Reports surfaced earlier this week that Apple Retail Stores were laying off employees and drastically cutting back on working hours for part-time employees. On Wednesday, The Mac Observer was unable to independently confirm that any U.S. stores were experiencing layoffs or reductions apart from normal turnover, although we could neither confirm nor deny reported workforce reductions in the United Kingdom.
Now Apple’s new retail chief, John Browett, has told company leaders that the staffing changes were the result of a “mess up” caused by a temporary trial of a new staffing formula, according to Down Jones Newswires.
Mr. Browett communicated his clarification to Apple Retail leadership and instructed them to inform their employees that the company “messed up.” No employee was laid off solely as a result of the new staffing formula and the company was still hiring staff as normal.
“Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed,” Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokesperson, told Dow Jones Newswires. “Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve.”
Initial theories that the workforce reductions were part of a drastic plan to trim Apple’s retail operations and increase profit were odd, considering that Apple Retail is by far the most profitable retail operation in the country and Apple Retail employees also just received significant raises in June.
Despite Mr. Browett’s claim that no employees were laid off, MacRumors has received reports that some employees were indeed let go and have not been rehired. The Mac Observer has not been able to independently verify these reports. Sources did tell us about a handful of retail employees departing the company, but these were explained entirely by conditions separate from any corporate-issued staffing changes. It therefore seems that the temporary staffing formula affected some markets more significantly than others.