Angela Ahrendts’ big first week as queen of Apple retail
FORTUNE — Angela Ahrendts isn’t wasting any time. It’s been less than a week since the 9th most powerful woman in Britain left Burberry for Apple (AAPL) and she’s already making headlines left and right.
- May 1: Her bio appears on Apple’s corporate website, triggering dozens of news stories, many speculating that she could be Apple’s next CEO.
- May 5: Apple alerts the SEC that Ahrendts has been granted 113,334 restricted stock units that vest over four years. At Monday’s closing price of $600.96, her RSUs would be worth $68 million.
- May 9: Okay, this is just a rumor, but 9to5Mac reports that Apple is planning an “enormous iPhone-related event in its stores” at which owners of older iPhones will have an opportunity to trade up to an iPhone 5S or 5C. The retail staff is reportedly being briefed on Thursday, presumably for a Friday event.
Apple’s retail division could use the help. It’s been rudderless for almost two years, during which time same-store sales have languished. The chart below is from a report to clients issued Monday by Needham’s Charlie Wolf. Note how flat the blue diamond line is compared with the rising yellow squares.
Apple revenues and Apple Store same-store sales grew at roughly the same pace from 2002 through 2007. Then they decoupled following the introduction of the iPhone. Unlike the Mac and iPods, which were distributed proportionately through the Apple Stores and other retail chains, the iPhone in addition is distributed through over 250 carriers around the globe. So there’s been a dramatic shift in Apple’s revenues from its traditional channels—the Apple Stores and retail chains—to a completely new one. The decoupling was magnified by the fact that the iPhone quickly became Apple’s largest revenue producer.