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Is Apple's lack of a retail chief hurting sales?

Although the tech giant has been actively looking to fill the job over the past 10 months, no prospects have yet panned out.

Apple's New York City Upper West Side retail store. Apple

Apple's last retail sales chief, John Browett, stepped down 10 months ago. And while the company has been on the hunt for a new boss, no one has seemed to fit the bill.

Apparently, several names have come across CEO Tim Cook's desk, but no one has yet panned out, according to The Wall Street Journal. People familiar with the matter told the Journal that Apple had unsuccessful interviews with telecommunications-industry executives and a CEO of a privately held retailer in France. Apparently, internal candidates aren't in the running either.

"We're actively looking for a head of retail," an Apple spokesperson told the Journal. "We have a strong network of leaders who will continue to do the excellent work they've done over the last decade serving our customers."

It's possible that Apple's lack of a retail chief is one of the reasons why the company recently reported a slowing of store sales for the first time in four years.

While Apple is by no means suffering when it comes to sales in its retail stores, it has begun to lose its edge. According to the Journal, Apple's store sales per square foot have fallen in the last year to $4,542 from $4,754, which is a 4.5 percent drop.

After Browett resigned last October, he said that he had difficulty fitting in with Apple's culture.

"The issue there was that I just didn't fit within the way they ran the business," he said in an interview in March. "For me, it was one of those shopping things where you're ejected for fit rather than competency."

In his brief six-month stint at Apple, Browett switched Apple's focus from customer service to sales, which made customers unhappy, according to the Journal. Since Browett departed, Apple has gone back to favoring customer service.

While Apple's success is closely tied to the company's products and all-around expansion of its store footprint, there's little doubt it also closely relates to who's running the show.