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Is Apple Coming to Sam’s Club Stores?

Wednesday, 8 Feb 2012 | 2:21 PM ET

FirstBest Buy, then Target, now Sam's Club?

Apple and Sam's Club, Wal-Mart Stores' warehouse clubstore, are reported to be in talks to put Apple stores within 47 of Sam’s U.S. locations, according to a report in 9to5Mac, a website for Apple enthusiasts.

Marc White, left, asks Best Buy employee Steve Buckner questions about an Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer at a Best Buy store in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images
Marc White, left, asks Best Buy employee Steve Buckner questions about an Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer at a Best Buy store in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

The report, which cites unnamed sources for the information, said the move would expand an existing partnership between the two retailers. Sam's Club already sells Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod lines at its stores.

According to the report, the rumored talks are in an early stage and other plans are being discussed, including having Sam’s simply sell a broader range of Apple products such as its Macs, without adding “store-within-a-store” features such as tables and displays that are similar to those in standalone Apple Stores.

If a decision is reached to add Apple stores within Sam’s Clubs, there is sure to be more debate about how far Apple can go with these “store-within-a-store” before it starts to hurt Apple’s own standalone retail business.

For the moment, these partnerships are limited in number and sometimes not even near Apple’s 360 standalone stores, which tend to be in larger U.S. cities.

And likely they have been very helpful to Apple, which is why the company may be expanding beyond it’s initial partnership with Best Buy to Target .

However, it may be worse news for Apple’s partners, as with every new deal their little mini-Apple store loses a bit of its polish.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com. Follow Christina Cheddar Berk on Twitter @ccheddarberk.

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