Apple is laying off new retail staff in its various brick-and-mortar retail outlets in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada, a new report has it. New hires and employees on their probation period have been let go in the United Kingdom, where Apple operates 33 retail stores.

Back in the United States and Canada, we’re hearing whispers of part-time staffers seeing their hours reduced, some even to zero. All of this is happening just as the next iPhone is coming to full view. What exactly is going on here?

Eric Slivka reports for MacRumors:

According to one report, all employees at a certain store in the United Kingdom with less than six months of service have been laid off, including a group that had been hired only one month ago and had just completed their training program.

New hiring has also been halted, and internal company transfers between stores have been placed on hold.

It ain’t just existing employees, new hires are being let go as well.

Another report similarly indicates that a number of newly-hired employees have just been laid off, while several longer-term employees who had recently been promoted never received their pay increases and are now being demoted back to their previous positions.

The extent of these layoffs was not known at press time, though it apparently includes people on their  probationary periods.

A third report comes from one of those who was laid off at an Apple Store in the United Kingdom, a source who notes that three separate training groups have all been laid off in their entirety within the past week, all of whom were still within their probationary periods as new employees.

We’re not sure what to make of this.

The timing of the layoffs is conspicuously close to the upcoming September launch of the next iPhone. Such a high-profile product traditionally marks a period of increased hiring as the California firm overstaffs its retail locations to handle a sudden influx of would-be iPhone shoppers.

Matthew Panzarino of The Next Web got in touch with retail sources who confirmed that “there has been some changes in hiring lately, and that hours are getting cut, but they had not seen any layoffs”.

The sources points out that some of the re-shuffling we’re seeing now is a result of Apple hiking wages by 25 percent back in June. “The general scuttlebutt is that Apple is equalizing those pay raises by cutting employee hours and slowing hiring”, Panzarino writes.

Looks like Apple’s new retail guy John Browett was serious when he announced changes to some of Apple’s retail policies.

Browett OK’d recent Genius ads that didn’t sit well with some viewers.

Prior to this, he dealt with negative publicity surrounding a story by The New York Times, a part of the paper’s ongoing iEconomy series, which depicted Apple’s retail policies in unfavorable light, to say the least.

In response to the investigative piece which revealed that Apple’s retail army is long on loyalty but short on pay, the company has introduced a career path program for new hires.

Perhaps the layoffs have something to do with the improvements Apple is allegedly introducing to its retail chain, like a completely redesigned Concierge Genius Bar application that will make it easier for employees to check in customers and view upcoming appointments.

What’s your take?

Why is Apple letting retail staff go now that we’re less than four weeks away from the iPhone 5 launch?

  • Lewser21

    This isn’t shocking. Apple stores have been putting new procedures and technology in place for a while now. You don’t even really need to talk to an employee if you already know what your going to buy. you don’t even need to go to a register. You can cash yourself out right from your own Iphone. This is business 101. Apple is making their stores more efficient and slimming down their overhead by slimming payroll. I know they are sitting on billions of reserves, but they still need to run efficent retail stores.

    • Zorvage

      OH MAN! I hate when people say Iphone instead of iPhone ..

      • me too 🙂

      • Impeach Obama

        Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone, Iphone

      • YujinNY

        Republican uh…..another bible belt nut lol…let the real geniuses of the modern world rule…yeah. The ones up north..

      • You know what, I say no more Obama too. I want Mittens to become the president. I want him to add another 12 trillion to the existing 4 trillion deficit. I beg him to finally crash the damn economy, which will hopefully, make conservatives, republicans and other scum learn their lesson.

      • No more Obama

        good luck. liberals are known for being anti-american. that line of thought continues that well known fact

      • Wow. Just wow. No wonder the US is on a downward spiral. It is full of people like you. What a disgrace.

      • No more Obama

        are you going to cry? btw, free the Kurds. you turks have laws against Kurds from speaking Kurdish. terrible. but liberals are getting more and more similiar to communism so you fit right in

      • No more Obama

        Yujin…고 투 핼

  • Darek Slaby

    I call bullshit on this. There is no way Apple is FIRING staff right before a huge product launch. Even if they streamline their checkout procedures there are still a ton of people that need help with other stuff. The staff is not there just to ring you out, that is a very small portion of the entire experience. If they fire this many people, the lines would get longer and sales would go down since a lot of people are tricked or “educated” into buying accessories and other things they don’t readily need. Apple has a ton of cash on hand, I’m sure they don’t need to cut out the people that make the shopping experience vastly greater than any other retail experience.

  • WolfgangHoltz

    Apple is like Facebook on their way down. 🙂

    • ReanimationXP

      and you’re like, a dumbass.. completely in denial.

  • CollegiateLad

    Reports from who? Can you substantiate the story? Is this the same guy who said Steve jobs was trying to smuggle Chinese stars onto a plan? lol… Do you guys do any research before posting a story?

    • There is creditable to the store. I personal was let go after working for 4+ because they needed to free up space for more full time hours.

    • No more Obama

      they are not reporters. they are bloggers. big difference. don’t expect facts on this site. not saying they do a terrible job. but…

  • Techpm

    I can see this happening in some specific UK stores, the economy isn’t that great after all, but don’t believe it’s a generalised thing.

  • Robbert Lucassen

    Guess Apple-product sales from non-Apple stores kick-in. These third party stores have trained personnel and are substantially more efficient. If on a single day not 1 MAC or iPhone is sold they sell 10 PC’s, 25 Coffee-makers and 15 Philips Shavers, get it? Apple has reached a level of overestimation. 5 out of 10 times i walk pass a Apple Store, nobody’s there. Just MAC’s, Tablets and Personnel displaying Demo’s. Folks, believe me, Apple has now optimized its store online checks and balances and is optimizing its workforce like a defragmentation tool. Next thing, Apple will install web camera’s to check how busy everyone is at any given moment. What better thing to do then counting customers worldwide, right.

    One more thing, did you ever notice people using a jailbroken iPhone or iPOD and how happy they are? Fully customizable themes, more functionality and almost no limit to what can be done with it. Imagine what these Apple lovers will buy next if no more jailbreak is possible because of silly iOS & iTunes upgrades. More and more people just wanna tweak, guess that’s why so many people love PC’s, right?

    Apple needs to go more MAINSTREAM !

    1. Produce iPhones & iPODs with exchangeable batteries (more capacity!)
    2. Leave the option open for people to downgrade to an older iOS version that they like(d) most.
    3. Let people jailbreak the device easily, if they want to.
    4. Open-up the Apple-product pricing for third party stores

  • PeterMcPumpkin

    I am doing cartwheels of joy and counting the days until MyPhone 5 is in my hot little hands

  • YujinNY

    I think apple is a very well oiled machined….meaning they can improve their operations easily and introduce new technologies which they can see as reducing the need of having too much staff..and they have lots of staff…it can also be that they make some people full time by hiring them. Rather have one on board longer than switch someone every few hours.

  • No more Obama

    liberals are for keeping down people by giving giving giving and that keeps people down as it makes them lazy and not willing to work. so they are dependent on the government.natrually i’m not against social programs that help a little.

    liberals are also extremely arrogant. look at your comments, mr. know it all. liberals want to control peoples lives via regulations via their best of friend the government. look at the past 10 years under demon-crat congress rule.

    liberals love to lie. ask john kerry where is that draft and the end to medicare that was supposed to happen when bush was reelected? scare tactics is a pillar stone of the demon-crats.

    but let’s talk about obama and his lies. those are even more interesting. here is his most recent lie:
    “I am told that Governor Romney’s new running mate, Paul Ryan,
    might be around Iowa the next few days,” he said while in Council
    Bluffs, Iowa. “He is one of the leaders of Congress standing in the way.
    So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this
    farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities.”House passed bill on August 2, 2012 (Paul Ryan voted yes) even more interessting is that republicans voted 188-46 (yes-no) and demon-crats voted against the bill 35-151…but obama wants to take the credit for caring for the people of iowa. what a liar. thats just the most recent one i know of

    Are you sure I’m the one who needs education? no ill obey you mr. know it all and ill keep silent.

  • No more Obama

    this is just too long to read. shorten your reply up. no time to read that dribble

    • For a hypocrite, your reply was quite good. In fact, my reply was actually shorter than yours. But hey, thats just “us liberals”, pointing out republican hypocrisy.
      What you see there at the end are links to YouTube playlists. Enjoy watching!

      • No more Obama

        wait you’re not going to talk about the lies of obama. you are going to ignore all that i wrote? obama is the president. let’s talk about the most important/powerful man on the planet and his lies. you liberal idiot. go have an abortion or what ever else you liberals do during the week