Best Buy will sell the Apple Watch, the first time a major outside retailer will offer the device. Bloomberg News
One month after Apple Inc. started selling Apple Watch at its own stores, the company said it will bring the device to Best Buy stores in August.
Apple said its smartwatch will be available at more than 100 Best Buy stores in the U.S. expanding to over 300 outlets before the holiday shopping season. Best Buy will be the first major U.S. retailer beside Apple to sell the device.
“The Apple Watch is an important addition to an emerging product category, and we know our customers want it,” said Jason Bonfig, senior category officer at Best Buy. “We are excited to bring Apple Watch to more consumers, especially with the holidays coming up.”
Best Buy stores will carry Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch as well as a wide range of straps and other accessories. It will not carry Apple Watch Edition, the gold-cased model whose price starts at $10,000.
Expanding Watch’s availability is the next step in what has been a rocky roll-out of Apple’s first new hardware line since the iPad. The company started shipping Watch to customers on April 24 but limited sales to its online store. Not until mid-June did the device become available in Apple’s physical stores.
The company said it limited Watch’s distribution because it received more orders than expected and it wanted to prioritize customers who ordered it early. However, with the Watch unavailable in stores, Apple didn’t benefit from long lines of enthusiastic fans waiting to buy a new Apple product on the day it became available. The mob scenes typical of many Apple launches function as free advertising and help to build
the perception that the new product is a must-have item.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said last week during its earnings announcements that the Watch was off to a strong start and was selling better than the company expected – although Apple didn’t say how many it had sold or what its projections were.
Cook also said a report that claimed Watch sales were slowing was “absolutely false.” He said sales picked up in June once people could buy the Watch in Apple stores and that Apple planned to increase the number of locations where consumers could buy the product. He said Watch was available at only 680 locations globally as of the end of June, compared to about 220,000 locations for the iPhone.
“We’re very bullish on the Watch being one of the key, top holiday gifts and want to have it in more places than we currently have it,” he said in an interview.
As part of its push to position the Watch as fashion accessory, Apple has made units available in a handful of high-end boutiques and department stores including Colette in Paris, Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo, and Selfridges in London.
Apple Watch is available in 19 countries. The company said it plans to start selling the device in three additional countries – Russia, Turkey and New Zealand – this week.
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