Apple’s Angela Ahrendts has a plan for next-gen retail

“Angela Ahrendts stands on the snowy steps in front of the former Carnegie Library in Washington, DC. This noble construction, built between 1901 and 1903, and once filled with books, will soon become an Apple store – and something more. Alongside $1,250 iPhones and $130 Apple Pencils, the space will play host to creative workshops, sketching tours of the neighbourhood and author readings that will be live-streamed to other stores around the world,” Suzy Menkes writes for Vogue Business. “This is retail, but not as we know it.”

“As chief executive of Burberry from 2006 to 2014, Ahrendts, 58, proved that a bricks-and-mortar store could appeal to the millennial generation,” Menkes writes. “Five years ago, she left London for Silicon Valley – and since then has been dreaming up a new vision for retail at one of the world’s largest technology companies.”

“Retail has never been so in need of reinvention. Since 2017 almost 10,000 stores in the US have closed their doors. Some analysts predict that by 2022 one in four US malls could be out of business. Although 2018 showed some signs of improvement, the twin threat remains: retailers around the world need to find a way to both compete with online shopping and to attract younger, more demanding customers,” Menkes writes. “No company is doing experiential retail with the same level of scale or ambition as Apple. Its ‘Today at Apple’ programme offers classes, talks, concerts and workshops, each designed, in Ahrendts’s words, to ‘enrich lives.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Having Ahrendts, with a highly successful CEO-ship on her resume and available to step in for Cook at a moment’s notice should some unforeseen tragedy happen, is invaluable.

Find out more about “Today at Apple” here.

Why Angela Ahrendts left Burberry for Apple – June 20, 2018
Ralph Lauren to add Apple’s Angela Ahrendts to Board of Directors – May 9, 2018
International Women’s Day: Angela Ahrendts, the retailer – March 8, 2018
Angela Ahrendts is again Apple’s best-paid employee – December 29, 2017
Apple now requires CEO Tim Cook to fly only on private jets – December 28, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook paid close to $102 million for fiscal 2017 – December 28, 2017
Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Powerful Women: Angela Ahrendts #13, Laurene Powell Jobs #14 – November 2, 2017
Tim Cook took home $10.3 million, Angela Ahrendts earned $25.7 million in 2015 – January 6, 2016
Apple’s Angela Ahrendts emerges as highest-paid U.S. woman with $83 million – May 5, 2015
Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts paid $73.4 million in cash and stock last year; BoD member Drexler steps down – January 22, 2015
Apple’s new retail chief Ahrendts granted $68 million in restricted stock – May 6, 2014


  1. As qualified as Ahrendts is on paper, companies like Apple should not be led by salespersons, logistics people, engineers, or designers. Each of these has an emphasis in their vision which detracts from the whole.

    Apple needs a visionary; as the past 7+ years have demonstrated, someone without a high-level, segment-agnostic vision is at best a caretaker of a vision frozen in time, and such a frozen vision is like driving a car with only a still photograph of the road in front of your eyes.

    1. Visionary with focus. Who knows what Steve would have Apple doing right now, I suspect it isn’t Carpool Kareoke. He seemed focused on “building great products.” To Steve, it seemed that content creation meant building tools for content creators, not creating the actual content. These days Apple seems all over the place whilst trying to create a studio and turn the various computing platforms into tools for mere consumption.

      Apple is the iPhone Company
      Apple wants to be a car company
      Apple wants to be a movie and tv studio
      Apple wants to be a Political Action committee
      Apple wants to be a digital services company
      Apple wants to be a financial services company
      Apple wants to be a financial services company

      They are searching for the next big thing. What will replace the iPad juggernaut and provide Wall Street the growth potential they look for? They have seemingly forgotten about building great products.

  2. What the hell has she done? I must have missed something because every apple store i’ve been in looks the same as it did 5 years ago. There’s still the same queues and gormless apple staff milling around with iPads to point you in the direction of another queue.

    The only real difference is the price tags have doubled.

    1. Agree. I can’t stand Apple Stores and get anxiety every damn time I go in one. Sad to say but I enjoy the Best Buy Apple Kiosk area. One or two geeks standing there that stay the hell out of my way…until I need them.

  3. I remember when video tapes and then dvds came out and many were prohesying the end of movie theatres. It turns out that the “experience” matters, and many still like the experience of going out, the big screen, etc…

    Ms. Ahrendts moves make sense – continue to improve and transform the experience of retail. I found the idea of sketching tours of neighborhoods interesting for more than one reason. Old style retail (pre-supermarket, superstores, etc.) was made up of relationships with many shop owners, who were part of the community. We need a greater sense of community in our increasingly fractured country and (sadly, sometimes tech-driven) isolation from real, tangible relationships. You can probably tell my age from all this musings. I am not saying the past was golden. I do believe that reality is better than reality shows. It seems like our world of politics and news have taken on the attributes of reality shows – a veneer over the reality underneath.

    Sometimes you just want to quickly get in, buy something, and get out.

    1. Well, that was wierd… The last sentence in my post was written in the middle of the previous paragraph (speaking of our relationship to retail).

      Wish we could edit posts…

  4. ” Having Ahrendts, with a highly successful CEO-ship on her resume and available to step in for Cook at a moment’s notice should some unforeseen tragedy happen, is invaluable. – MDN”

    Weird. What specific actions at Burberry did Ahrendts take that indicate she is a highly qualified future CEO of Apple? Has she shown anything these last few years at Apple to indicate that she’s qualified to run the whole company?

    1. Ahrendts doubled Burberry’s sales and tripled its stock price.

      When she arrived at the luxury retailer in 2006, the brand had been overexposed with its trademark red, beige and black plaid motif and knockoffs of the same seemingly everywhere. During her tenure, sales doubled and the stock price tripled as the tech-savvy CEO moved the brand upscale. — Business Journals, May 6, 2014

  5. Until recently, I was very critical of Ms.Ahrendts as she looked like stealing big salary not equitable what I thought she was doing (or not doing). I still am, but I am also beginning to feel a bit of sympathy for her as a victim of a misfit. It’s not that she is not a capable woman, and I am sure she was in the right place (London?, but not silicon valley). She was probably brought to Apple as a result of a simplistic idea of making certain products (iPhone and watch come to my mind) high-end, luxury, brand name fashionista items to add more superficial value to them in order to maintain the high price level, hence high profit.
    But the Hermes watch and band at over $2,000(Canada)? C’mon!
    Even the Nike brand was an unnecessary excuse with no visible benefit to consumers.
    Yes, Apple store generally attracts many people and I am glad we have somewhere to run into when we want to check out some new products or service/repair etc. It is very valuable and worth the money we pay for their products. But other than that, it is basically a retail outlet, and what value Angela can add to it? Perhaps her equally valueless partner Ive can tinker the store furniture here and there, but it is first and foremost a place to talk about the Apple products. If Angela can somehow make the store operation smoother in that regard, then by all means. But it’s a time for this old brass club to go. Most everything these people were doing was simply misguided and at a very high price. Visionless? Yes, certainly.

  6. Ahrendts gets it. Brick and mortar stores are becoming anachronistic in the digital age. Making Apple retail outlets a destination for social/educational/artistic endeavors is a smart play.

    I don’t know if Angela is CEO material for AAPL, but she sure as hell is a tremendous asset.

  7. Whats is a 2 dimensional box?

    And she says retail is more about the mac? While macs were ignored for so long? Sounds like 2+2=5…. along the same lines as 2 dimensional box.

    So far i don’t see the value she has brought to Apple specially considering her compensations .. (but then again , who knows what it would have been without her?)

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