Apple’s Retail Store headache

“Apple Stores are one of Steve Jobs’ greatest legacies, but the retail business has been a headache for Apple lately,” Katie Lobosco reports for CNNMoney.

“The latest migraine: The friendly, t-shirt wearing retail workers helping you pick out your latest iPhone filed a class-action lawsuit late last month, suing the tech giant over unpaid wages,” Lobosco reports. “A year ago this week, Apple began laying off recent Apple Store hires to make its retail operation leaner. The problem: Apple has been praised for its ubiquitous help, and the cuts were made smack in the middle of the busy back-to-school season. Apple later reversed course and publicly admitted the layoffs were a ‘mistake.’ The company fired John Browett, its retail chief, two months later.”

Lobosco reports, “Sales at Apple Stores have also begun to sink, and visits are down. This past quarter, Apple Stores averaged 16,000 visitors per store each week, down from 17,000 during the same period a year earlier.”

MacDailyNews Take: The Great Apple Product Drought of ’13.

Lobosco reports, “Per-store revenue fell 9% year-over-year, while Apple’s overall sales were up 1%… [And], for now, the Apple Store is leaderless. Apple has yet to find a permanent replacement for Browett, who only lasted fewer than 10 months in the job. He replaced Ron Johnson, who is largely credited with developing Apple’s retail strategy. Johnson left for J.C. Penney (JCP, Fortune 500) in 2011… though he’s currently available.”

Read more in the full article here.

23 Comments

    1. I am stunned that Apple continues to sell Cinema displays with USB 2.0 rather than 3.0. When the new notebooks and desktops are released this year Apple better offer Cinema displays with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2. I have zero desire to purchase any Apple product gimped with 20th century technology.

        1. Apple, bringing you the best 20th century technology for the 21st century. I will not buy out of date technology, but you feel free to do otherwise, since you have no desire or expectation of Apple integrating newer technology in all its product lines.

  1. Apparently everyone who writes about an Apple retail store has never been to one. Because if you go to one your opinions and fact less dribble might change. Apple stores are still thriving with business and are as busy as ever. They have not had a big release with big long lines but that’s about to change. So the Apple stores are not the headache one might lead you to believe.

    1. Not to mention they still sell more product per square foot than any other retail establishment ($6000/sq ft last year). Apple is the best retail store in the country. The next best was Tiffanys, at $3000/sq ft.

      As usual, fluff from the media, devoid of relevant facts and context.

  2. I think the only reason why average visitors numbers are down is because Apple has not release any new products in their two major product lines: iPhone and iPad since late last year. This is not an Apple retail problem; it is a lack of new products problem. Watch the shoppers come streaming in again come Fall 2013.

  3. In fact, Apple’s biggest problem is that their stores are too small and have too few people working there. Every time I’ve gone in it has been pandemonium. With the new products (especially the iPhone 5C) due out soon, it will be a pure mad house at every store (not that this will keep anyone away- but it sure would be nice for the stock price, profits and market share if they could handle a larger throughput).

  4. if thats all their down – well compared to every other store thats stellar. People aren’t shopping. From the time our taxes were raised last year- business has been in the tank. people don’t have that extra money to spend. Everyone else is doing big giveaways to get you to shop. Apple will give new products- brillant

  5. I don’t know why I keep clicking on these bullshit chicken little articles. The entirety of every other company on Earth wishes they had the Apple Store “headache” to contend with. What idiot mechanism is at work that every any and all dips in what is by nature a volatile market is regarded as a problem? What moron really believes that a system that is making 100% more than the nearest competitor is now a problem because its only making 97% more than every other competitor? No one wants to believe Apple will continue to grow based on past performance but every reduction no matter how slight is a clear sign of a trajectory straight to the bottom? Madness.

  6. The AppleStores are a huge and unique asset.

    Help, advice, information, training, all available, and bookable online, too.

    Only problem I’m aware of are the weekend crowds. My solution: weekday afternoons and evenings.

  7. Conversation taking place earlier this morning In a secret underground lair of linkbaiters & FUDsters – paid for by the axis of evil: Hedge Fund Vampires, Copycats, and mysterious vagabonds who lurk in the shodows known only as “The Shorters”:

    Slimebucket 1: OmyGod, OmyGod OmyGod!!! APPL’s going up, up UP!! Quick we gotta do something. Someone, somewhere write a hit piece.

    Slimebucket 2: Er, um, I’m kinda outta ideas. I’ve pretty much regurgitated every the “name not to be spoken” is doomed scenario I could think of for the past year – no one’s buying it

    Shamesung shill: Yeah, people are catching on to the “name never to be uttered” not cool any more & Samsung is THE ONE tripe – I’m starting to lose credibility.

    SB1: ooh, ooh what about “Steve is dead and so is Apple.”

    SB2: Done to death – and with the SJ Flick coming out, mentioning him will only get “unnamed enemy” sympathy.

    SS: What about they can’t innovate? That one always stirs things up.

    SB2: I hear they have a TON of mind blowing things coming down the pipe soon – we’ll look like short sighted idiots.

    SB1: Asian working conditions?

    SS: excuse me?!? Didn’t you read the piece about Brazil yesterday – we don’t want people to start comparing how apples are made to how cheap shiny plastic apples are made now do we?

    SB1: Wait, I got it: wasn’t there something about a retail lawsuit – and their retail #s dropped for the first time in like forever, right?

    SS: Wasn’t that like a month ago and a page 10 story that got all of 3 lines of copy?

    SB2: yep & it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that lack of new products to buy = lack of buyers = slower sales

    SB1: Yeah but that’s WAY too any steps for the average reader to figure out.

    SS: It’s kinda weak sauce, but we gotta try something to stop the bleeding, this thing’s about to turn into an avanche of epic proportions. Let’s do it! I’ll take the no CEO angle, SB2 you take the unhappy workers / lawsuit angle, SB1. You try the Icahn will ruin Apple by selling off retail angle and throw in a Samsung is way cooler anyway bit. Maybe if we say it enough times, somebody will bite.

    1. Smart piece. Close to reality in some ways. The paid and connected biased analysts, clueless media, students working for competitors to twit and face slime blogs have certainly been paid for FUD in the past. Now they will have to work overtime in adverse market conditions favoring Apple.

  8. I think a lot of people that are now Apple users, brought into the fold with iPod or iPhone/iPad, they actually will use the Apple online store to upgrade or buy instead of a trip to physical store. They know their Apple product, want the new version knowing it will be great – order online and have it delivered to their door ready to go. Apple even has the amazing ability to get your new iPhone, iPod, iPad whatever delivered the day of release – why wait on a long line, unless that is the experience people want? So those folks are less store traffic.

    Even repairs.

    My iPhone lock button got funky. I call Applecare. It’s still under warranty. They send you a new one, swap your SIM, send your old one back in same box new one came in, with the supplied return label. No cost. No brainer. I am not that mobile physically, so the DHL guy waited why I opened and repacked. Less traffic to Genius at store.

  9. Oh really, we’ll this last tax free weekend in Dedham the store did a million dollars both days so I call hyperbole again on peasant reporters who can only get their name mentioned if they include the word “apple” blah!

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