Favoring Stores, Dell Closes Mall Kiosks, including Three in Triangle

Dell to shut kiosks at three Triangle malls, five others across the state. PC maker says it will focus on sales through stores such as Wall-Mart and Best Buy.

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ROUND ROCK, TEXAS — Dell Inc., which has been pushing its computers into more retail stores, said Wednesday it will close its 140 shopping mall kiosks in the United States, including its three in the Triangle area of North Carolina.

Dell now sells computers and other devices in more than 10,000 stores around the world, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Best Buy Co., and the kiosks may be losing some of their novelty.

The company operated kiosks in the Triangle and elsewhere in North Carolina. In November, Dell said it was expanding the number of kiosks.

According to Dell's Web site, eight kiosks were in North Carolina, including Triangle Town center, Crabtree Valley Mall and Streets at Southpoint.

Dell also operated kiosks in 19 other states.

It operates one of the world's largest PC manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem.

Tony Weiss, the vice president of Dell's global consumer business, said closing the kiosks "fits in with how our broad global retail strategy is evolving."

Dell began opening the kiosks in 2002 to boost sales of notebook computers, which didn't fit as well within the company's practice of selling directly to customers over the Internet and by phone. More than other customers, people considering notebooks wanted to see and feel the machines before buying them.

Dell has cut more deals with retailers as the growth of PC sales slowed and it lost the sales lead to Hewlett-Packard Co., which sells machines in many stores. Dell's U.S. consumer revenue declined 26 percent for the six months ended Aug. 3, compared with the same period in 2006.

Round Rock-based Dell said it is committed to the direct-sales business, and kiosks outside the United States aren't affected by Wednesday's announcement.


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