Angela Ahrendts joins Apple, Inc., tasked with polishing flat retail operations

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2014
Angela Ahrendts has been removed from the corporate listings of Burberry, signaling her move to Apple where she will take over the company's retail and online sales.



Last week, Apple's chief executive Tim Cook noted in the company's earnings call, "we are continuing to invest in our retail stores and since our last call, we had opened our first stores in Brazil and Turkey and we now have retail stores in 15 countries around the world. I'm looking forward to welcoming our new retail and online leader, Angela Ahrendts, who will be joining Apple's Executive Team next week."

Apple has been without a dedicated retail leader since the departure of John Browett, who was fired a year and a half ago in October 2012 after less than a year on the job. For the last year and a half, Apple's retail group has been reporting directly to Cook himself.

Browett had reportedly sought to make Apple's wildly profitable retail operations even more profitable by cutting staffing and freezing new hires, a strategy that Browett himself was said to have regarded as a "mistake" and sought to reverse before his ouster.

Staffing issues persist for Apple's retail store operations

Apple latest quarterly report notes that the company operated an average of 423 stores in the March quarter, 21 more than it had open in the year ago quarter. However, the total headcount of retail employees decreased from 42,600 to 42,400. That means the average workers per store has fallen by nearly 6 employees per store, from almost 106 to slightly over 100 over the past year.

Apple Retail 10Q


While that level of staffing is not significantly different from historical levels over the past two years, it does indicate that one task in front of Ahrendts is determining whether to increase staffing in stores, or to work on strategies that seek to do more with fewer employees.

In some areas, Apple has had apparent success in rolling out technologies like its Retail app supporting user-directed purchases and self-discovery of offers via iBeacons. In other areas, particularly in handling repairs, user complains of long waits or scarce appointment openings suggest that the company's stores could begin a hiring and training a significant number of additional new people.

As the chief executive of Burberry, Ahrendts worked with 11,000 employees and a retail chain of more than 500 locations in 50 countries, a very different operation with far lower staffing levels per store.

30 new stores for FY 2014

Apple earlier announced plans to open 30 new stores--about 20 of those outside the U.S.--within Fiscal 2014, which is already half over as of the end of March.

So far, the company has opened 8 entirely new stores, including Shanghai iapm - Shanghai, China; V?la Centrum near Helsingborg, Sweden; Haarlem in The Netherlands; K?-Bogen Mall in D?sseldorf, Germany; China Central Mall in Beijing; the MacArthur Chambers Building in Brisbane, Australia; Village Mall in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Zorlu Center in Istanbul, Turkey (below).

Turkey Apple Store
Turkish Apple Store in Zorlu Center. | Source: orbaygumus via Instagram


It also intended to remodel or expand 20 existing locations, most of which are in the U.S., including a new flagship store at San Francisco's Union Square, which is expected to open later this year.

A focus on growth in China

When Cook was asked a question about Apple's iPhone performance in China last week by analyst Shannon S. Cross of Cross Research, Cook replied with additional details about retail performance in Greater China (which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong).

"For the first half, including our retail stores, Greater China revenue topped $19 billion," Cook noted. "So this is [an increase of] 21 percent year-over-year, and is our fastest growing region. So, we're looking at this data and deciding to continue investing in a big way.

"We plan to triple the number of Apple Retail Stores [in China] over the next two years. We're continuing to expand in online. We're continuing to build out channels. We're up to 40,000 points of sales now in iPhone, but we're not nearly where we need to be on the rest of our product line and even the 40,000 is a low number in considering the broad landmass and the number of folks in China. And so, I feel like there's still loads of opportunity there, and feel really, really good about how we're doing."

Apple currently has ten stores in mainland China, including the China Central Mall it just opened in Beijing in January. Three existing stores in Hong Kong means there were 13 stores that Cook plans to triple over the next two years in the Greater China region, a plan that would create 26 new locations for a total of 39 by Q2 2015.

This September, Apple should have about 445 stores open worldwide, if its openings go as planned. With around 100 employees per store, that will require the hiring of more than 2,000 people just to staff the new stores opening this year.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member

    Welcome Dame Commander! 

    But there are people still point out Gender inequality in Apple Board.

     

    As iWatch is near completion, I really dont think her Fashion Touch is there on this new category.

     

    Edit: She is coming for Retail. Not to fashionize something. :/

  • Reply 2 of 52
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    When does she show up on Apple executive page?
  • Reply 3 of 52
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Please don't be a bozo-ette.
  • Reply 4 of 52
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,702member

    I think the pressure is on her to not be another Browett.  It would also not fare well for Tim Cook's hiring abilities if she turns out to be another dud.  



    I honestly think she's going to be a great addition.  She has the chops, the style, and the connection with what's cool.  I think this is one area for Apple where having a woman in that position will really make a difference.  Keeping my fingers crossed.



    It will be interesting how her first few months go.  

  • Reply 5 of 52
    lord amhranlord amhran Posts: 902member
    chandra69 wrote: »
    Welcome Dame Commander! 
    But there are people still point out Gender inequality in Apple Board.

    As iWatch is near completion, I really dont think her Fashion Touch is there on this new category.
    As I understand it she is not allowed to use Dame before her name
  • Reply 6 of 52
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,320member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post





    As I understand it she is not allowed to use Dame before her name

     

    But you’re allowed to use Lord before your name?

  • Reply 7 of 52
    lord amhranlord amhran Posts: 902member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

     

    But you’re allowed to use Lord before your name?




    You're really taking my sn seriously? smh.....

  • Reply 8 of 52
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,510member
    Apple Stores are nice, but they are still colder than some other stores, simply because they are about tech. They could be a little 'sexier' and even less intimidating for non-tech-savvy people.
  • Reply 9 of 52
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,614member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     

    I think the pressure is on her to not be another Browett.  


    I really hope Apple / Angie's primary goal is not to make the stores more profitable (I am sure it is not). There really is no need, they are already the most profitable retail spaces in the world. I am sure her task will be far more strategic, and also to re-imagine (don't you just hate that term, by now?) the Apple retail experience for the next decade. I have to say you've got to be brave to take that on considering how well everything is working right now. But the retail stores could definitely do with a bit of a re-think / update.

     

    Browett went at his task completely wrong by trying to make the stores more profitable. I doubt anyone at Apple would be the slightest bit impressed had he succeeded. It would immediately beg the question (I think everybody here asked it) - 'at what cost?'. 

     

    Angela will not be a another Browett, all you have to do is listen to her speak to know that. Whether she will succeed at whatever she does is another question. I truly hope she will and that she will be around for a log time.

  • Reply 10 of 52
    danielswdanielsw Posts: 905member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by paxman View Post

     

    I really hope Apple / Angie's primary goal is not to make the stores more profitable (I am sure it is not). There really is no need, they are already the most profitable retail spaces in the world. I am sure her task will be far more strategic, and also to re-imagine (don't you just hate that term, by now?) the Apple retail experience for the next decade. I have to say you've got to be brave to take that on considering how well everything is working right now. But the retail stores could definitely do with a bit of a re-think / update.

     

    Browett went at his task completely wrong by trying to make the stores more profitable. I doubt anyone at Apple would be the slightest bit impressed had he succeeded. It would immediately beg the question (I think everybody here asked it) - 'at what cost?'. 

     

    Angela will not be a another Browett, all you have to do is listen to her speak to know that. Whether she will succeed at whatever she does is another question. I truly hope she will and that she will be around for a log time.


    Absolutely nothing wrong with profitability. The wrong think is that profitability and style or whatever she comes up with would be mutually exclusive. The real trick for her is to accomplish both.

  • Reply 11 of 52
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,373member
    sflocal wrote: »
    I think the pressure is on her to not be another Browett.  It would also not fare well for Tim Cook's hiring abilities if she turns out to be another dud.  


    I honestly think she's going to be a great addition.  She has the chops, the style, and the connection with what's cool.  I think this is one area for Apple where having a woman in that position will really make a difference.  Keeping my fingers crossed.


    It will be interesting how her first few months go.  

    I agree but I don't see what she or anyone else can do to increase sales in Apple Stores other than to introduce new and exciting products which she has zero control over.
  • Reply 12 of 52

    OK, Angela, take those retail operations and polish them until they are flat! 

  • Reply 13 of 52
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Unbuttoned shirt on Angela looks fine, on Browett it just looked stupid.

  • Reply 14 of 52
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

    You're really taking my sn seriously? smh.....

     

    You’re really taking his joke seriously? 

     

    I suppose I’m a 9’3” power drill.

  • Reply 15 of 52
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,179member
    Apple Stores are perfectly fine. The most successful retail operation on the planet, per square foot. Don't see why they should **** with the formula. Just keep opening more with a focus on great design.
  • Reply 16 of 52
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,614member
    danielsw wrote: »
    Absolutely nothing wrong with profitability. The wrong think is that profitability and style or whatever she comes up with would be mutually exclusive. The real trick for her is to accomplish both.
    Absolutely nothing wrong with profitability. I just don't think that will be the driving force. There is a lot more to the Apple stores than making money. Most importantly they represent the public face of the company and I think Ahrendts will be more focused on that aspect.
  • Reply 17 of 52
    danoxdanox Posts: 387member
    Angela DO NO HARM! The Apple stores are a showcase for all things Apple, they are not BestBuy, Amazon or Walmart.
  • Reply 18 of 52
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,417member

    "Flat" retail operations? This headline is deliberately misleading. Sales per square foot are still solid and beat almost every retail operation on the planet.

  • Reply 19 of 52
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,614member
    danox wrote: »
    Angela DO NO HARM! The Apple stores are a showcase for all things Apple, they are not BestBuy, Amazon or Walmart.
    Do you know anything about Angela Ahrendts?
  • Reply 20 of 52
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,526member
    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">You're really taking my sn seriously? smh.....</span>

    You’re really taking his joke seriously? 

    I suppose I’m a 9’3” power drill.

    Well, that IS a huge tool.
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