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Apple’s Bullish New Retail Exec Has Bold Plans For the Future

by Jacob Kleinman | May 19, 2014May 19, 2014 1:15 pm PST


It’s been a few short weeks since Angela Ahrendts took over as Apple’s head of retail and online stores, and now we’re starting to get a sense of the former Burberry exec’s plans for the Cupertino company. A new report from 9to5Mac claims Ahrendts will initially focus on increasing sales in China, moving forward with in-store mobile payments, and laying the groundwork for an entirely re-imagined Apple shopping experience.

China will play a big role in Apple’s retail future. The company already operates 10 stores in the country with plans to hit a total of 30 by 2016. Ahrendts will work directly with the company’s head of China retail, and reportedly sees Chinese consumer tastes as key to Apple’s strategy across all emerging markets.

Ahrendts is interested in making more of the Apple Store experience rely on phone-based interactions using the company’s iBeacon service, and plans to build out new apps for both in-store and online retail as part of a broader plan to “blur the lines” between the two. She also hopes to improve the experience of Personal Setup and the relatively new iPhone trade-in program while revamping the entire shopping experience from the ground up.

To pave the way for future changes, Ahrendts will reportedly reshape Apple’s retail leadership team. Current vice president of retail stores Steve Cano will shift to a position in international sales. Meanwhile, Apple’s head of European and China retail will each take on broader positions of leadership.

Apple’s retail experience is expected to change drastically in the coming years as Ahrendts puts her plan into action, though it could be a while before we notice any big differences from the current Apple Store setup. In the meantime, Ahrendts says she expects to take just as much from her Apple experience as she gives to the company, reportedly telling a number of the retail managers, “I got my MBA at Burberry, but I will get my PhD at Apple.”


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...