I live in downtown Montreal – my place is just a few blocks away from Apple’s main store in Montreal (I don’t know whether there’s another retail store on the island) and nearly every week, I walk by the store at least 3 times…
I remember that a couple of years ago, I used to see constant lineups in front of the store, and, in the case where there is no lineup, I used to see the stores crowded with customers (it was even hard to walk inside the store because the whole place was crammed). Now, I don’t see these lineups anymore – not only that – I see more people with blue shirts (Apple employee wear blue shirts) than others…
Now, the dramatic drop in the number of walk-in clients is normal, and is the result of a failed iPhone5 and the lack of innovation for the past couple of years (since Steve Jobs was no longer involved in decision making). But, I was thinking, what about those people with the blue shirts? How long will Apple, as a company seeking profit over anything else, tolerate its retail staff when it’s no longer having the same retail volume?
In my opinion, not for long. Apple has an infamous history when dealing with its staff, especially its retail staff: long working hours, minimum pay, and no benefits. Apple thinks of its retail staff as “lucky” just for working for Apple, and as such they take them for granted – which means that, once the decision is made – they will not hesitate for a second to fire a lot of its retail workforce.
But, how many will they fire? I think they will fire about 50% of the retail workforce, as a start. If sales continue to drop then they will start closing unprofitable stores – the same way >FutureShop did beginning of last month month.
Note: This post is speculative and it contains my personal opinion. I might be wrong, but there is no doubt, there is a noticeable drop in walk-in clients to Apple stores, which may potentially lead to a staff reduction.
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