Best Buy is putting the Apple iPhone on sale from now until Jan. 3., with the 8 GB version costing $189.99 and the 16 GB version at $289.99.
“As you would imagine, we’re always looking at what’s going on in the marketplace, and this is one crazy marketplace,” Vice President of Marketing Scott Moore said. “We thought this would be a way to help customers right now.”
Moore did not directly answer whether the sale is in response to Walmart’s small discount of $2, which begins Dec. 28, or if Apple’s permission was needed to reduce the price.
Best Buy is also eliminating its $30 fee for personal configuration of the smartphone and will give its Reward Zone customers double points, Moore said.
“Best Buy rejects the hypothesis that it has to be a nightmare to buy a phone,” he said. The big-box retailer’s sales staff do not work on commissions, so they can objectively help customers select an appropriate device, he added.
Behind the scenes, Best Buy is being hit by the recession. The company this week offered voluntary layoff packages to 4,000 people in its Minneapolis headquarters and saw its net profit for the third quarter drop sharply to $52 million, compared with $202 million in the second quarter and $228 million a year ago.
Best Buy also recently announced a mobile software deal with Handango.