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Dell torches US kiosks

Direct Stores scorned for retail relationships

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Dell is shutting down its 140 US store kiosks, made obsolete by the company's decision to jump into bed with retailers.

The kiosks, called Dell Direct stores, punt the company's PCs, printers and other electronics in shopping malls and airports.

Shoppers can see, touch, fiddle with, scorn or moan longingly at Dell merchandise, but the patron-to-vendor relationship ends there. The kiosk are merely teases, which don't actually carry inventory. Customers need to place an order with a Dell representative at the kiosk to get any equipment shipped home.

It's a hard line largely outmoded by the company's channel deals in recent months across the globe with the likes of Best Buy, Staples, PC World, Carrefour and Bic Camera stores.

Historically, Dell was a direct-only vendor and it still makes most of its money selling direct. But the company couldn't resist reworking the ol' sales model in face of losing sales to PC vendors such as Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, which have no such qualms over selling through channel partners.

Dell Direct stores in Canada, Asia Pacific and Japan - about 50, all told - remain open, according to the Direct2Dell blog. Per usual, the company also reminds its still committed to its direct-sales business. ®

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