“Apple Inc.’s retail boss told employees that the company made mistakes with its staffing levels, leading to news reports that the company was cutting employees, according to two people familiar with the matter,” Ian Sherr reports for Dow Jones.

“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,” Sherr reports. “This happened for a few weeks before the company decided to revert to its older system, hoping to rectify the problem.”

Sherr reports, “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. Apple acknowledged the retail staffing changes. ‘Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed,’ said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. ‘Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Gary Allen reports for ifoAppleStore, “A series of recent administrative moves to reduce the number of Apple retail store employees is being attributed to Sr. VP Retail John Browett, who is hoping to increase the chain’s contribution to company profit. The staff reductions seem to be in direct contradiction to an increasing number of visitors to the stores, and the need to maintain Apple’s global reputation for excellent customer service. According to those with close ties to the retail stores, Browett feels the stores are ‘too bloated’ with employees, and he is willing to gamble the stores’ legendary customer experience to gain back a few points of profit margin.”

“Browett’s decision reportedly came 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,” Allen reports. “Browett disagreed with his staff, and said the chain needs to learn to run ‘leaner’ in all areas, even if the customer experience is compromised.”

Allen reports, “Other related rumors say Apple is quietly dropping the free workshops that retail stores have offered since Day 1, and that staffers are instead pointing customers to the $99 One to One training service. Management is also pushing employees to sell more iPhones with carrier contracts, hoping to increase revenues.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bozo Alert, Mr. Cook! You might want to keep a closer eye on the new guy with the shitastic Dixons “ideas,” okay?

In fact, you might want to require final approval on any changes he dreams up unless or until he finally gets it, if he ever does. If he doesn’t grasp the Apple way within the next, oh, say, thirty days, CUT HIM LOOSE. iPhone 5 launch will be here before you know it.

This is precisely the kind of stupid shit we worry about seeping into the post-Steve Apple. This was Tim Cook’s first big hire. Not looking good, Tim. This is not delighting customers. Shareholders should be concerned.

In fact, Apple shareholders might want to email CEO Tim Cook and ask him if this is true and, if so, what exactly he’s doing about it: tcook@apple.com

Note to John Browett: Watch it, buddy. You’re not in Dixons anymore. We have zero qualms with dedicating our lives to making yours miserable until you’re out of Apple Inc. and at Microsoft Retail where you belong. If it ain’t broke, don’t “fix” it, capice?

Related articles:
Apple retail chief Browett to get $56 million golden hello – May 27, 2012
Apple grants 100,000 shares to new retail head John Browett – April 25, 2012
Tim Cook emails UK customer: John Browett’s role isn’t to bring Dixons to Apple Retail – February 1, 2012
Eyebrows raised over Apple’s hiring of Dixons CEO to run Apple Retail Stores – January 31, 2012
Apple hires Dixons CEO John Browett as new retail chief – January 31, 2012

Apple Inc.: The most profitable retailer in America – August 15, 2012
Apple’s retail juggernaut is magical and revolutionary in its own right – May 25, 2011
Apple Retail Stores hit 10th anniversary (with video of Steve Jobs’ tour of 1st store) – May 18, 2011
Apple Store: ‘The best damn retail experience in America!’ – December 2, 2010
Apple’s retail stores generate huge sales – December 27, 2007
Piper Jaffray finds ‘gravitational pull’ at Apple Retail Stores – November 26, 2007
Apple thinks different with cash register-less retail stores that bring in billions – November 23, 2007
Apple makes retail seem ridiculously easy – May 29, 2007
How Apple’s Steve Jobs is revolutionizing Manhattan retail – May 08, 2007
Fortune: Apple Inc. is America’s best retailer – March 08, 2007
How Apple Retail Stores beat Best Buy, Neiman Marcus, and Tiffany – December 19, 2006