Category: Apple Retail Stores

Apple Hires Dixons CEO John Brewett as Retail Chief

Currys and PC World 2-in-1 Superstore

Currys and PC World 2-in-1 Superstore | Image courtesy of Dixons

So today we got the answer to a question that we’ve been pondering for a number of months and we got Tim Cook’s first major hire as the official CEO of Apple. But I for one am a little skeptical.

Apple’s former chief of retail announced last year that he would be departing Apple to become CEO of J.C. Penney. The loss of Ron Johnson at the time seemed like a huge deal, Apple’s retail stores have been a shining example of retail success and many of the stores themselves are an amazing example of crossing the paths of old architecture and a contemporary company.

I for one am a huge Apple Store fan, and I’m lucky enough to live not too far from my favourite Apple store in London’s Covent Garden. To me Apple’s retail stores really define how the company has changed, their growing size and pervasiveness reflects Apple’s growing size and its sometimes unwelcome foray into unfettered markets. But also the diversity of these stores reflects Apple’s diversity, not just in products but also in its people and of course the efficiency and the technological boundaries pushed within the walls of an Apple retail store are admired the around the world—think Easy Pay and personal pickup as just two amazing examples.

This success which can be witnessed with your own eyes can also be witnessed in Apple’s financials, during the last reported quarter individual store quarterly revenue was up 43 percent year-over-year to $17.3 million and during the quarter, which included the busy holiday shopping season, each store hosted 22,000 visitors per week.

All of this was in part Ron Johnson’s vision, with a heavy dose of Steve Jobs, and he put it into reality.

(more…)

Two Europe and One Canada Store to Open This Weekend

Continuing towards a self-set goal of opening 30 new retail stores before the end of September, Apple will this weekend open another three. So far Apple has opened 14 new stores in four weeks with another four to go.

The following stores will open this Saturday:

In other retail store news, work at Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York City is progressing at a rapid pace. TUAW this week has posted pictures and video of the new glass panels being unloaded for use in the stores brand new cube. Work began on Apple’s iconic store two months ago, one of the aims of the renovation work is to reduce the number of glass panels used to make up the cube from 90 panels to just 15.

Store Opening Marathon Continues This Weekend, Grand Central Work Begins

Rendering of Grand Central Terminal Apple Store

Rendering of Grand Central Terminal Apple Store | Courtesy of Apple

In line with Apple’s self-imposed target of opening 30 new stores by September 30th, the company will this weekend open three new stores around the world. Last weekend Apple opened five new stores spanning from Australia to Alaska, with large crowds in attendance.

This coming Saturday (August 20th) Apple will open the following stores:

Apple has also begun work on yet another New York city store. As confirmed last month Apple has signed a deal to open a mammoth Apple store inside Manhattan’s famous Grand Central Terminal. People familiar with the progress on the store have said that Apple wishes to complete the store in time for Black Friday, occurring on November 25th this year.

Apple Plans Five Store Openings, Reveals Fifth Avenue Changes

Fifth Avenue Glass reduction

Apple informs passersby what changes are being made to Apple's iconic cube

Apple this coming weekend plans to open five retail stores across the world in the aim of reaching 30 new stores before September 30th, as outlined by Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer during the company’s last fiscal results conference call. Opening five retail stores in one weekend is not quite a record for Apple as on September 25th last year a total of seven retail stores opened on a single Saturday.

Locations opening this weekend include Australia, Canada and Italy and Apple’s first store location in Alaska. The stores are as follows, all opening this Saturday:

A following 24 more stores will open before Apple’s self-imposed September 20th deadline including stores in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Hamburg, Glasgow, London, Little Rock (Arkansas), and Berkeley (North California).

Fifth Avenue Apple Store staircase shrouded in white

Fifth Avenue Apple Store staircase shrouded in white | Photo by: Dan Nguyen

Apple has also revealed what changes are being made to the company’s famous Fifth Avenue retail store in Manhattan. The store which began renovation work last month was under a veil of mystery as onlookers speculated why Apple was removing the iconic 32-foot glass cube. Now it has been shown that Apple plans to simplify the cube. Currently made up of 90 panes of glass the new cube being erected will be made up of just 15, each side of the cube being made up of 3 panes of glass, each 32 feet long and eight-feet wide – as detailed by ifoAppleStore.

[Update 1] Gothamist has published a mockup provided by Apple that shows how the simplified cube will look.

Apple Pens Deal for Grand Central Terminal Store

Grand Central Terminal, New York City

Grand Central Terminal, New York City | Photo by Stuck in Customs

Over the last few months a number of rumours have suggested that Apple was showing serious interest in setting up the company’s largest (Editor note: disputable figures as ever) Apple store inside New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. This morning we have near confirmation that Apple has penned a 10-year deal.

As reported in the New York Post Apple is said to have “inked a 10-year deal with the MTA”, the 23,000 square foot store will reside in Grand Central’s north and northeast balconies which will mean the demise of Charlie Palmer’s Metrazur restaurant.

According to Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) documents Apple will initially pay rent of $800,000 a year, after 10 years the rent is said to increase to more than $1 million a year.

As is common with large stores in prominent locations, Apple will pay to refurbish the property.

According to the NYPost the MTA financial committee will need to approve the deal Monday with a further ok required on Wednesday from the board of directors.

Apple’s Growth Mirrored in Retail Movements

Fifth Avenue Apple Store staircase shrouded in white

Fifth Avenue Apple Store staircase shrouded in white | Photo by Dan Nguyen

Apple’s massive growth over the last few years is beginning to be mirrored in changes being made to retail stores that are beginning to strain under the pressure of Apple’s new found popularity.

Over the last year Apple has built bigger and bigger stores around the world and every year Apple breaks its own record for larger and more spacious stores.

Now the company is taking a step back and looking at the size of existing stores. New York City with four Apple retail stores is the focus of two major refurbs, one which will include a major expansion of the original NYC store in SoHo. The details of the expansion have been detailed by ifoAppleStore and show that Apple will close the SoHo store temporarily and open a temporary store at an unknown location.

The store which opened in July 2002 will be expanded to take over the ground-floor space at the rear of the store which previously belonged to the US Postal Service. It is unclear how long the expansion will take at this stage.

One of Apple’s most famous retail stores is also undergoing major changes although they will most likely not be visible to the general public once complete. Visitors to Apple’s Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City will currently be greeted by a huge tarpaulin cube that shrouds the original 32-foot glass cube.

The project that will cost $6.7 million will see the 32-foot glass cube removed and then reinstalled. Work is expected to be complete by November 2011 and it is unclear why the cube is being removed. Some have suggested the removal of the cube is for refitting, either to improve the technology or for safety reasons.

Apple has also begun renovations on the existing Ala Moana store in Hawaii. According to ifoAppleStore the work will cost $1.45 million and will involve a temporary store operating nearby whilst the existing space is worked on.

Apple has also begun work on its first Hong Kong store. The located in the Central district in the IFC plaza will be a two-storey store with some 15,000 square foot. M.I.C Gadget suggests that Apple will spend $20 million on construction, and a further $100 million on the 10-year lease. The store which is set to open in September this year will employ over 300 employees. A second Hong Kong store is planned for 2012 in Hysan Place in Causeway Bay that will reportedly feature more than 20,000 square feet.

Apple Begins Fifth Avenue Plaza Overhaul

Apple Store Fifth Avenue

Apple Store Fifth Avenue | Image courtesy of Apple

Apple has begun work on a major renovation to the plaza that sits above its famous Fifth Avenue retail store in New York City. The renovations which will take until early November will see the iconic glass cube removed and then reinstalled.

The details of the renovation are covered by ifoAppleStore and show that Apple will spend $6,661,050 to remove the 32-foot glass cube and its “sophisticated connection hardware” then make “upgrades” to the surrounding plaza and finally reinstall the glass cube.

ifoAppleStore points out that permits [PDF] which detail the work don’t reveal why Apple is removing the cube and questions whether a new updated cube will be installed.

Apple Retail Chief Scooped Up by J.C. Penney

Apple Store

Upper West Side, Apple Store | Image courtesy of Apple

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail Ron Johnson who has long been associated with the company’s rapturous retail success is leaving the company to become president and eventually CEO of J.C. Penney.

In an official statement J.C. Penney announced that Johnson will become CEO of the company on November 1st and will personally be making a $50 million investment:

Mr. Johnson said, “I’ve always dreamed of leading a major retail company as CEO, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help J. C. Penney re-imagine what I believe to be the single greatest opportunity in American retailing today, the Department Store. I have tremendous confidence in J. C. Penney’s future and look forward to working with Mike Ullman, the Executive Board and the Company’s 150,000 associates to transform the way America shops.”

In a statement to All Things Digital Apple said that it is “actively recruiting” for Johnson’s replacement:

“Ron is excited about this opportunity and we hope it goes well for him,” a spokesperson said. “We’ve got a great retail team in place and are actively recruiting for his replacement.”

Apple: “We’ve Learned a Lot”

Apple has this week distributed posters for display in Apple retail stores in the back-of-house area. The poster which is a celebration of Apple’s ten years in retail is typical Apple philosophy reflecting on what Apple has learnt and achieved in those ten years.

The poster [PDF] includes admissions of Apple’s mistakes, reveals many trivial pieces of information, thanks the customers and focuses on the idea that its employees are at “the center of all.”

Full text below (emphasis in original).

In the last 10 years, we’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned to treat every day with the same enthusiasm we had on the first day. We’ve learned the importance of giving our customers just as much attention as they give us. And we’ve learned the art of hiring the right people for the right positions. We’ve learned it’s better to adapt to the neighborhood rather than expecting the neighborhood to adapt to us. Which is why we spend so much time and energy building stores the way we do. Our first store, in Tysons Corner, taught us our first lesson within the first 30 minutes. We had just opened the doors when we noticed the steel already needed polishing. With a special polishing solution. And a special polishing tool. That’s when we learned that blasting steel with virgin sand makes it less prone to scuff marks. We’ve also learned that glass can be much more than glass. We’ve learned that a 32’6″ transparent glass box can stand tall even among the giants of the Manhattan skyline. That when glass becomes as iconic as the Fifth Avenue Cube, it can also become the fifth most photographed landmark in New York City. And we’ve learned that if you have to, you can close an entire street in Sydney to bring in three-story panes of glass. And when you create three-story glass, you also have to create a rig that can install three-story glass. We’ve even figured out how to make the world’s largest pieces of curved glass for one of our stores in Shanghai. We’ve also learned more than a few things about stone. Like how to reveal granite’s true color with a blowtorch. And that sometimes granite has veins of color that have to be matched. We’ve also learned that getting these details perfect can feel like trying to move a mountain. Sometimes two. But in the end, the effort is worth it. Because steel, glass, and stone can combine to create truly unique and inspiring spaces. We also understand that finding the right design for our stores is critical. We even built a full-scale facade of the Regent Street store in a Cupertino parking lot to be sure the design was right. Which taught us the value of seeing things full size. We once had a notion that ministores would offer the ultimate in convenience. Then we built one. Which showed us that bigger can actually be better. And we’ve learned that even when our stores are big, no detail is too small. This is something we learned all over again when we restored the Paris Opera store down to the last of its more than 500,000 tiles. We’ve also learned that our customers like open spaces, glass staircases, and handcrafted oak tables. And that those spaces don’t need to smell like pine trees or tomatoes to make them inviting. We’re constantly working to make our stores more artful, more iconic, and more innovative. And we’re awfully proud of every single one. We’re proud of our stores not just because they’re successful, but because of everything they’ve taught us. All the ways Apple Stores have made Apple stronger as a company. Over the past 10 years, we’ve learned that our stores are the embodiment of the Apple brand for our customers. Now, our customers just happen to be the entire reason we’re here, so let’s dedicate a few words to them. Around the time we opened the store in Tysons Corner, in 2001, everyone else was trying to talk to their customers less. Which made us think that maybe we should talk to them more. Face-to-face if possible. So we’ve found ways to strike up a conversation at every possible opportunity. We talk while they play with the products on the tables. And when they join us for a workshop. These conversations have taught us that customers love our products, but what they really want is to make a scrapbook out of family photos. They want to make a movie about their kid. Or a website about traveling across the country. Which has taught us that Apple Stores can and should be centers for creativity. And we’ve figured out through programs like Apple Camp and Youth Workshops that creativity doesn’t care about age. The movies and slideshows we’ve seen kids make are proof that all you need are the right tools and an idea. And we must be doing something right, because the kids’ smiles are just as big as ours. We’ve also learned that musicians can record an album in our stores that goes to the top of the charts. And that award-winning film directors are interested not just in our computers but in our workshops. We’ve learned a lot about having fun. And we’ve learned our customers like to use our products for business too. Experience has taught us that having one Pro Day per week dedicated to business customers isn’t enough. That we need to be open for business every day. And have space devoted to business training sessions, workshops, and events. We’ve learned that every staff member should be just as fluent in the needs of a business customer as the needs of any other customer. Our millions of conversations with customers of every stripe have taught us it’s not about making people feel like a computer or phone loves them. That’s impossible. Instead, it’s about giving people the tools to do what they love. And we’ve learned how to create amazing programs like One to One and Personal Setup to give people those tools. We created programs like these to replace fear with confidence. Because our customers have shown us that the ownership experience is even more important than the sale. We learned all this by asking questions. And genuinely listening to the answers. And to be sure we’re hearing everything, we’ve learned to converse in 36 languages, and a few of the local dialects as well. We’ve even learned a few cultural things. The proper use of the word y’all, for example. And our Japanese customers once taught us that their superheroes don’t wear capes. Which also taught us to see feedback as a gift. We’ve learned that a visit to the Genius Bar can fix more than just computers. It can also restore a customer’s relationship with Apple. And that we don’t need a minifridge stocked with free water to get people to talk to a Genius. Knowing they can get exactly the right answer when something isn’t working is enough. We even figured out how to shorten the time an in-store repair takes from seven days to one day. Our customers hold us to exceptionally high standards. So we’ve learned how to raise ours even higher. 325 store openings have taught us that a grand opening creates blocks and blocks of excitement. That people will stand in line for hours, even days, just to be among the first to walk through the front door. And to get a free T-shirt. Speaking of T-shirts, we’ve learned more than you can imagine about our own. We’ve found that when we wear black T-shirts, we blend in. And when we wear too many colors it’s confusing. But blue shirts are just right. We’ve also learned that it takes precisely 4,253 stitches to embroider the Apple logo on those blue shirts. And we even figured out which direction the stitches should go in. When it comes to product launches, we’ve learned we have to work hard to ensure supply meets demand. If not on the first day, then soon thereafter. And we’ve learned how to put our own products to use in innovative ways in our stores. We’ve created entirely new systems like EasyPay to help our customers as efficiently as possible. We’ve replaced the red phone behind the Genius Bar with more expertise right in our stores. All of these experiences have made us smarter. And at the very center of all we’ve accomplished, all we’ve learned over the past 10 years, are our people. People who understand how important art is to technology. People who match, and often exceed, the excitement of our customers on days we release new products. The more than 30,000 smart, dedicated employees who work so hard to create lasting relationships with the millions who walk through our doors. Whether the task at hand is fixing computers, teaching workshops, organizing inventory, designing iconic structures, inventing proprietary technology, negotiating deals, sweating the details of signage, or doing countless other things, we’ve learned to hire the best in every discipline. We now see that it’s our job to train our people and then learn from them. And we recruit employees with such different backgrounds–teachers, musicians, artists, engineers–that there’s a lot they can teach us. We’ve learned how to value a magnetic personality just as much as proficiency. How to look for intelligence but give just as much weight to kindness. How to find people who want a career, not a job. And we’ve found that when we hire the right people, we can lead rather than manage. We can give each person their own piece of the garden to transform. We’ve learned our best people often provide the best training for the next generation. And that it’s important for every member of our staff to not only feel a connection to their store, but to the teams in Cupertino and to the stores around the world. Because the best ways of doing things usually translate, regardless of language or country. We’ve also learned that due to the exceptional quality of our applicants, it can be harder to be hired at the Apple Store than in Cupertino. It can sometimes take two to three years to bring someone in. Not because they aren’t right for Apple. But because we want to be sure the opportunity we have to offer is right for them. Why have we learned to be so selective? So careful? Because our people are the soul of the Apple Stores. And together, our team is the strongest ever seen in retail. As beautiful and iconic as our stores may be, the people who create and staff those stores are what matters most. So on this 3,652nd day, we say thank you to every single one of you. We say thank you to those who were there on the first day, and to those whose first day is today. The past 10 years of the Apple Store have changed Apple as a company. Our experiences, our successes, even our occasional missteps, have made us better. They’ve made Apple better. And it’s because of those experiences, and the ways they’ve changed us, that we can’t wait to see what we’ll learn next. It’s been 10 years. What an amazing first step.

Apple Store Changes Covered in More Detail

iPad product info in Apple Store

iPad product info in Apple Store | Image courtesy of MacTalk

Today Apple has been rolling out a number of important changes to its retail stores around the world. Earlier World of Apple reported how Apple has installed iPads next to every product in the store offering product details, price comparisons and the ability to call a staff member of assistance.

Now a forum post on MacTalk by user jack112006 details some of the changes and the importance of them.

The forum user notes that the iPads aren’t physically different from normal iPad 2′s but have their home button disabled and have two cables going into the acrylic block they sit on. The first cable is for security even though the iPad is glued strongly to the acrylic block, the second is a special very thin dock cable that charges the iPad.

The iPads also introduce a queuing system that instead of meaning customers wait around for a member of staff they can request one to come over, the iPad will even let the person know where in the queue they are.

Finally Apple’s retail stores have been rearranged with more of the store devoted to setup, it is unlikely though that these layout changes have been pushed across all stores.

Apple has given an information pack to store staffers to help them understand the changes, inside is an inspirational document uncovered by 9 to 5 Mac.

What's so special about yesterday? Inspirational note

What's so special about yesterday? Inspirational note