Earlier this week reports emerged of widespread layoffs and hour cutbacks at a number of Apple retail stores.
MacRumors was the first to report on the news:
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been receiving reports that Apple has been laying off a number of recently-hired staff members at its retail stores. Most of the reports have been coming from Apple retail employees in the United Kingdom, but several of these reports claim that similar actions are taking place at stores around the world. We’ve also been receiving reports of long-term cutbacks in hours for part-time staff in the United States and Canada.
Now a few days later, Apple has admitted to the layoffs and attributes it to a temporary change in Apple’s retail formula.
The Dow Jones Newswire reports:
In a communication with store leadership teams, senior vice president of retail, John Browett, who took the reins of Apple’s retail stores in April, said that the company had been trying a new staffing formula for its retail stores, leading some employees to see their hourly shifts cut and retail locations to be understaffed. This happened for a few weeks before the company decided to revert to its older system, hoping to rectify the problem.
He instructed leadership teams to tell employees, “We messed up,” according to two people who were aware of the communication, which also stressed that while shift schedules were affected, no one was laid off. He also wanted employees to know that it was hiring new staff, these people said.
Apple acknowledged the retail staffing changes. “Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed,” said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. “Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve.”
Interestingly enough, and despite Apple’s assertions to the contrary, there have been reports of people being laid off. ifoAppleStore fleshed out some details adding that the cutbacks were initiated by Browett in an effort to meet internal profit goals – i.e run a smaller team – even though other retail folks within the company objected.