Best Buy will be the first major U.S. retail store beyond to sell the iPhone 3G, beginning September 7. The Minneapolis retailer announced Wednesday that it will sell the iPhone at its 970 stores. "Quite honestly, many of our customers come to our store every day asking for it," said Best Buy’s mobile division president Shawn Score. "We're excited we're going to be able to say yes." Despite its incredible popularity and enviable sales, Apple’s phone is currently only available in two places, Apple and AT&T stores. Best Buy will sell the iPhone at the same prices as at the other outlets, and will still require a two-year AT&T contract for


The iPhone 3G has already sold over three million units in the month since its release. Apple’s goal is 10 million iPhone sales in 2008.

The deal will benefit Apple, as Best Buy’s exclusive deal increases the breadth of iPhone availability. The deal will also benefit Best Buy simply by laying claim to one of the trendiest items of the year. Sales and foot traffic are sure to increase, also.

The September rollout should give Best Buy a boost during the holiday shopping season, which accounts for one-third of Best Buy’s yearly sales.

While analysts are split about whether Best Buy will make a profit from iPhone sales, this is definitely bad news for competitors Circuit City and Radio Shack. Best Buy shares climbed in trading at the announcement, as those of its competitors fell.

Best Buy’s iPhone sales announcement corresponds with the opening of Best Buy Mobile, a store-within-a-store mobile phone service.

By Mark Alvarez