Once again, Best Buy is carving out a section of its stores to serve as a dedicated showcase for brands willing to foot part of the bills.
This time it is Verizon and AT&T that are getting a store within a store, in separate deals being announced Tuesday. Verizon “experience stores” will be in 100 Best Buy locations this month and a total of 250 by the end of this year. AT&T will also be in 250 stores, and in most cases those will be the same locations as Verizon.
The companies declined to comment on how the deal is structured financially, but the experience stores will be operated by Best Buy employees specially trained on each carrier’s products and services. The AT&T and Verizon outlets will range from 90 to 180 square feet each, Best Buy said.
Verizon and AT&T are following a well-trodden path among tech brands looking for greater play inside the nation’s leading electronics chain. Apple, Microsoft and Samsung already have their own such sections inside many Best Buy locations.
At some point, Best Buy may start resembling an Asian electronics mall where people go from one brand’s self-contained shop to another rather than search within a category like computers or phones. Such operations are commonplace in many Asian countries, generating huge sales but leaving little brand equity for the overarching entity, which is more like a landlord or mall operator than a retailer itself.
So far, Best Buy is keeping control of the sales and doing the branded sections in addition to its own category sections, like phones, computers and televisions.
The moves by Verizon and AT&T come as carriers are eyeing ways of reaching customers without having to always go through the expensive undertaking of opening a dedicated retail store. Sprint, for example, is operating dedicated space inside many of the remaining RadioShack stores. In that set-up, Sprint has said it pays a portion of the rent and utilities.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.