June 20, 2003 2:28 PM PDT

Dell shutters Sears kiosks

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Dell Computer has ended an experiment in trying to sell PCs through kiosks in Sears stores, the company confirmed on Friday.

The Round Rock, Texas-based PC maker opened its first Sears kiosk in the Austin, Texas, area in January, followed by three more in Florida. The company learned a few lessons from the experience, a Dell representative said, but began closing the booths last month. The representative would not comment on further attempts to market PCs through Sears.

The termination of the Sears experiment, however, does not mean the end of Dell's retail plans. The company has been selling PCs through other kiosks in malls around the United States since the middle of 2002. Initially, the plan was to shut them down at the end of the holiday season last year, but positive results prompted the company to maintain them.

In all, there are 57 Dell kiosks in the country. They are staffed by Dell employees who can answer technical questions and help customers order. Dell does not stock PCs at these locations; instead, customers order their PCs online through the kiosk.

"It is a good vehicle for customers," the representative said.


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