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Apple's new retail chief looks to trim the fat

Odd things have been happening at Apple retail stores over the last few weeks. Earlier this month, reports started surfacing that a number of retail workers at Apple store locations had been laid off. Apple responded to those reports by saying that it had "messed up" in its retail hiring formula but hadn't laid anyone off. 
"Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed," said Kristin Huguet, Apple spokeswoman, at the time. "Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve."
However, reports are coming in that Apple stores are seeing their budgets cut, and a bigger emphasis is being placed on revenue. With a market cap of well over $600B and record profits quarter after quarter, it seems a bit odd to be placing such a heavy focus on revenue and cutting the budget of its retail outlets which have historically been very customer friendly. reports that employees still haven't received an official explanation of changes made in staffing levels, and that signs continue that Apple is focusing on revenues and profit instead of customer satisfaction.
According to sources cited by, employee performance standards have been modified to place an emphasis on sales functions. Reports also indicate that more small products will be stocked at Apple retail stores and several budget categories for the retail outlets have been cut, including the budget for store maintenance.
Sources say that workers are allegedly being evaluated based on the number of contracts sales for iPhones they're able to generate and a number of "essentials per hero product" sold with each product such as cases, and accessories. The sources also indicate that the number of training areas in stores is being reduced to accommodate the extra small products and accessories.

Sources: IFO Apple Store, Apple Insider

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Stalling the economy
By dgingerich on 8/28/2012 12:05:26 PM , Rating: 2
Talk about stalling the economy. Apple has huge amounts of cash on hand, and isn't spending any of it or sending it out as dividends. That sucks out the lifeblood of the economy, stalling everything. Last I heard, they have $60 billion sitting around doing nothing, much of it overseas.

At least Google is spending theirs on tons of projects. The project may not go anywhere, but they're spending the money.

Think of the economy like a circulatory system. If someone lays around and their blood pools in low spots, that blood isn't able to be used to deliver O2 and nutrients to the body, making the person more lethargic, increasing the problem. On top of that, the pooled blood dies slowly, causing it to be even less effective, and possibly toxic, when it finally does begin circulating again.

Companies sitting on unspent money, like Apple is doing right now, makes the economy even more lethargic, stalling recovery. Government policies, like increasing corporate taxes and making employee benefits cost more, cause companies to let money sit, compounding the problem. They aren't hiring. They aren't doing projects. They aren't reinvesting. The money sits around, doing nothing, and stalls the economy.

With the amount sitting at Apple, around $60 billion, and the amount that money would be changing hands in a year, about 8 to 10 times in a slow year, we're talking about costing the US GDP about $480 to $600 billion, and that's just from Apple. Apple alone, just hiring unnecessary retail employees and paying them a total of $10 billion, could cause a huge upsurge in the US economy and help a lot of people recover their lives. Instead, they let it sit. It's probably costing them more than it would in taxes to actually spend it.

RE: Stalling the economy
By dgingerich on 8/28/2012 1:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, I just got an update on Apple's cash situation. They have over $400 billion in the bank. In other words, they are single-handedly stalling the US economy.

RE: Stalling the economy
By B~ on 8/28/2012 2:13:02 PM , Rating: 2
Apple alone, just hiring unnecessary retail employees and paying them a total of $10 billion, could cause a huge upsurge in the US economy and help a lot of people recover their lives.

Value needs to be a primary consideration, as creating a job for the job’s sake only robs the payer.

When economist Milton Friedman observed mine workers in China digging a canal using shovels, he asked why they were not using modern machinery. He was told that this was a “jobs program” and that using shovels employed more workers. Friedman then quipped that they should give the workers spoons, not shovels. China had lost sight of the fact that the purpose of the work was to build a canal to increase commerce and enhance the lives of the citizens.

Better answer would be to hire the labor for something gainful to the economy, society, and the company, rather than to squander 10 billion to pay people to twiddle their thumbs.

RE: Stalling the economy
By dgingerich on 8/28/2012 4:54:32 PM , Rating: 2
At the rate they're affecting the US economy, they'd be better off spending for the sake of spending. To have this much money sitting around doing nothing is causing so much slowdown that people aren't buying their goods. If they spend on more projects, employ more people in general, as Google is doing, they'd get that money back out there to be reused. That money would make the rounds in the system, increase the economy in general, and everyone would make more money in the process. This would in turn allow more people to buy their goods, and most likely make them more profit than what they'd spent.

Granted, Google is spending on worthwhile projects, exploring different prospects and markets. They're even spending massive amounts of money on creating their own broadband ISP. (I hope they come here, being stuck with Comcast really sucks.) Google would easily have as much money as Apple if they had saved it up, yet Google is probably the only reason we're still under 10% unemployment.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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