updated 03:20 pm EDT, Tue May 19, 2009
Walmart Apple sections
Walmart is incorporating Apple sections into its stores as part of a major revamping program, notes Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes. The low-end retailer is significantly expanding its electronics departments, with the aim of filling the gap left in TV sales after the bankruptcy of Circuit City. Within these areas will be sections devoted to some of the most powerful brands, including those outside of TVs such as Apple and Nintendo.
Some 3,500 Walmart stores are gaining the new electronics departments, described as being more spacious and interactive. Reitzes notes that while Walmart stores currently carry only iPhone and iPod gear, the company may be angling to carry a limited number of Macs and Mac accessories; such a move would also benefit Apple, which has less than 10,000 worldwide retail venues for selling its computers. Many Walmarts are also located in rural areas, which can be far removed from Apple Stores or Mac resellers.
The obstacle is thought to be Walmart's normal demographic, which does not typically buy high-end computers. The retailer could however carry sub-$1,000 Macs such as the Mini or the MacBook, and still cheaper devices such as a rumored media pad. Any attempt at selling Macs in Walmart would likely begin with a pilot project, says Reitzes, perhaps involving a limited number of machines.