UPDATE 2-Apple bets on Burberry chief to burnish retail shine

Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:39pm EDT
 
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* Apple hires Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts

* Ahrendts to expand Apple retail and online stores

* Burberry went digital, expanded into China under Ahrendts (Adds pay details of previous Apple retail chief, analyst comment)

By Poornima Gupta and Guy Faulconbridge

SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts rebuilt the British luxury brand after excessive exposure of its trademark checkered pattern alienated wealthy clientele. Her approach was to embrace digital innovation, build a strong online business, and tap Chinese and Latin American markets.

Now Apple Inc is hoping she can do the same at the world's most valuable technology company.

In hiring Ahrendts to direct strategy, expansion and operation of Apple's retail and online stores, Chief Executive Tim Cook has set her the task of bolstering iPad and iPhone sales, and returning some lustre to a brand that has not launched a major new device in almost four years.

One of her main challenges will be to boost Apple's sales in China, its second-largest market. Here, analysts say, Ahrendts will be able to draw on her Burberry experience of introducing less expensive goods without damaging the value of the brand.

"The point of Apple retail is to sell Apple, not to sell Apple products," said Benedict Evans, who covers mobile and digital media at Enders Analysis, a research consultancy.   Continued...