February 16, 1999 5:05 PM PST

iMacs: Color Japanese retailers mad

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Apple's colorful iMacs may be appealing to fashion conscious computer users, but Japanese retailers are finding the rainbow of configurations to be a hassle, according to a report.

Last month, Apple Computer supplemented its popular blue iMac by making it in five new fruit "flavors" or colors: strawberry, blueberry, tangerine, grape, and lime.

The new colors, while building on the overwhelming success of the innovative design of the iMac, also pose problems for retailers attempting to manage their inventory, according to the report.

In Japan, store owners complain that the company doesn't allow retailers to only stock more popular colors, which are often blueberry and grape. Instead, Apple forces vendors to buy the same amount of each color, according to the report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a major Japanese business daily.

In the U.S., Apple sells the computers in sets of five, one of each color. This practice reduces Apple's risk of being stuck with unwanted colors, but not the retailer's.

The report also noted that manufacturers of peripherals like printers and scanners are also trying to decide whether to start offering colored products.

 

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