Horace Dediu:

The job of the store is not primarily to sell things. This is confirmed by the fact that store employees are not on commission and there is no sales pressure on visitors. Indeed, the sheer number of employees in a store of modest size (117 employees on an average of about 8k sq. ft.) implies a brazen disregard for the economic orthodoxy of retail efficiency and incentives to sell.

It’s as if Apple retail has an inter-dependence with Apple, the brand. One cannot live without the other.

This is, as far as I know, a unique relationship for a technology company. If anything, most technology companies have sought the exact opposite: to put others’ faces in front of customers–to break the messy process of sales and support down into pieces to be outsourced to “value adding” resellers.