Sprint checks out of Target - Mobile World Live

Sprint checks out of Target

28 MAR 2019

Sprint began withdrawing its presence from retail chain Target, as part of an ongoing effort to fine-tune its distribution strategy.

An operator representative told Mobile World Live (MWL) Sprint is exiting about 1,500 Target stores nationwide, confirming a change first noticed by market analysis company Wave 7 Research.

The representative said decision is part of Sprint’s continual evaluation of its sales channels, adding it will redouble efforts with its other distribution partners including retail chains Best Buy; Walmart; Sam’s Club; Costco; and Walgreens.

Sprint’s shift will affect its post-paid offerings: the operator already pulled its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile prepaid brands from Target in mid-2018.

Shifting sands
Jeff Moore, principal analyst at Wave 7 Research, told MWL the move “isn’t a bolt out of the blue”, given both the prior prepaid exit and checks which found Sprint representatives stopped visiting Target stores at the end of 2018.

He said sources revealed Sprint suffered from poor sales at Target, adding its displays will reportedly be replaced by those of MVNO Consumer Cellular, which has had better luck in that particular channel.

In 2018, Sprint embarked on a mission to massively expand its sales presence, aiming to open hundreds of new retail stores and striking new distribution deals with Walmart, Walgreens and others.

But Moore noted Sprint has historically been “very shifty” in terms of its distribution strategy compared to its rivals, highlighting short-lived partnerships with RadioShack and Dixon’s Carphone. While competitors have decided on a retail plan and stuck to it, he said Sprint remains “all over the place”.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana joins Mobile World Live as its new US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana comes to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and...

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