Following recent report claiming that Apple was laying off workers and cutting back hours in their retail stores, Apple has quickly responded, with newly appointed retail chief John Browett admitting he made a mistake while “testing a new retail formula.”
In a statement to Dow Jones, Browett states:
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.
That’s quite a screwup, and as Jim Dalrymple of The Loop points out, Browett’s “retail formula” goes fundamentally against what Apple’s retail program – and indeed, Apple itself, are all about:
This has the stench of a man looking to make a name for himself, not someone that’s doing what’s best for Apple or more importantly, its customers. To take one of the most heralded retail experiences in the world and gut it, stripping it of everything that makes an Apple store what it is, just doesn’t make sense.
Cutting back on retail hours to save a few pennies, while reducing customer service capabilities at retail stores is a bad move for a company with tons of cash, especially leading up to exciting new product releases, such as the next iPhone.
In fact, a move like Browett’s is bad news even under the best of circumstances, considering the emphasis Apple places on their retail experience, and the high level of service customers have come to expect from Apple Stores.
An Apple PR representative added to Browett’s statement:
Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed. … Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve.
Browett clearly doesn’t understand what Apple’s retail experience is all about. Looks like Apple needs to find themselves a new retail chief!