Apple is believed to have hired Enrique Atienza, a former Levi Strauss senior vice president, as part of its retail team.

Atienza's LinkedIn profile and Facebook page suggest that he has been working at Apple since July, in an undisclosed "Apple Retail" position. Apple is still on the hunt for a new head of retail following the dismissal of former retail boss John Browett, so this new hiring could hint that the company is making progress with its search.

9To5Mac claims that sources "with knowledge of the hire" have said that, while already signed on with Apple, Atienza is to officially become "a top director for its US retail market" in October.

Atienza still lists his role at clothing brand Levi Strauss as Senior Vice President Retail Americas and Global Store Operations and Training COE, as 'current', but a spokesperson from the company has confirmed that the executive has left.

Atienza spent two years as Vice President of Store Operations at the Disney Store prior to his role at Levi's.

In addition to the reports that Atienza has been hired by Apple, 9To5Mac's sources have also said that Apple's Steve Cano has been given "an expanded Vice President role," in which he reports directly to CEO Tim Cook. Atienza is expected to report to Cano.

John Browett, Apple's former head of retail, lasted just ten months at the company before he was ousted in October last year. Almost a year on, Apple still hasn't found a replacement to head up its retail stores.

See: Former retail boss John Browett on his time at Apple: 'I just didn't fit'

The news of the new hire comes just ahead of the expected launch of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, which will be key Apple product launches that are bound to bring floods of customers into Apple's Retail Stores.

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