Apple’s retail stores are still cutting back on hours, changing employee priorities, and it all could be due to a directive from Tim Cook, according to a big report on the state of its retail operations from ifoAppleStore.com, a site dedicated to coverage of Apple’s retail operations.Earlier this month scattered reports popped up that Apple was laying off retail staff and cutting back hours in order to maximise profits at its stores.
Apple seemed to confirm these reports when it told Dow Jones, “Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed.” It added, “Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve.”
Despite this statement from Apple, things are not returning to normal for retail employees, says ifoAppleStore.com. (It was the site that first reported Apple was cutting back on hours to make more money.)
In its latest report, ifoAppleStore.com says, “all the sources to IFO were unanimous that employees had indeed been laid off, fired, assigned no hours or otherwise made unemployed by Apple.”
It also says, “Signs persist of a continuing focus on revenues and profit instead of customer satisfaction.” It says Apple is emphasising employees’ sales numbers. Employees are being measured against how many phones they sell, as well as how many accessories.
Who is to blame for all of this? According to IFO, this is Tim Cook’s fault.
IFO’s sources say former retail leader Ron Johnson convinced Steve Jobs to de-emphasise profits for the retail stores in order to build a fantastic customer service experience. But, IFO says when Tim Cook was interim CEO in 2009, he told Johnson he wanted to see Apple’s stores more profitable.
When Cook became full-time CEO, and Johnson left, IFO says Cook hired John Browett, who was like-minded and is trying to max-out profits. If Browett and Cook really are going to emphasise profits over customer service, it will destroy what makes Apple stores so great. And really, Apple doesn’t need the extra money, so it’s short sighted to do this, if it’s really happening.
Another explanation for what’s going on: Apple’s stores could just see hours being trimmed right now because we’re in between monster products from Apple. Once the fall sales season swings into full effect hours could return to normal.
Either way, we will keep our eyes on the Apple stores to see how things change.