Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts, who rarely speaks in public, opened Fortune’s 18th Most Powerful Women Summit last night by outlining her vision for the new Apple retail store.
Except she doesn’t call them stores. She has even had the word “store” removed from her official title. Instead, the redesigned retail outlets are something more like town squares or community hubs, she says, designed to “play a greater role in the community.”
“I’m at the point in life where I believe companies have a huge obligation to society,” Ahrendts told Fortune’s Pattie Sellers. “The bigger the company, the bigger the obligation.” She believes Apple locations can become centers for education, teaching children to code, teaching parents new skills, and even helping teachers to teach. At Union Square in San Francisco, one of the first Apple locations to be redone, the company recently held a “Teacher Tuesday” and “78 teachers showed up.”
Ahrendts, a former CEO of Burberry, was lured away by Apple CEO Tim Cook two years ago and has spent the intervening time revamping the retail outlets, which account for 18% of the company’s $233.7 billion in sales and employ roughly half its people. By the end of this year, 95 stores will have been redesigned and staffed with teams prepared to teach better photography, or help with downloading music, gaming, or educational apps.
You can read or watch Ahrendts’ comments here. More news below.
More news below.