Target tests mini-boutiques in its stores

The retailer is building mini-Apple shops in some stores, and has struck exclusive deals with other boutiques.

By Kim Peterson Jan 12, 2012 3:19PM
A store within a store? Target (TGT) thinks that might be just what it needs.

The company plans to open a small number of Apple (AAPL) stores in 25 locations, increasing the number of iPads and other products it sells from the electronics maker. The mini stores will have Apple employees wearing the blue shirts you normally see at Apple's own retail locations.

Target isn't stopping with Apple. The retailer has announced a broader initiative, called "The Shops at Target," that will carry exclusive items from other boutiques. It's partnering with The Webster, a luxury fashion store in Miami; and The Candy Store, a specialty candy shop in San Francisco.

Target has had some nice success with its exclusive fashion partnerships. The launch of its Missoni line last year was so popular that eager shoppers crashed Target's website for hours. Target has partnered with designer Jason Wu on another upcoming line.

Check out the following news report from Target's press conference.

Post continues below.
The Apple partnership in particular will help Target, which has seen disappointing electronics sales recently. Target wasn't able to match some analyst estimates for sales in December, citing "softness" in electronics sales.

"Target is a retailer that I don’t think has a large presence in tech, but it has a good presence in young suburban family shoppers," one analyst at Hudson Square Research told Bloomberg. "It's the hip, big-box store. It makes a lot of sense and it will give Apple a bigger footprint."

Apple has small stores inside some 600 Best Buy (BBY) locations, which makes more sense. It's unclear whether Apple will begin selling Mac computers at Target like it does at Best Buy.

Can Target refresh its brand and boost sales with these specialty partnerships? Other big box chains have made similar deals -- think about the Sephora shops within JC Penney (JCP) -- creating a more exclusive look and feel for shoppers.

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