfucker!

 

Whew, I'm glad you bleeped that first expletive!!!!

 

:)

post #29 of 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by igxqrrl View Post

 

Whew, I'm glad you bleeped that first expletive!!!!

 

:)

 

Forum does it automatically.

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post #30 of 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by Right_said_fred View Post

born and raised in UK, been there until he just joined Apple

When you get the good from us (Ive), you also get the bad (Browett).

post #31 of 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by dysamoria View Post

If a bunch of forum readers can call it like that, how the hell did this guy get hired?

 

Probably the typical way corporate kiss-asses get hired and move up the ladder.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #32 of 218
The Apple stores are profitable, but more importantly, these stores are an "experience" that helps to convince people to switch to a Mac. You can, arguably, always find well informed sales weasels to answer your questions. No high pressure sales, helpful employees etc.
That's why I will still visit an Apple store but avoid worst buy like the plague that it is.

Yeah, way to go on treating your staff like disposable tools. You know, the staff that helped make your retail stores one of the most profitable per sq ft in the world.

Ass hat.

*End Rant*
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post #33 of 218

There goes quality customer service.  Just wait until they get the PA system like walmart, that some fat hippo working the register bellows into every 10 minutes.

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post #34 of 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

 

Probably the typical way corporate kiss-asses get hired and move up the ladder.

 

post #35 of 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

**** this myopic motherfucker! You lay off just one employee and you create fear that all could be laided off. Your best, most knowledgable employees might look for work elsewhere and all employees will have less of an interest putting their heart and soul into their job if they know the company they work could jettison them on accounting whim.
Apple is the most successful retail chain by square feet and one of those reasons is because you can you get service. This will do more longterm harm than any good than increasing profits by a fraction of a fraction of a percent for a quarter or two. **** him!

 

Boy, do I ever agree with your outrage here. I remember the "bean counter eras" at Apple with Gil Amelio and John Sculley. The company dove into the dirt!

 

Tim Cook, wake up and correct this mistake NOW!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #36 of 218

Good things he's not in charge of product development. Douche.

post #37 of 218

“sources" with "close ties to the retail stores” may or may not have the real story and may or may not tell it fairly. But if the report IS accurate... then it's time to cut ONE job to raise profits! A very high-level job.

post #38 of 218

According to the original AI article: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/149612/new-apple-retail-chief-john-browett-receives-61m-in-stock-rights his first 5,000 shares of stock become unrestricted on Oct 20, so I hope he gets shown the door in the next 60 days so he doesn't earn that $3.2 million for his couple of months of work.

post #39 of 218

To make the retail stores more profitable? If true, this is an obvious unApple-like move by Mr. Browett.  Hopefully he at least got his hand slapped. Which, I guess having one of your executive decisions overturned is kind of like getting one's hand slapped in the corporate world. He's is new, so I'll consider this strike one.  Hopefully he just needs a little more time to absorb the Apple way of doing things into his thought process.

 

This IS disturbing.  Just don't want to panic too soon.

 

On the positive side, I'm sure this cost cutting decision scared Steve Ballmer.  "Wow, this Browett guy is a super GENIUS! We need to watch out for him."

post #40 of 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

How did this idiot end up at Apple? Never thought he was a good fit. He is the new Papermaster.

Papermaster didn't actually seem like a bad guy. It's entirely possible that he just didn't fit in well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

**** this myopic motherfucker! You lay off just one employee and you create fear that all could be laided off. Your best, most knowledgable employees might look for work elsewhere and all employees will have less of an interest putting their heart and soul into their job if they know the company they work could jettison them on accounting whim.
Apple is the most successful retail chain by square feet and one of those reasons is because you can you get service. This will do more longterm harm than any good than increasing profits by a fraction of a fraction of a percent for a quarter or two. **** him!


I'm actually in agreement with you guys on this one. Look at how much this guy was paid up front (and overall in his initial contract term), and one of his first bright ideas was the very typical cut labor costs at the bottom mentality. It's quite destructive to the work culture as you've noted, and if that's his best idea, it hardly justified his salary, which would have paid for a number of those jobs. It's a very unimaginative way to try to improve the numbers, and it carries a number of potential backlashes. I see it as just an artificial way of trying to push growth. Given the company's health, if he felt they were overstaffed, much of this could have been solved by simply not opening new positions as people leave or looking for potential candidates for promotion if supervisory roles opened up. Even if the overall goal is to make cuts, there are ways of doing this without such a PR backlash, and the more gradual nature allows for better fine tuning to figure out what the store really needs for optimal service. Personally I'd like to see their employees better trained on some of the technical points. Whenever I've gone in there, any tough question is pointed to the genius bar or the resident geek.

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