Can Samsung Use Best Buy to Leapfrog Apple?

Samsung (SSNLF.PK) may have a plan to challenge Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) more directly on the iPhone maker’s home turf, and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) could be a key factor in its success.

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Apple operates approximately 400 Apple Stores globally, with a significant portion of those outlets located inside the United States. Those stores drew in 121 million visitors in Apple’s first quarter, which ended in December. Apple announced in January that sales from its iconic stores had reached an all-time high of more than $6.4 billion for that quarter.

Clearly, the retail store strategy is something to be considered by a company in Samsung’s position. The company previously had a store in New York, but it was more of a showroom than an actual retail outlet. But now, to compete with Apple toe-to-toe, it seems the company is going to be putting dedicated spaces into Best Buy stores, according to Ketrina Dunagan, vice president of retail marketing in Samsung Mobile’s U.S. unit.

The stores will take up around 460 square feet near the entrances of about 500 Best Buy locations, mainly targeting large form-factors. The spaces will offer an opportunity for Samsung-focused salespersons to demonstrate all kinds of Samsung devices and show their interconnectedness — a point on which Apple has often been commended…

This move could help slowly shift the smartphone tides in the U.S., as Samsung has plenty of international power — the company has the number one smartphone brand globally — and has decent strength in the U.S., with a 21 percent market share, compared to the 38 percent share held by Apple, according to figures from researcher IDC.

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The increased presence in stores may be able to help Samsung increase its overall presence in the U.S. The retail spaces should start rolling out in the next several months, with smaller Samsung spaces expected be launched at about 1,000 Best Buy locations by June. Meaning that this summer could present a turning point for Samsung and Apple in the U.S.. Best Buy is also sure to benefit from payments from Samsung for the space.

Here’s how Apple and Best Buy traded on Thursday:

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