“Apple Inc. named its third retail chief in seven years, seeking to shake up store operations while casting about for the next big hit as the iPhone era wanes,” Mark Gurman reports for Bloomberg. “On Tuesday, Apple said company veteran Deirdre O’Brien will replace Angela Ahrendts, who served in the role for about five years. O’Brien is the first insider tapped to run the Apple division since Ron Johnson opened the first Apple store in 2001 and left a decade later.”

“The departure of Ahrendts, Apple’s top female executive, was a surprise. But it also marks a turning point for the company and its approach to retail,” Gurman reports. “Sales of the iPhone — Apple’s biggest product line — peaked last year, putting more pressure on Cook to find new revenue streams while experimenting with promotional pricing tactics that Ahrendts eschewed… For the first time, the retail chief will also have other priorities because O’Brien will continue to lead human resources.”

“About month before Ahrendts’ departure was announced, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook warned the company would miss its holiday sales target for the first time since 2001,” Gurman reports. “Ahrendts was credited with modernizing Apple’s store designs, integrating the online operation and developing extensive workshops that kept customers coming back to the retail locations. But some consumers in recent years have complained about long wait times to purchase products and get appointments with technicians… ‘Her focus was integrating the online and offline experience, which in some ways took the focus away from an excellent in-store experience,’ said Gene Munster, managing partner at Loup Ventures. ‘The brick-and-mortar store still has friction around the consumer experience, and Apple is committed to making it better.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It should not be difficult to find the Apple Store on Apple’s home page. It’s more difficult today to find it than when Ahrendts arrived. “Store” should be returned as one of the main tabs atop all pages of Apple.com. And, Apple Stores should once again be called “stores” because, duh, that’s what they are.

At Apple Stores in recent years, we’ve felt a bit like cattle being herded through gates by overworked hired hands wearing strained smiles. Hopefully, that will now end.

Finally, please lose those awful, hard-ass wooden boxes that are strewn about Apple Stores. They are awful.

Apple’s Angela Ahrendts to depart in April; Deirdre O’Brien named senior vice president of Retail + People – February 5, 2019