8 Picks For Apple’s Next Head of Retail--AllThingsD
She was president of Donna Karan International in 1989, later joining Henri Bendel as executive vice president and joining Liz Clairborne, where she helped nurture startups like Juicy Couture and Lucky Jeans.
Ahrendts joined Burberry in 2006 and the stock has surged almost 250 percent, with the company becoming a $3 billion a year fashion colossus with 530 stores.
The executive is credited with leading a sharp turnaround at the British fashion house, more than tripling sales and quadrupling Burberry's share price during her tenure.
In pursuing Ms. Ahrendts, Apple won out over a more recent bid for Ms. Ahrendts by J.C. Penney. The department-store chain pursued the Burberry leader for its own top job, according to a person familiar with the situation.
It has started to show in earnings results ― average store revenues were down to $10.1 million in Q3 of 2013 (when Apple had 405 stores) versus $11.1 million in Q3 2012 (with 367 stores.) During Q3 2013 overall retail sales were $4.074 billion versus Q3 2012 sales of $4.084 billion. Even scarier is the decline in retail profits: $667 million in Q3 2013 versus $868 million in Q3 2012.
“I don’t look at Gucci or Chanel or anyone,”... “If I look to any company as a model, it’s Apple. They’re a brilliant design company working to create a lifestyle, and that’s the way I see us,” she says.
Earning Her Stripes--WSJ Magazine
- Ahrendts understands the luxury and upmarket retail intuitively and will be able to find new ways to revitalize and rejuvenate Apple stores.
- She understands the concept of “experience” shopping better than anyone else out there (and is available for hiring.)
- She can balance operational efficiency with art in a retail experience.
- She will help Apple expand in China, where she has a lot of experience as Burberry CEO: they were the first ones to drive Burberry into the lesser known Chinese cities.
- She knows online retail and importance of digital quite intimately.
She embraced technology by streaming fashion shows live on the Web, allowing customers to order items online during the events.
Ahrendts has long championed the integration of technology and fashion. Burberry streamed a fashion show globally live last month using Apple’s new iPhone 5s. She helped push Burberry to team up with Twitter Inc. to stay on the cusp of technology by posting backstage photos of a runway show on the social-networking service.
How Burberry uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+--econsultancy
Can Apple change its culture to adapt to Ahrendts or will Ahrendts change to become Apple’s functionary? That is the real question. If Apple changes, then you are looking at the next Apple chief executive, one who can take the company in a different direction.