Target Copies Best Buy Model With Apple Boutiques

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Target (NYSE:TGT) plans to install Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) boutiques in select stores this year in an effort to boost sales of iPads and computer accessories.

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The conception will be tested in 25 stores, which will have a wider assortment of Apple products than the Target stores usually carry, said spokesman Dustee Tucker Jenkins.

Target said “softness” in electronics last month contributed to a smaller-than-expected increase in same-store sales last month. Target will follow the example of Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), which already has Apple-dedicated stations in over 600 stores.

Steve Jobs sought to circumvent selling Apple products in big-box retailers like Target when he created the company’s chain of stores a decade ago. Apple stores are typically placed in high-traffic areas or flagship locations like Grand Central Station in New York and Convent Garden in London.

But the enormous success of Apple products, and their relatively high profit margins compared to other technology, has retailers that have been suffering from depressed sales looking to get in on a sure thing.

“Target is a retailer that I don’t think has a large presence in tech, but it has a good presence in young suburban family shoppers,” said Daniel Ernst, an analyst at Hudson Square Research in New York. “It’s the hip, big-box store. It makes a lot of sense and it will give Apple a bigger footprint.”

With only 357 of its own stores in existence at the end of last quarter, Apple definitely stands to benefit from dedicated stations manned by employees trained to sell Apple products. Target and Best Buy can bring the Apple sales model to many cities around the U.S. that don’t currently have Apple stores.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Knapp at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

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