Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) has teamed up with Sony and Samsung to create new shop-in-shop spaces inside retail stores. The 350 Sony and 500 Samsung spaces will be designed to better promote the tech brands' home theater products, gaming systems and high-definition televisions.
Sony's 350 new locations within Best Buy will be called the "Sony Experience at Best Buy." These areas will specifically showcase the brand's 4K TVs, 4K media players, surround sound systems and gaming consoles including the PlayStation 4 and PS3.
Samsung already sells phones, tablets and other small tech gear at its Samsung Experience shops within all 1,000 Best Buy locations across the country. The 500 new dedicated Samsung areas will be separate and showcase the company's latest televisions.
The new stores will start opening within Best Buy locations this month and should all be launched by June. Some Best Buy stores will get a Sony shop, some will get a Samsung shop and some will get both. Each will offer live displays where consumers can test the technologies and control the settings using touch-screens. Shoppers will also be able to view and engage with various content demonstrations on the TV wall.
For Sony, this deal is just the latest step in the company's revised retail strategy. In February, Sony announced that most Sony Store locations will permanently close by the end of 2014. Sony is also slashing 1,000 jobs to cut costs and forecasts a $1.1 billion loss this year as demand slows for TVs and personal computers.
Samsung, on the other hand, is expanding its retail footprint. The tech brand last spring opened in-store boutiques in 1,400 Best Buy stores. In February, Samsung launched 90 more boutiques in Best Buy locations across North America, which are bigger, have their own checkout systems and are run by Samsung-trained staff. In addition to the North American expansion, Samsung has plans to open an additional 75 or more Samsung-branded retail setups in Europe, up from the 31 currently open on the continent.
Best Buy also has 740 Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shops and 500 Microsoft Windows (NASDAQ: MSFT) shops. The retailer has wanted to pursue more such deals, which let Best Buy leverage one of its key differentiators with online rivals — physical stores. The store-within-a-store model gives Best Buy something to fill floor space left empty as tech devices and TV's get smaller and other items, such as physical CD's, take up less inventory.
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