According to a new report from MacRumors, Costco has reached a new agreement with Apple that will see it eventually carrying iPhones, iPads and other products. The warehouse club chain used to sell iPods, but quit offering them in late 2010 when it and Apple parted ways.
The news comes by way of an internal email sent to employees of Costco’s Wireless Advocates division, informing them of the new partnership. The memo only mentions iPhones and cellular iPads, but Wi-Fi only iPad Air and iPod models have popped up in stores’ inventories…
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”.
Additionally, the email says that there is still a lot of backend work to be done before stores can begin selling Apple products. It doesn’t offer up any kind of timeline for this work, but it appears Costco has already begun selling iTunes gift cards again, so it may not take too long.
While this news may not seem very significant on the surface, it’s actually a fairly big deal. Costco is the second largest retailer in the United States, and recently moved into the top 15 list of largest online retailers. As of February 2013, the company had over 70 million paid members.