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% 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.
(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Editing by Anil D'Silva)