updated 01:55 pm EST, Wed January 30, 2008
Dell Drops Kiosks
Dell today sent word that it will drop its longtime Direct Store practice. All of the Texas PC maker's 140 try-before-buying kiosks currently operating in the US will be shut down; the points of sale are less useful now that the company's computers are already available at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and a handful of other locations, Dell claims. The shift will also help Dell return some of its focus to the direct sales model that formed the backbone of the company's business for most of its existence.
The company did not say whether its full-size showroom stores, which only allow customers to try systems rather than buy them directly, were also affected by the closures. Kiosks will remain in Canada and other countries where Dell has yet to gain a significant foothold in third-party retailers' stores.
Dell's transition is in part a consolidation move to help turn around the company's fortunes, which suffered throughout 2007 as the company lost share to HP and other top PC makers. Shuttering the kiosks also leaves Apple as the sole American computer designer to still operate its own retail chain.