Dell signs Officeworks as first retail partner

First retail partnership for the PC giant in Australia

Dell Australia has selected office stationery and IT supplies chain, Officeworks, as its first local retail partner.

The partnership will see a range of Dell's desktop PCs, laptops, laser printers, LCD displays and accessories sold through Officework's 104 stores nationally.

Dell general manager of consumer sales and marketing for South Asia, Evan Williams, said a select number of stores will also offers customers the ability to configure and order their own Dell machines with the assistance of Officeworks staff through its online built-to-order facilities.

"This is a very dramatic step in our evolution. We have had a successful direct model to consumers... now we are giving consumers the ability to buy products in a retail store format," he said. "Officeworks has strong national coverage, and it's a working partnership - we share the same vision on the consumer space and delivering an experience."

Officeworks will set its own pricing for in-store inventory. Officeworks spokesperson, David Oakley, said it will offer 10 PC models, most of which will offer different specifications to those Dell sells online. All will be based on Windows Vista. Prices will range from $999 to $1800 and are available from May 5.

"Officeworks already maintains a strong position as a provider of IT solutions. The partnership with Dell provides an excellent foundation for this going forward," Oakley said.

Officeworks will continue stocking IT-related products from other vendors, he added.

Williams said Dell plans to retain its 13 retail kiosks nationally and will look to work with other local retailers further down the track.

"This is not an exclusive partnership with Officeworks, but we expect they will be our only retail partners for a period of time. We want to focus as much as possible on this partnership to ensure it is successful," he said.

Williams declined to provide details on when Dell's broader IT channel strategy would be released in Australia.

"We're not looking at distributors or IT resellers to play in the consumer space," he said.

Dell's appointment of its first retail partner in Australia is part of a global strategy to break out of its direct sales model and embrace an indirect strategy.

Overseas, Dell has already signed agreements with discount chain, Wal-Mart, for the US, Canada and Latin American markets, as well as CE retailer, Best Buys, and office supplies chain, Staples, and car phone retailer, Carphone Warehouse, in the US and the UK. It has also inked deals in Europe with retail chain, Carrefour, and CE retailer, DSG International, as well as Tesco to address the European, UK and Asian markets.

In Asia, Dell signed up with Suning stores in China earlier this month as well as the country's largest CE retailer, Gome. It also works with Wuxing, Meicheng, Heng Chang and Heyong stores in that country as well as Bic Camera in Japan and Courts stores in Singapore.

Q: What do you think of Dell's retail choice? Send your comments in below.

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