updated 03:10 pm EDT, Thu August 16, 2012
Browett insists no one was laid off
Reports of layoffs and reduced hours at Apple Stores are misleading, Apple is said to be telling store leaders. Two sources tell Dow Jones that Apple's head of retail, John Browett, sent a memo to the leadership teams explaining that the company recently tried a new staffing formula, with the result that some workers saw their hours cut back, and some outlets were undermanned. The situation lasted a few weeks before the company went back to its old model.
Leaders are allegedly being asked to tell subordinates that "we [Apple] messed up." Browett also claims that no one has been laid off, and that the company is still hiring new staff. An Apple spokeswoman, Kristin Huguet, has acknowledged the recent attempt at a retail overhaul. "Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed," she says. "Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve."
Browett's position is difficult to reconcile with the earlier reports, since several sources explicitly claimed that Apple was laying off recent hires. Dow Jones doesn't address allegations that in at least one instance, an Apple Store reportedly reversed promotions given to some long-time employees.
The news agency does however elaborate on how the reduction in shift hours was affecting some people. One person says that they witnessed schedules being reduced to as little as half-shifts once a week; another estimates losing about $1,000 in wages in the debacle.