Dell Testing Retail Store Concept

Dell plans to open up two brick-and-mortar locations in a pilot program to test the retail waters later this year, the company says. But don't expect it to be like an Apple store -- all orders would still be placed through the phone and Web.

The company has already made a small retail appearance through the opening of kiosks in about 160 shopping malls across the country. The Dell stores would build upon that approach, allowing for a more traditional store layout and a broader selection of products for customers to test.

The first stores will open in Dallas and West Nyack, N.Y., near New York City. Orders would still be placed at kiosks and over the phone from within those stores.

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It is unclear as to when the company plans to expand the full-store strategy to more locations. However, the move does show a willingness by Dell to begin looking into new ways of keeping the company financially sound.

Last quarter, Dell saw an 18 percent drop in profits, with sluggish revenue growth. Since then, the company has made a variety of announcements, including its planned inclusion of AMD processors in what seems to be an effort to generate growth in its core businesses.

A retail presence has gone both ways for other computer manufacturers. While Gateway's retail presence hurt the company in the long run, for HP it generates nearly 60 percent of its sales. It should be noted, however, that the two had widely different retail strategies.

Apple's retail business, meanwhile, continues to boom. The company last week opened a 24-hour store in the heart of Manhattan on 5th Avenue.

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