Dell retreats from retail

Ironically, just weeks after Dell Canada President Harvey Coleman boasted of his company's success distributing computers through traditional retail channels, Dell Computer in the u.s. announced a worldwide retreat from retail stores.On June 9, during a speech at a Planning Forum...

Ironically, just weeks after Dell Canada President Harvey Coleman boasted of his company’s success distributing computers through traditional retail channels, Dell Computer in the u.s. announced a worldwide retreat from retail stores.

On June 9, during a speech at a Planning Forum luncheon in Toronto, Coleman said Dell Canada’s sales through mass merchandisers accounted for 10% of its overall sales.

Dell, which is primarily a mail order distributor, began selling through retail chains about a year ago.

Coleman told the luncheon audience Dell would continue to pursue retail distribution, noting today’s computer buyer tends to be more knowledgable than in the past and, thus, is more comfortable making buying decisions with little or no technical assistance.

But Coleman says Dell’s retail sales success in Canada was not the company norm.

He says, worldwide, Dell’s retail sales accounted for a mere 2% of total sales.

He says that even though Dell Canada’s retail sales were growing quickly, ‘we didn’t get a lot out of it.’

‘We simply could not make as much money out of retail as we could through direct.’

Despite Dell’s withdrawal from retail, Coleman predicts other computer manufacturers will continue to operate in the retail environment.

‘There are clearly some firms that will continue to deliver through traditional retail,’ he says.