By Dave Sebastian 

Target Corp. is creating enclaves for Apple Inc. products at its retail stores that would double the space for the tech company's products in certain Target locations.

The retailer on Thursday said the new option will be making a debut online and roll out at Apple shopping locations in 17 stores starting this month, with additional locations scheduled for the fall. The partnership builds on a similar model Target has pursued with Walt Disney Co., Ulta Beauty Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co.

Apple's dedicated space will have new lighting fixtures and displays for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePod, Apple TV and other Apple accessories, Target said.

The retailer's website and shopping app will also have dedicated Apple pages with a broader selection of accessories, the company said. Target said its tech consultants will receive training from Apple.

Target already offers Apple products on its site and has in-store displays for those items at certain stores. In recent years, Target has invested heavily to expand its online business largely by sourcing online orders from stores' shelves.

For Target, the partnership expands on its strategy to give prominent placement to popular brands and products at its stores and website to draw in shoppers. The dedicated space for Apple products also builds up its specialty in electronic products. Other retailers like Best Buy Co. have also created niches for tech brands inside its stores.

Neil Saunders, managing director at the research firm GlobalData PLC, said the addition of mini Apple shops inside some Target stores is a smart move for the big-box retailer. Target has the opportunity to generate higher sales through electronics such as Apple devices, but those products can get lost in the sea of gadgets Target sells.

"While current displays at Target are perfectly acceptable, they lack the pizazz of Apple's own stores and even of the Apple concepts at rivals like Best Buy," Mr. Saunders said.

Apple closed nearly all of its stores last year when the pandemic struck and has had to intermittently close outlets in certain states as virus counts rose. While its own retail stores took a hit, Apple still posted its most profitable quarter ever in January with $111.4 billion in sales. Driving that growth was an uptick in higher-end iPhone sales and a pandemic-induced surge in demand for its laptops and tablets.

(Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, has a commercial agreement to supply news through Apple services.)

Write to Dave Sebastian at dave.sebastian@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 25, 2021 10:33 ET (15:33 GMT)

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