Target, Wal-Mart Square Off in iPhone 5C Price Battle

Source: Target.comTarget (NYSE:TGT) became the first retailer to match Wal-Mart’s (NYSE:WMT) unusually low price for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) upcoming iPhone 5C when it announced that it will also be selling the 16GB iPhone 5C for $79 if customers sign up for a standard two-year service contract. However, Target customers may also get an additional 5 percent off if they opt to use their Target REDcard.

Many industry watchers were surprised when Wal-Mart announced it was selling the 16GB iPhone 5C for $79 last week, since Apple typically provides retailers with strong incentives to keep its devices above the suggested retail price, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle. These incentives include financial marketing support and some fairly narrow profit margins on Apple’s devices.

In fact, some commentators have speculated that retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart may be selling the iPhone at a loss in order to attract customers to their stores. However, it is also possible that both retailers cut special pricing deals with Apple.

However it was accomplished, it appears that Target is following Wal-Mart’s lead in discounting the iPhone 5C. On the other hand, Target kept its iPhone 5S price at the standard $199 level. Wal-Mart is offering the 16GB iPhone 5S for $189 along with the standard two-year contract.

Apple’s iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S will become available Friday at 8 a.m. local time. As reported by 9to5Mac, the new iPhone models have already started to go on sale in Australia, where customers are being given iPhone 5S shipping estimates of seven to 10 days. Several analysts have predicted that the iPhone 5S will be in short supply due to production constraints for the new fingerprint scanner technology.

Here’s how Apple has traded over the past five trading sessions.

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Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS

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