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Just in time for Christmas sales, BJ's Wholesale Club will expand cellular sales to 128 of its 159 Club locations by Dec. 1, and 7-Eleven has raised its wireless profile with the expansion of Virgin Mobile service and phones to all 5,300 of its owned and franchised locations nationwide.
The BJ's expansion also marks the expansion of Verizon Wireless's store-within-a-store program, launched in fall of 2004 in 575 Circuit City stores. Under the Verizon-branded kiosk program, Verizon Wireless is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the BJ's kiosks, including hiring, inventory, displays and any interior or exterior signage. As in stand-alone Verizon stores, consumers will be able to look up their accounts and pay their bills.
BJ's plans to add Verizon kiosks in additional stores in December, but the locations haven't been determined, a spokesperson told TWICE.
Previously, Wireless Retail of Scottsdale, Ariz., operated wireless kiosks in select BJ's outlets. Wireless Retail also sells wireless phone service and other telecommunications products in "store-in-a-store" locations inside select Kmart and Wal-Mart stores.
“This relationship is important to Verizon Wireless' effort to meet our customers where they shop,” said John Colaiuti, Verizon national distribution VP. “By placing Verizon Wireless employees in the BJ's locations, customers also get added convenience and assistance from the best wireless sales people in the industry.”
For its part, Virgin Mobile has expanded its prepaid service to 5,300 7-Eleven stores, up from the 700 stores launched in 2002. Virgin phones will be sold alongside the chain's own SpeakOut brand of prepaid service, also available in 7-Elevens nationwide, and alongside prepaid Boost Mobile phones, available in the greater Chicago area and in six other states. 7-Eleven also offers prepaid wireless cards, but not prepaid phones, for Verizon Wireless, Cingular and Alltel. SpeakOut prepaid service is operated by 7-Eleven, which bills users for air time.
7-Eleven, Inc. operates or franchises about 5,800 7-Eleven stores in the United States and Canada. The Virgin and SpeakOut services are also available to geographic licensees who operate 500 7-Eleven stores in the United States.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.