Target is launching a new, full-service mobile retailing business in its stores that will be operated by RadioShack, a sign that Target is stepping up its efforts to match Best Buy and Wal-Mart, which have expanded heavily into the mobile retailing space.
The company's Target Mobile centers will offer handsets from Tier-1 carriers as well as accessories. The centers will be available in around 850 stores by year-end, and in the majority of Target's stores nationwide by mid-2011.
The news is not a total surprise; in November, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reported that RadioShack, through its subsidiary Kiosk Operations, took over the mobile retailing operations at 100 Target stores in Minnesota, California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas and Washington. Target and RadioShack declined to comment at the time.
Best Buy plans to expand its Best Buy Mobile stores this year. Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn told the Financial Times in April that the company will open another 75 to 100 Best Buy Mobile stores this year, on top of the 77 outlets it already has, and will eventually have "a number somewhere between here and 1,000." Best Buy also has inked deals with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) to resell their respective mobile broadband services under its Best Buy Connect brand.
Target also rolled out 1-877-myTGTtech, a free technical support hotline for all consumer electronic purchases as well as pre-purchase questions, and a website dedicated to mobile phones: www.targetmobilestore.com
- see this release
- see this Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal article
Target outsourcing mobile retailing biz to RadioShack
Best Buy Mobile gearing up for expansion
Clearwire adds Best Buy as 4G wholesale partner
Best Buy to launch broadband MVNO using Sprint's EV-DO network