After being Browettized, Apple Retail touts numbers

Last week, ifoAppleStore‘s Gary Allen reported on “a series of recent administrative moves to reduce the number of Apple retail store employees [that was] attributed to Sr. VP Retail John Browett.”

Citing “numerous tipsters,” Allen reported that recently Browett had “ordered store management personnel to reduce the number of employees. The first reports of cut-backs came from the UK, but the reports later spread to the United States and other countries.”

Browett’s actions included:
• Cease all recruiting and hiring events
• Make no promotions
• Immediately lay off newly-hired employees who are still on probation
• Reduce available hours for part-time employees
• Reduce or eliminate available overtime
• Lay off or fire employees who can only work more than 32 hours a week and not part-time

Apple Senior VP Retail: John Browett
Apple Senior VP Retail: John Browett
Within 24 hours of Allen’s report, Dow Jones Newswires‘ Ian Sherr, citing “two people familiar with the matter,” reported, “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,” Sherr reported. “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.'”

Today, we get some numbers:

“Apple opened its 374 and 375 retail store worldwide this weekend in Canada,” Jim Dalrymple reports for The Loop.

“According to Apple, the company has seen almost 300 million worldwide visitors so far in its fiscal 2012, which started in October 2011,” Dalrymple reports. “To give you some type of comparison, by July 2011, the population of the United States was estimated to be 311 million people.”

Dalrymple reports, “50,000 people get serviced at a Genius Bar around the world, every single day.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Browettize
Brow·ett·ize   [brau-eh-tize]
verb (used with object), Brow·ett·ized, Brow·ett·iz·ing

to monkey with success, usually in a cheap and ignorant way; to reinvent the wheel; to fix what isn’t broken; to screw the pooch; to attempt to empire-build with disastrous results, then face widespread public humiliation

brow·ett·i·za·tion, noun
brow·ett·ized, un·brow·ett·ized, adjective

Related articles:
Apple newbie John Browett brings Dixons to Apple Retail Stores – August 17, 2012
Dear Tim Cook: Apple’s retail focus should be on delighting customers, not generating cash – August 16, 2012
Apple Retail Store chief Browett: ‘We messed up’ with Dixons-eque staffing gamble; refutes layoffs – August 16, 2012
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

55 Comments

    1. I know of a company that knows retail better than Apple ever did, even at Apple’s peak. Abt.com. They are the best of the best of retailers. A recent edition of Consumer Reports (as little as they know of Apple products) nonetheless picked Abt as the top retailer in the country for price, selection, and overall happiness with the shopping experience. OVERALL HAPPINESS WITH THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE. Something with which Apple was familiar, but seemed to have neglected as of late. I can provide several names of people that should be helping Apple turn around this mess. People that know how to take care of customers better than anyone else, ANYONE ELSE, in the business.

        1. I gave you the web address, look them up yourself. They are a one-store 1,200 employee family owned business that, in addition to doing very well on the web of late, have totally dominated the Chicago area market for decades. Nobody beats Abt. Price. Selection. OVERALL HAPPINESS WITH THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE. Sticking by their customers to make sure they’re happy. You’re just as likely to get an Abt on the sales floor as you are anyone else. It’s an amazing place, with amazing customer service, with amazing customer satisfaction as a routine part of their DNA. Check them out. I have rarely gone anywhere else for anything since we bought our house in 1986. Wayne Cobb and Larry Luttrell in Appliances. Rob Christofell, Josh Davis, Joey Damore in the Apple store. Or anyone else on the sales floor or who answers the phone. Absolutely amazing customer service. Especially when the going gets tough.

            1. Yes, creativity is not “corporate culture” in fact in almost every case having a university indoctrinated corporate whore or a salesman into a leadership position will kill a company faster than a direct disaster.

              Ross Perot, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison, and even to some extent Howard Schultz and Fred Smith all understand – Service, accept change even encourage or lead that change, and know that creativity is key, and sometimes that creativity is not yours but emanates from your staff.

      1. No, the title of retail better than Apple should go to the Byte Shop NW during the 81 to 85 time period before “the salespeople” took over.

        Anyone with a bit of Apple DNA should have seen the train wreck that a hire like browett is. Jobs warned about people like him.

        1. Well, I am fortunate to write about a company that has been doing what they do best for decades, and is still doing it today. See Consumer Reports. – although Consumer Reports still doesn’t know squat about Apple.

      2. More about WhitIV:

        Astroturfing is a form of advocacy in support of a political, organizational, or corporate agenda, designed to give the appearance of a “grassroots” movement. The goal of such campaigns is to disguise the efforts of a political or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to another political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event. The term is a derivation of AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.

        Like other advocates, astroturfers attempt to manipulate public opinion by both overt (outreach awareness, etc.) and covert (disinformation) means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by an individual promoting a personal agenda, by organized professional groups for pay, or by activist organizations. Services may be provided by political consultants who also provide opposition research and other services. Beneficiaries are not the campaigners but the organizations that orchestrate the campaigns.

        That describes WhitIV’s discussion fully… nothing to see here… move along 😉

    2. Why would Browett have taken on such a position or action on his lonesome? Laying off people when the vaults are stuffed with cash and sales better than ever seems completely contradictory to Apple’s current very forward position in the market. You would have to have a career death wish to make Apple look bad this way.

      1. Most likely Browett doesn’t care one whit about Apple. He’s out to do what he thinks is best for him. And leaving things as they are does him no good. The thing he’s best at is cutting costs, so that’s what he did. It’s one of those short-sighted moves that temporarily boosts the profit from “his” department. In most companies this would work. In a couple of quarters he waves the spreadsheet around, trumpeting his success, and he gets a healthy bonus. Many many high-paid executives have made their biggest scores by screwing over the company.

        Obviously in this case it was a stupid thing to do, not because it was bad for the company (it always is), but because it would be noticed and called out.

        The only two things I don’t understand are why he got hired and why he still has the job. He’s like a cancer. He’s got to be cut out. If he’s allowed to stay that cancer will spread. It always does. The most amazing thing about Apple is not the iPhone or the iPad or any other product. It’s that they’ve been able to grow so much while until now avoiding that cancer. It is (was) unprecedented.

    1. Tim Cook reads MacDailyNews – or he at least hears about stuff like this from people at Apple who do. Many Apple employees – some very high up – read all of the top Apple-related sites daily. Trust me, he’s listening. I don’t know if he’s comprehending, but he’s listening and seeing this.

      MDN is one of the worst nightmares because, if they’re pissed off enough, they will never let it go.

  1. This huge employee staffing mistake is an error caused by many people at the very top. You can’t undo this major aftershock which follows Apple’s first lackluster (trying to be kind) year in over a decade. I’m not sure if this fixed anything other than proving the post-Steve Apple is completely lost and clueless, possibly irreparably damaged, for good.

      1. qka… I think you’re referring to stock and company performance. Definitely not lackluster. However, I think aryugaetu is referring to new products and technology announcements. On that front, definitely lackluster.

        1,000 shares of AAPL show me that my portfolio is VERY happy!! But the techno lover in me is desperately waiting for a major Mac Pro announcement, an iMac worth upgrading to, and a killer iPhone to blow away the competition. I’m fearful that my Long position on AAPL may be nearing and end if these announcements aren’t made on the next 3 months.

      1. its not about overtime. He was trying to keep people from being full-time so they wouldn’t get benefits (health insurance, disability, etc). For a company this profitable, this is slimy.

        I would doubt Browety would forgo his benefits, even being paid $50 million, yet he expects to keep good employees that are only making $11 per hour on average. I would bet that the benefits are the main reason a lot of these people are willin to work retail in an apple store to begin with

  2. Sad to think that Tim Cook even allowed this to happen. My local Apple store NEEDS more employees because everytime I have been there, it is BUSY!
    Treat your employees like crap, they will give crap service. Simple enough. Anyway, thanks for realizing and admitting it was a mistake.

  3. Apple pls do not fall into the normal corporate trap , increasing profits at any costs.
    That is not the Apple way…
    Care for your customers and your workers.
    Your workers represent your company !
    Your products attest to your innovative spirit.
    Don’t be be Microsofted!!

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