Apple Stores’ army, long on loyalty but short on pay

The New York Times’ David Segal:

By the standards of retailing, Apple offers above average pay — well above the minimum wage of $7.25 and better than the Gap, though slightly less than Lululemon, the yoga and athletic apparel chain, where sales staff earn about $12 an hour. The company also offers very good benefits for a retailer, including health care, 401(k) contributions and the chance to buy company stock, as well as Apple products, at a discount.

But Apple is not selling polo shirts or yoga pants. Divide revenue by total number of employees and you find that last year, each Apple store employee — that includes non-sales staff like technicians and people stocking shelves — brought in $473,000.

“These are sales rates for a consulting company,” said Horace Dediu, an analyst who blogged about the calculation on the site Asymco. Electronics and appliance stores typically post $206,000 in revenue per employee, according to the latest figures from the National Retail Federation.

Excellent article. It’s pleasing to see how treating your customers like decent human beings can double revenue per employee. Yet, as the article suggests, a lot more could be done for Apple Store employees. This problem is really more political than technical; Apple is far from alone on keeping their employee wages fairly low. Yet as with the Foxconn workers, I hold Apple to a higher standard. They can do more