Jul 132011

To put it another way, Apple’s retail sales for the first quarter of 2011 accounted for 1/5 of all retail growth. In the pool of every dollar gained by all publicly-traded retailers year-over-year, Apple accounted for 20%. That is unbelievable. USA Today has the scoop.

Applying the same logic they used with the Zune and Windows Phone 7, Microsoft heard there were huge margins to be made in retail, so they’ve committing to building another 75 Microsoft stores within the next 2-3 years.

Jun 142011

When I think of prestige retail presences, J.C. Penney doesn’t exactly spring to mind, but they’re a brand that’s been slowly re-crafting their image. After shuttering a number of locations, it looks like they’re picking up momentum. They’re taking their advertising more seriously, as evidenced by their hiring of Saatchi & Saatchi and their viral “Doghouse” campaign.

And now it looks like they snagged Rob Johnson to be their next CEO.

Yes, that one.

I don’t know if it was a board member or a headhunter that connected Johnson and J.C. Penney, but whoever made this match is worth their weight in platinum. After 11 years heading Apple’s retail success story, Johnson is moving on to what is no doubt another formidable challenge.

Thanks for the great years at Apple and all the best in your new role. Don’t pull a Rubinstein.

May 192011

Congratulations to the Apple Retail chain hitting its decade milestone today. Like so many of Apple’s ventures, it was greeted with derision, subsequently hailed as best-in-class and ultimately shamelessly copied. Special shout out to Ron Johnson for creating the best consumer electronics experience in retail – and it’s not even close. Think about how the Apple Store does things the next time you go to pick up a shartphone at Best Buy only to discover that it’s a nothing but a sticker-faced plastic box. TMA still smiles a little every time he walks into one. It’s truly an extension of Apple’s product philosophy.

Oct 262009

To say it is a laughable copy of an Apple Store is really understating it.

If I were an investor in Microsoft, I’d really, really want to know how they’re going to track the financial performance of these things.  Bury them in the “Entertainment and Devices Division”?  These stores – which sell nothing that you couldn’t get cheaper online and offer you no level of service beyond telling you that your PC-maker screwed you over – will fail.  And quickly.

Jul 242009

With Microsoft, many times the source material is so rich that true snarkiness would be both exhausting and unnecessary.  Gizmodo has posted a copy of what is allegedly a M$ presentation about its proposed chain of retail stores.  Two of the funnier bits: “the Answer Bar” and a proposal to use the stores for birthday parties.  54 slides of shit you can’t make up here.

Jul 152009

Microsoft’s Kurtzian descent into madness continues, according to my favorite purveyor of comic relief Mary Jo Foley.  Apparently, M$’s bluster about a retail presence, which I had chalked up to an episode of missed medication in the marketing department, is going to happen this fall, including “scenarios where we have stores in proximity to Apple.”

What?  No seriously: what?

Here’s a nickel’s worth of free advice for Redmond: To have a retail presence, it’s a good idea to have something to sell. The only consumer product that would be considered “worth a shit” – by virtue of the non-Microsoft developers they’ve been able to attract – is stuffing the channel at any local Gamespot.  What were you planning: box displays of Windows 7, and Bargain Hunters ads running loops on Zune HDs?

GUI operating system?  No problem.  Music player?  No problem.  Gaming platform?  No problem.

Retail presence?  No problem.  I can see how ripping off and faithlessly reproducing good products could be seen as a viable strategy for a company with more money than god and fewer good ideas than Michael Bay, but do you really not get why this is a bad idea?

Now I’m all for M$ continuing to rip gaping holes in the profitability of its Office and Windows monopolies, but you can’t seriously think you’re doing your brand any good by increasing your exposure to consumers.  And intimiating in your release that you might somehow, in some way be squaring off against one of the most sucessful retail presences in the history of selling shit?

To quote any shareholder stupid enough to stick around after one quarter of this retardery: “The horror…the horror.”

Bonus factoid: M$’s quest for retail is led by David Porter.  According to the press release, Porter joined DreamWorks Animation in 2007 before spending 25 years at Wal-Mart Stores.  So basically, David has experience with both derivative offerings *cough*Pixar*cough* and monopolies.  He should fit right in.

Mar 102009

Whoever said designing a building that matches the character of a historic district can’t be painless for architect and developer alike?  Hint: it wasn’t Apple.

The discerning eyes that make up the Georgetown architectural preservation board finally relented and approved the design submitted by lowly‚ strip mall developer Apple‚ Inc. for a store on Wisconsin Avenue.  Did I mention that this was the fifth submission?  Did I mention that the first and fourth submissions were virtually identical to the fifth?

After the fourth submission‚ Neil O. Albert, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said in a statement “The community and the Fenty administration are very supportive of this retailer opening its Georgetown store. I’ll move quickly to convene separate meetings with the Old Georgetown Board and Apple representatives to reach a consensus design.”  Albert’s statement did not mention whether his rectum preferred the supple rounded edges of Rob Johnson’s Oxfords or the more pronounced articulation of his Wingtips.

A tip of the cap to the folks over at Apple and their design team.  If it were me‚ I’d have packed up my easels after submission 3.   Are we in a boom market now or something?  Why don’t we let your shitty vacant building sit for a decade or two?  Y’all in City Government can have some time to decide if your articulated window bays were more important than the millions in economic impact generated annually by the average Apple Store.  Fucktards.

Guess that’s why I’m not in retail.  Or marketing.  Or generally work with people.

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