As part of its quarterly financial results, membership warehouse store Costco has revealed that it will be phasing Apple products out of its warehouse stores over the next few months. Costco has never offered a wide range of Apple products—just iPods, the iPod touch, and iTunes gift cards—but the announcement would seem to derail some consumers hopes of eventually picking up Apple consumer gear (like the Apple TV or the iPad) at a discount. Costco’s pricing on Apple products has only been slightly below other retailers, giving Costco only a slight pricing advantage.
According to the Seattle Times, the phase-out is a “mutual agreement” between the two companies. Costco apparently had been frustrated that it has never been permitted to sell Apple products online.
Although Costco is a members-only operation, the retailer has become a significant force in consumer electronics, particularly for its discount pricing on high-definition televisions from the likes of Vizio, Samsung, and Sony. The retailer also typically offers a range of digital cameras, PCs and computer peripherals, home theater equipment, and electronics accessories—often including a wide range of “Made for iPod” products.
Apple has relationships with other major discount retailers, including Target and Walmart, as well as online retailers like Amazon and consumer electronics retailers like Best Buy.