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Thursday, April 04, 2013, 11:23 am PT (02:23 pm ET)

Best Buy, Samsung confirm 1,400 mini-stores coming by summer

Best Buy and Samsung have confirmed that they are teaming up to bring Samsung mini-stores to more than 1,400 Best Buy locations, much in the same way that those locations now feature miniature Apple Stores inside.

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Installation showing a sample Samsung Experience Shop. Courtesy of Samsung.


Samsung confirmed today in a press release that the two companies would be partnering to bring Samsung Experience Shops to Best Buy locations across the United States. The partnership will begin with 500 mini-stores opening on April 8, with Samsung stores in 900 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores by early May. The rest of Best Buy's locations will get Samsung installations by early summer.

Rumors of a partnership between the two companies emerged in late March, and Thursday's news provides further details on the forthcoming mini-stores.

Samsung's mobile devices will be the main focus of the mini-stores, but they will also serve as a portal to Samsung's wider product line. Samsung's full range of smartphones, tablets, laptops, connected cameras, and accessories will all be on display.

Samsung's Experience Shops will take up about 460 square feet of space near the front of Best Buy's largest stores. Samsung will staff the stores with dedicated Samsung Experience Consultants, workers specially trained in assisting with product demonstrations, basic product services.

The mini-store move will help Samsung compete against the only other company to receive such prime placement in Best Buy: Apple. Samsung cannot in rapid fashion replicate Apple's sizable retail presence throughout the United States, but a notable presence in the U.S.' largest electronics retailer —about 70 percent of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Best Buy — could go a long way toward increasing Samsung's "mindshare" in Apple's home country.

While Samsung is the overall leader in smartphones sold worldwide — with about 40 percent of the market — Apple leads solidly in the United States market, with 38 percent share versus 21 percent for Samsung.

Looking to reverse that fact, Samsung has made it a point this year to heighten the competition for the American market. To that end, the South Korean conglomerate launched its new flagship smartphone in the United States for the first time and is said to be preparing a massive marketing campaign aimed at making the Galaxy S4 the top handset in the U.S.