Apple is reportedly to open store-within-a-store outlets within selected Target retail shops this year, building its presence in regions that are unable to house an Apple Store, AppleInsider reports.

The Apple-focused website cites a source familiar with Apple’s future plans, noting that the company will open Apple-centric areas within 25 larger Target stores across the U.S, adding to the 600 Best Buy locations it which it currently operates ‘Apple Shops’.

AppleInsider writes:

Target, the second-largest discount retail chain in the US, operates 1752 stores in the US. Apple has opened 359 of its own retail stores globally, 245 of which are in the US.

Apple currently also operates a “store within a store” at over 600 Best Buy locations with “Apple Shops,” some of which feature staffing by Apple Solution Consultants. Best Buy has over 1,000 total stores in the US.

Apple has been selling its iPod range in Target for the past nine years, allowing customers to listen to an Apple device before they buy  it. It also allowed the retailer to stock its iPad tablet in October 2010, which moved on to sell the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 a month later.

Last month, we reported that French company eBizcuss, which is the largest Apple reseller in the country, sued the Cupertino firm over allegations that is using its retail stores to gain a competitive advantage. The company claims that Apple holds an unfair advantage over its resellers because it favours its own retail stores over them when it ships new products to the country. It also alleges that Apple is using pricing to get it a distinct sales advantage in France.

Over the past ten years, Apple has had partnerships with Sears, Circuit City, Computer City and Office Max in the U.S but terminated them to focus on the development of its own retail stores and other retailer partnerships.