By Alistair Barr
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Friday that it began selling Apple Inc's flagship iPhone 5 smartphone at a big discount in thousands of its stores.
Wal-Mart said it is selling the 16 GB Apple iPhone 5 for $127, versus an original price of $189.97. The price is valid with a two-year contract from wireless carriers Verizon, Sprint and AT&T, the retailer added.
Wal-Mart said it is also selling the 16 GB iPhone 4S and the 16 GB iPad with Retina display and WiFi at discounts.
The offers will be available for 30 days in about 3,000 of Wal-Mart's stores, which were not identified. They are not available online, according to the retailer.
Apple has focused on high-priced, premium gadgets for many years and has strictly enforced its prices with retailers and other distributors. However, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman said on Friday that the discounts were arranged with Apple.
"We worked together with them on this," the spokeswoman, Sarah Spencer, said. "They are a great partner."
Wal-Mart is pricing the iPad starting at $399, down from $499. Beginning Dec. 17 the retailer said it will throw in a $30 iTunes card.
Wal-Mart is selling the 16 GB iPhone 4S for $47, versus an original price of $89.97, it said.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
Wal-Mart's cooperation with Apple is a contrast to its relationship with Amazon.com Inc < AMZN.O>, the world's largest Internet retailer.
In September, Wal-Mart said it would stop selling Amazon's Kindle eReaders and tablets, placing a bet that consumers would be more interested in Apple's gadgets. This spring, Target Corp