Apple shows signs of sales stress: Is the missing retail chief to blame?

“It has been about 10 months since Apple’s famous out-of-nowhere management upending, just weeks after announcing the latest shiny rectangles of various sizes ahead of the December holiday seaso,” Zack Whittaker reports for ZDNet.

“While many were looking at the apparent ousting of senior vice-president for iOS software Scott Forstall from the executive team ranks, many overlooked John Browett’s departure, who managed the company’s retail store efforts — most notably leading the push into China,” Whittaker reports. “Now, the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant is apparently waking up to the idea that there may be a connection between a lack of a retail chief and falling sales.”

Whittaker reports, “Browett’s resignation couldn’t come any sooner. This is considering that Apple spent the best part of six months unraveling some of his policies. Some were radical and others were off the mark. Some downright frustrated leadership, and some even annoyed customers, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. Almost a year later, senior Apple executives are unclear as to how its retail stores should operate��� What’s clear is that it has to be sooner rather than later. Apple recently reported the first sales dip in years. While sales are still high and stable on the whole, despite a rocky global economy and tight customer pursestrings, cracks are beginning to show around the edges of Apple’s retail strategy.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Apple Retail Stores suffer from sameness with no head of retail for 10 months and counting – August 1, 2013


    1. The best man for the job is Johnson. He built it, he understands the philosophy behind it, and he the vision to take it further.

      I’ll bet we don’t get a replacement for Browett until Johnson’s JCP separation agreement, one year non-compete clause, has expired.

      1. He may have built it but he has the loser logo attached to him now. Deserved or not. He went out on his own and took on a nearly insurmountable challenge. He failed. And it doesn’t matter whether or not he was given enough time at JCPenney, the end result is that it was a catastrophe. A catastrophe. Having grandiose and supposedly new ideas is one thing, being practical enough to implement those things is another. It doesn’t take a retailing genius to see that his plan was unrealistic. There was no excuse for such a failure. Apparently his head was a bit swollen when he came steam rolling into JCPenney. Along with his posse. Haughty and arrogant are just two terms used by most who had to deal with him. They couldn’t wait for the door to hit him in the ass on his way out. No, Apple doesn’t need him back again. He has already found out the hard way that he can’t walk on water.

    1. Exactly; besides Apple’s reports says it grew business over Americas 11% year-over-year — and this is where by far the most of stores are situated.

      Most of overseas markets were in decline, though, and this is why Apple as whole grew only $300 million in sales.

    1. Seems likely that it’s a money thing. JCP had to pay him off, and at the beginning they made up for the unvested Apple stock he left behind. Perhaps if he returns to Apple during the period of his contract then he has to repay JCP a huge chunk of money. He began in July of 2011, so if it were a two year contract then perhaps an announcement is imminent. There must be some good reason why the position has not been filled.

      (This is all just my speculation of course.)

    1. If in fact this year’s product cycle is longer than usual, you won’t know why until you see the product.

      When Apple pulled out of the January MacWorld event, Jobs stated it was to get away from the arbitrary one year product announcement cycle. Since then Apple has released new products when they are deemed ready, and not according to some arbitrary schedule, and that’s as it should be.

  1. Was recently in SLC, ABQ, and Sydney AUS Apple stores. Purchases were flying out the front door, with big smiles on the carriers faces. If there is a current slowdown in AS sales, it’s because folks are waiting for new phones, mini-iPads, etc. to hit the market.

  2. Tim Cook promised great things to come, people are prudent, they’re not buying now because they are anticipating the coming plethora of Apple branded doodads, widgets, and techno-baubles.

  3. This is stupid.

    Apple’s retail chief does not drive customers into stores — products do that. Therefore, a lack of new products means a lack of new excitement and a lack of reason to visit the Apple Store to simply see the new gear.

    Apple’s recent ad campaigns haven’t helped, either. They are trying to focus on Apple’s ecosystem and feelings, but they are a radical departure from prior ads, which were based on doing things with Apple products.

    New must-have products will solve all problems. Then Apple also will have new ads focused on new products and their uses.

    A new retail chief is needed, but no one is going to go to the Apple Store because Apple hired a new head retail person.

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