It was announced Sunday that Apple will be making Apple Watch available at more than 100 Best Buy stores in the U.S. on Aug. 7, making the big box electronics retailer the first major outlet to carry Watch outside of Apple's own stores.
Best Buy will start stocking Watch through its online store and at select locations, with plans to expand to over 300 outlet before the lucrative holiday shopping season. Since launching in April, Apple has limited sales to its own online and brick-and-mortar outlets, international pop-up shops and a few token third-party boutiques.
When Best Buy starts sales, customers will be able to choose from Apple Watch Sport and stainless steel Apple Watch models, as well as official Apple accessories like straps. Solid gold Apple Watch Edition versions, which start at $10,000, are not part of Best Buy's initial Watch offering.
Extending Watch availability to a broader customer base is obviously a key factor to steady sales growth, but early manufacturing hurdles slowed initial production to negatively impact stock on hand. To deal with supply constraints, Apple limited Watch orders to those placed online and only started stocking the wearable on its own shelves in mid-June. Including Apple Stores, Watch is currently available at 680 points of sale.
During Apple's quarterly conference call for the third fiscal quarter of 2015, CEO Tim Cook denied reports of "collapsing" Watch sales, saying post-launch shipments have held steady and actually peaked in June.
"We're convinced that the Watch is going to be one of the top gifts of the holiday season," Cook said.