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Best Buy Testing CE Shops In Macy’s

Macy’s is dipping its toe back in the CE waters with a limited test of branded Best Buy boutiques within its department stores.

Ten licensed shops, each about 300 square feet and staffed by Best Buy employees, are set to open in early November. The stores-within-a-store will carry a select assortment of Samsung smartphones, tablets and smart watches, plus headphones, Bluetooth speakers and accessories, including cases and chargers, from Samsung and other manufacturers.

Store locations have not yet been finalized, a Macy’s spokeswoman told TWICE.

“We are delighted that consumer electronics will be returning to selected Macy’s stores through this test, which will allow us to learn how we can best serve our customers’ needs in this very sophisticated category,” said Macy’s president Jeff Gennette. “Our customers have expressed interest in electronics for self-purchase and gift-giving, and this collaboration with Best Buy reinforces Macy’s as a shopping destination throughout the year for the products that are most in demand.”

Macy’s, once a major proponent of CE along with the rest of the department store channel, largely abandoned the category as discount chains wrung margin from the business.

Macy’s has since kept a hand in the category via online sales and in-store demos; a J&R Music World outpost in the basement of its flagship Herald Square store; and even trials of CE vending machines.

For its part, Best Buy’s move into Macy’s is an inventive twist on its own in-store strategy of parceling out floor space to vendors including Samsung, Apple, Google and Microsoft.

Gennette said the new partners “will test and learn … through the holidays and into 2016 before deciding on next steps.”

Macy’s, formerly a unit of Federated Department Stores, operates about 885 Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores in 45 states. Along with related e-commerce sites the retailer generated sales of $28.1 billion in fiscal 2014.