Thursday, May 28, 2009, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)
Apple remodeling 100 stores with larger Genius Bars, displaysWhile the tough economy is prompting many retailers to cut back on their spending, Apple plans to pour millions into remodeling roughly 40% of its stores and will soon introduce new One-to-One services and other changes geared towards better customer service.
Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Ron Johnson told USAToday on Wednesday that the company plans to makeover 100 of its retail stores this year, retrofitting them with customer service Genius Bars that are 50 percent larger and display tables that can showcase twice as many Macs.
"We know that a lot of people are cutting back, but we're doing the opposite," he told the newspaper. "We're investing in the downturn."
Beginning June 2, Apple will also make significant changes to its One-to-One personal training service geared towards helping new Mac customers get the most out their systems.
Currently, anyone who's willing to pay $99 can sign up for a year's worth of the training service, but Johnson says Apple will start limiting signups to only those customers who purchase a Mac at an Apple retail store or the Apple online store. Legacy users won't be booted from the program, however, and will be offered the opportunity to renew their subscription for the same $99.
As part of the changes, One-to-One sessions will be limited to three hours, up from one hour. Similarly, up to three participants will now be allowed to take part in the sessions. In addition to its remodeling efforts, Apple will also open 25 new stores worldwide this year, including its fourth flagship location in Manhattan and new shops in Paris, Germany and Italy.
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