Analyst: Apple Could Sell Macs in Wal-mart

Apple could eventually sell Macs at Wal-mart, according to Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes. In a research note obtained by The Mac Observer, Mr. Reitzes told clients that Apple's success with the iPhone in Wal-mart could lead to "select Macs" being sold at the world's largest retailer, and that such an arrangement "Makes sense."

We believe Apple could eventually sell select Mac products in Wal-Mart stores," he wrote, "which could significantly increase distribution and unit shipments of Macs (starting with a pilot program)."

He added, while we don't expect an immediate impact this year and believe Apple would need to reposition its line-up first, we believe that closer ties to Wal-Mart make sense. We are already seeing more Apple accessories make their way onto Wal-Mart shelves after a successful launch of the iPhone."

Mr. Reitzes also believes that Wal-mart is actively pitching Apple to bring more of its products to the discounter's shelves. This is in keeping with Wal-mart's own efforts to boost its share of the electronics market, and to bring more high-end products to its stores.

"With Wal-Mart improving its retail displays," he wrote, "we believe that the mega-retailer could eventually earn the right to sell select Mac products without diluting Apple's brand (Wal-Mart is located in many rural areas not near an Apple store)."

While any agreement between Apple and Wal-mart would have to move slowly -- requiring a gradual start similar to Best Buy's reintroduction of Macs, and a direct sign-off from Apple COO Tim Cook -- Mr. Reitzes stated unequivocally that he felt, "Wal-mart would clearly benefit Apple."

Mr. Reitzes maintained his "Overweight" rating for AAPL, and his price target of US$155 per share.

In the afternoon trading session, shares in Apple traded at $128.94, up $2.29 (+1.81%), on moderate volume.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a small share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.