Apple’s Pro iPhones will be harder to find in stores this holiday -Best Buy

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Apple Inc’s high-end iPhones will be in short supply at stores this holiday season, Best Buy Co Inc’s chief executive said on Tuesday, as the tech giant grapples with production issues at a virus-blighted plant in China.

Earlier this month, Apple warned of delays in shipments of its flagship product following a significant production cut at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant due to China’s zero-COVID-19 policy, dampening its sales outlook for the busy year-end shopping season.

The supply issues are expected to most significantly impact Apple’s premium iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models, which start at nearly $1,000.

Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said the electronics retail giant was seeing a shortage in stocks of the premium iPhones and had factored the expected loss in sales into its holiday quarter forecast.

“One of the places where we’re seeing a bit of (inventory) pressure is in those higher-end iconic iPhone devices,” Barry said on a media call.

Apple’s iPhones and other products draw a lot of customers to Best Buy stores and often trigger impulse buying of other gadgets as well.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives estimates 8 million iPhone 14 units will be sold over the Black Friday weekend, about 2 million fewer than a year ago.

Inventory of iPhones are down about 25 per cent from a year earlier at Apple’s own stores, Ives said.

Still, Best Buy on Tuesday forecast a smaller drop in annual sales than it had previously estimated, saying it was confident that a ramp up in deals and discounts will bring in more inflation-weary customers during the holiday season.

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