Apple Again Tops U.S. Retail Chains in Sales

According to a new report from research firm Retail Sails, Apple’s retail stores have been ranked as the highest sales per square foot in the U.S.. Apple’s retail stores have been ranked number 1 for the second time in a row. This is more than double that of second-place Tiffany & Co, earning $3,017.

Besides Apple and Tiffany’s, no retailer was able to surpass $2,000 per square foot. The No. 3 chain lulu lemon athletic earned $1,936. Apple also made the top 10 retailers list with the highest overall sales per store. Apple came in at No. 9, behind wholesale retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club, as well as Neiman Marcus and Walmart. Retail Sail’s data comes from an analysis of more than 200 American retailers across 15 sectors.

Apple Retail’s Emphasis on Profits Continues

Earlier this month, MacRumors pointed out that several changes at Apple retail stores were occurring. Among those changes it was reported that employees were being laid off or seeing recent promotions being revoked. Some part time employees were also seeing their hours reduced significantly, in some cases to report. The report was then followed by an acknowledgement from Apple that the company had “messed up” in adjusting its staffing formulas for its retail stores.

Now, ifoAppleStore takes a more in depth look at the situation. The report ties in changes in the philosophy of Apple’s retail experience since the passing of Steve Jobs and the new operational focus of Apple CEO Tim Cook and new retail chief John Browett. Under the operational focus of Jobs and Johnson, the vision of Apple Stores were focused on consumer satisfaction. Now, it seems that Apple has turned into a more numbers-focused perspective for its retail operations.

The report also claims that Cook hired Browett because of his focus on “traditional concepts of retailing” that prioritize revenues and profits as the key performance metrics. It seems that Browett is screwing up the retail experience and unfortunately, it seems Cook maybe behind it too. Apple Retail has been known to prioritize customer experience over profits so all of this is very surprising to me. You would think a company that has $100B+ wouldn’t need resort to such measures. I would understand this decision if Apple was in need of money.

But in 2009, Jobs took six months of medical leave and put Tim Cook in charge of the company, including the retail stores. Cook is primarily an “operations guy,” sources explain, and his natural focus is revenues and profits, not customers. While Jobs was away, Cook and chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer began to confront Johnson on his customer-centric retail philosophy—both felt the stores didn’t generate enough revenues to justify operating expenses.

In addition, it seems that an Apple Retail employee’s performance is also being based on new metrics too. I hope they don’t take the path many retailers take for measuring their employees.  In fact, I have also heard from sources that these changes are indeed happening.

“Contract sales of iPhones are now used to measure individual performance, and also now appear on store performance charts.”

It still surprises me that the company that has the world’s best retail experience chose the guy from one of the worst in Europe! You won’t see the effect of these changes in Apple Retail in the short term. However, in the long term, it will. By then, it will be too late.


Apple Megastore at Grand Central Terminal Boosts Sales at Other Businesses by 7.5%

Last year, Apple opened a brand new store in New York’s Grand Central, which looks absolutely stunning. The store grand opening  brought in a huge crowd too. It was also speculated that the store is  to generate half-a-billion in sales a year. Now New York Daily News reports that the new megastore in Grand Central Terminal has helped increase sales at other businesses in the terminal. The MTA rents space to about a 100 businesses.

According to the Nancy Marshall, director of Grand Central development at the MTA, sales at nearby restaurants, stores and other outfits increased a whopping 7.5 % between December and March compared to the same time frame ending in March 2011. Retailers located in the terminal brought in $177 million in sales last year, up 2.8 % above 2010. However, officials couldn’t immediately quantify in dollars the 7.5% increase in sales after Apple’s arrival.

The rent the MTA charges and collects from business at the terminal has also seen a steady increase over the year and it is projected to reach approximately $30.3 million this year. Net income after expenses is expected to be $20.3 million this year.


Apple Store iOS App Update Adds Support for Express Checkout, Advance Check-in for In-store Pickup

Earlier this year, Apple updated its Apple Store app for iOS devices. Once again, Apple has updated that app with some nice features.

The first feature that is introduced in the update is support for Express Checkout, which has been available via the regular online store, but now is available through the app as well. Express Checkout allows users to bypass the shopping cart system and simply click the “Buy Now” button. Then the user can enter their password to complete the order. The order will automatically use the default billing and shipping information associated with the account. There’s also an option for users to specify whether Express Checkout should default to shipping purchases, picking up purchases, or asking each time.

Another new feature that was added is to allow users to alert Specialists at their local retail stores that they are arriving to pickup an order. However, this feature is only compatible with the iPhone 4S.

Once again, Apple continues to improve the Apple Store retail experience for its customers.

Nest Thermostat Now Available for Purchase Via Apple’s Online Store

After about nine hours of down time, Apple’s online store is back up and is now offering the Nest thermostat for $249.95. That’s a $.95 premium over its suggested retail price.

Nest is a new product created by ex-Apple executive Tony Fadell, who is credited with the title “grandfather of the iPod.” The thermostat is the first product from Nest Labs , which was founded by founded by Fadell after he left Apple in 2010.

“The Nest Learning Thermostat helps you stop wasting energy, while providing control using your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac,” the official product description reads on Apple’s online store.

The thermostat is also being advertised as being compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, all iPad models, and the third and fourth generation iPod touch. Some features include:

  • Remembers preferred temperatures
  • Creates a personalized schedule
  • Turns itself down when your house is empty
  • Uses Airwave to automatically lower cooling costs
  • Change the temperature from anywhere
  • Control Nest anywhere with iPhone, iPad, or Mac
  • Shows exactly when heating or cooling was on
  • Points out what causes spikes in energy use

John Browett, Apple’s New Vice President of Retail, Sends Introductory Email to Store Employees

Last week, we reported that Apple’s new retail chief, John Browett, had received $61M in stock rights. Browett received a total of 100,000 restricted stock units (RSUs) and at Apple’s current stock price, those RSUs are worth around $61 million. Then we reported that John Browett has been added to Apple’s leadership page.

Today, the new head of retail has sent an email introducing himself to Apple Retail employees in an email obtained by IFO Apple Store.


At last I’ve officially started at Apple, and it’s great to be here. I’ve had the chance to meet many of you at stores in the U.S. and across Europe, and one of my top priorities for the coming months is to meet many more people on our team around the world.

It’s incredibly impressive to be on the inside of Apple Retail. Many of my friends, relatives, and former colleagues have written to tell me how lucky I am to be working with such a great group of people, and I couldn’t agree more. While our stores are fantastic and our products are amazing, it really is our people who make the difference in creating the best retail experience.

There will be much more to share in the weeks ahead, and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone over time.

I am thrilled to work with all of you as we build the future of Apple Retail together.

Browett has a degree in Natural Science from Cambridge University and an MBA from Wharton Business School.

John Browett, New SVP of Retail, Added to Apple’s Leaderdship Page

Earlier this week, we reported that Apple’s new retail chief, John Browett, had received $61M in stock rights. Browett received a total of 100,000 restricted stock units (RSUs) and at Apple’s current stock price, those RSUs are worth around $61 million. However, at that time, Apple had not updated their company’s leadership page at that time.

John Browett Apple Bio

Now, it is official that John Browett has started to work as Apple’s Senior Vice President. Apple has updated its leadership page with a picture and biography of the former Dixons Retail CEO. He also has a degree in Natural Science from Cambridge University and an MBA from Wharton Business School. The company’s leadership page  features biographies of Apple’s executives (CEO, CFO, and all Senior Vice Presidents).

Apple notes that Browett will report to Apple, CEO Tim Cook.

Apple Stores Replace Kids’ Table With iPads

Apple continues to make improvements to its retail store experience. The company is now replacing iMacs at the kids’ tables with iPads. This is the first time a product other than the iMacs will be displayed at the tables. The original tables were surrounded by black balls from the Baleri Italia company for children to sit on. Those chairs cost Apple more than $500 each.

Kids iPad table

Not all Apple Stores have started to switch the tables, reports iMore. The kids’ area was part of Apple’s retail plan from beginning and was built into the first Apple Store which opened in 2001.

The new iPads demo child friendly apps that are easy to learn and play. Apple’s kids’ tables remain the same with wooden tables surrounded by the black balls from the Baleri Italia company for children to sit on.

This change just tells you a lot about their strategy and focus with kids.

Apple Working on Local Backup Servers for iOS Devices Needing Genius Bar Replacement?

9to5Mac reports that Apple is working on a new hardware solution for its retail stores Genius Bars. This new tool will allow the staff to quickly back up devices that require replacement. Also, this device will allow users to move that data back onto the replacement devices. Normally, users are told to back up their devices before bringing them to the Genius Bar. However when users who fail to do so and then learn that their devices require replacement can lose valuable data.

According to the report, it is rumored that the systems will be a local wireless backup system, which will be capable of quickly getting data from an iCloud backup from a device and temporarily storing it while the device is replaced for the owner. After the replacement device is powered on and activated, Genius Bar staff will be able to quickly put back data onto the new device to provide the user with a fully-updated and functional replacement device. If this report does turn out to be, it will be awesome for customers. Just goes to show how much Apple cares about its customers.

The report indicates that if this does turn out to be true, Apple may introduce this in retail stores in mid-2013.

Apple Online Store Updated With New Look

Last night, we reported that the Apple Online Store had gone down with a new look. The famous “We’ll be back” sticky note was replaced with a new graphic.

Apple Online Store Chat

After the store came back online, it appears that the company has improved its sales chat support for those looking to purchase an Apple product. Online chat for individual products have been available on Apple’s website for a while now, but the changes have introduced a new chat window with a more modern appearance. Online sales chat is available only during certain times of the day and dependent on the availability of chat agents.

Apple Online Store Screen Share

Interestingly, points out that Apple appears to be using its Brazilian store as a test market for even further improvements. Turns out, Apple is testing a screen sharing feature in the Brazil store. It allows sales specialists to share their screens with potential customers to help walk them through a product’s features.

The report indicates that the screen sharing virtual tour feature is limited to the iPad 2 for the time being, but Apple does have plans to extend it across its product lines.