Telecommunications giant AT&T will open its first entertainment-focused store Monday in Newport Beach.
Company officials said the store at 4225 MacArthur Blvd., across from the Pacific Club, is the first of its kind nationwide. In addition to retail offerings of Apple and Samsung products, the store will showcase DirecTV Now, a streaming and on-demand video service, as well as its DirecTV packages.
Last year, Dallas-based AT&T announced a merger with Time Warner. Though the transaction is still being reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice antitrust division, the company has said it plans to split into two independent companies: one for phone operations and another, based in El Segundo, for media and entertainment.
During a recent tour of the new 2,854-square-foot store, about 1,000 square feet of which is an employee-only area, Lane Mansell, AT&T's vice president and general manager for the greater Los Angeles area, noted how Newport's location is emphasizing content as the company transitions.
Video screens on the walls played clips from HBO programs and other titles. A large picture from the movie "Hidden Figures" was nearby.
"This represents the connection of connectivity and content," Mansell said.
Tables with Apple and Samsung phones dotted the room. One wall was stocked with products such as phone cases, headphones and speakers.
Newport's store — which was two years in the making and will serve as a model for other AT&T locations nationwide — doesn't have a row of cash registers behind a counter that separates customers from employees, Mansell said. Rather, it has a few tables and couches where employees can converse in a more one-on-one manner with customers.
Employees also can use portable tablet computers for transactions anywhere in the store.
A grand opening ceremony for the store is planned for later this month.