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Samsung's US Boutiques Invade Apple Territory, but Could Save Best Buy


By May 1, more than 1,400 Best Buy outlets will have a Samsung "Experience Shop."

Editor's Note: This content was originally published on by Louis Bedigian, Benzinga Staff Writer.

Samsung (PINK:SSNLF) stunned the world when it announced that it would open small boutiques within every Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) outlet in America.

More than 1,400 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile locations will receive a Samsung "Experience Shop."

According to the Wall Street Journal, the new boutiques will be open at all traditional Best Buy retailers by May 1. Best Buy Mobile locations will get their Samsung Experience Shops no later than June 1.

This is just in time to heavily promote the Galaxy S IV, which is reportedly 50% faster than Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5.

Apple, which is expected release the next iPhone in the third or fourth quarter, already has a strong presence at many Best Buy locations. In fact, Best Buy was one of the first mainstream retailers that began to heavily promote new Apple products over the last decade.

Target (NYSE:TGT) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) quickly followed suit after the iPod gained worldwide appeal.

GameStop (NYSE:GME), which is not currently authorized to sell new Apple products, has turned to used iDevices to fill the void.

Apple does not promote its Best Buy presence as being a separate "boutique." Rather, the iPhone maker has chosen to focus on promoting its own stores in the United States. Year after year, they prove to be popular shops for consumers who cannot wait to buy new iPhones and iPads.

While Samsung has opened its own stores outside of America, the company has yet to build any domestically. This new Best Buy initiative will be the South Korean tech giant's first attempt at expanding its presence in the United States.

The Verge's Chris Ziegler fears that these boutiques will bury the HTC (TPE:2498) One, Samsung's biggest competitor next to the iPhone.
HTC is not the only company that should fear Samsung's growth. By coming to Best Buy, Samsung is also encroaching on territory that was once occupied by Apple and BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY).

On a more positive note, the Samsung deal could help ensure that Best Buy survives the grueling retailer market. While the company reported a same-store sales gain last quarter, Best Buy also announced that it will lay off 400 employees who work at the firm's headquarters.

Last month, short interest in Best Buy rose significantly as investors bet against the struggling retailer.

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Twitter: @Benzinga

Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.

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