In the e-commerce age, the Apple Store is in a constant state of transition. The company wants to prevent its retail locations from becoming solely a place for repair dropoffs and product pickups. But after a tumultuous holiday season this year, it has decided to make a big change.
Apple has announced that its SVP of retail Angela Ahrendts will step down in April, ending a 5-year tenure and a chain of three outside hires for the position. Instead, it has tasked three-decade company veteran and current SVP of people Deirdre O’Brien to absorb the role.
Ahrendts, hired from her position as CEO of London luxury brand Burberry, opened 69 locations during her time — the slowest 5-year pace than any preceding it — opting for more high-profile locations like Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Under her direction, many existing stores were renovated, the Genius Bar was de-emphasized in favor of service representatives roaming around more open floor plans and the “Today at Apple” program was launched to offer free lessons for digital skills to the public.
It’s not clear how much revenue is generated out of Apple’s retail presence. Apple Stores employ a total of about 70,000 employees.