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By | John Oates 24th May 2006 09:17

Dell holds nose and tries retail

Dallas and New York get shops

Dell, famous for sticking to its direct sales business model, is opening two stores in the US but stresses it is just an experiment.

The stores will not carry inventory - orders will still go through Dell's website and existing fullfilment process. The two shops, with about 3,000 square feet of space, will carry about 36 products including big screen TVs.

Although primarily a direct seller Dell has tried retail sales before - late last year it did a deal with US warehouse giant Costco to offer cheap desktop machines off the shelf. Since 2002, the company has run kiosks in shopping malls and department stores to let shoppers try before they buy. These also have no inventory but can help customers through ordering online.

IDC PC sales figures for the most recent quarter showed Dell's growth slowing to less than one per cent in the US, but it is still in top spot.

But Dell will be up against some competition - both the malls chosen already have Apple stores.

More from the New York Times here and Cnet here. ®

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