Costco Preparing to Begin Selling iPhone and iPad as iTunes Store Gift Cards Return [Updated]
Back in late 2010, Apple and warehouse club chain Costco parted ways, ending a relationship that had seen Costco carrying iPods and iTunes Store gift cards. The two companies now appear to have patched up their differences, reaching an agreement that will see the second largest retailer in the U.S. begin carrying the iPhone and cellular iPads through its wireless kiosks.
The news comes via an email from Dan Brettler, founder and CEO of Car Toys and its Wireless Advocates subsidiary, which handles wireless sales for Costco. The email was sent to Wireless Advocates employees, notifying them of the new partnership.
Wireless Advocates Team,
I am extremely excited to share the news of a new partnership between Apple Inc. and Costco Wholesale. This partnership will bring a top selling line-up of Apple products to Costco members including the iPhone and embedded iPads. As Costco's solution for wireless devices and services, we are proud to be a part of this new partnership and incorporate Apple products into our already strong product line-up in Costco.
We already know Apple products. They are not new to our business. We currently sell Apple products in two of our three enterprise channels (Car Toys and Military). We already have a great business partnership with them and this new opportunity strengthens that relationship. They are valuable to our long-term success and growth in our space. This initiative will accelerate same store sales through performance gains and new products and services, as well as enhance our strategic partnership with our suppliers. This is critical to the overall success of "Our 5 Strategic Business Initiatives".
In his email, Brettler acknowledges that there is still "much backend work and physical kiosk work" to be done before Costco stores can begin selling iPhones and iPads, and he does not provide a timeline for the start of sales. He does, however, promise to keep employees updated as the project moves forward.
Beyond iPhone and iPad, several Twitter users have reported yesterday and today that Costco has once again begun selling iTunes Store gift cards. This is likely separate from the hardware partnership with Wireless Advocates but part of the broader agreement between Apple and Costco, with the gift card portion moving forward on a faster timeline due to the ease of rollout.
Update 9:09 PM: We've heard that additional Apple products such as iPods and Wi-Fi iPad Airs have begun appearing in Costco's internal inventory systems.