– Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –
Dell Inc’s move into retail sales might seem poorly-timed, discretionary spending being what it is. In fact, the world’s No. 2 personal computer maker looks like it’s making the right choices that can get its long-struggling consumer business rolling again.
Dell is gearing up to feature several refreshed lines of consumer PCs in 30,000 stores around the globe. The company’s consumer retail chief Michael Tatelman has set aggressive growth targets for the business.
These targets come despite predictions by market research firm Gartner Inc that the PC industry this year will suffer a nearly 12 percent decline, its biggest-ever unit sales drop.
But Dell appears to have learned the right lessons from its historic build-to-order approach to making PCs and is well positioned to take advantage of some of the few positive trends at work in a PC industry facing relentless commodity pressure.
Dell’s ambitious retail strategy can be traced to Tatelman’s background as president of Motorola Inc’s mobile handset business. As PCs shrink into handheld devices with built-in mobile connections, there are fewer differences to phones.