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Apple to pull out of Sears

Amid slow sales and a shift in retail strategy, the Mac maker will part ways with the retail giant by the end of the year.

Amid slow sales and a shift in its retail strategy, Apple Computer has decided to stop selling its computers at Sears, CNET has learned.

"Apple and Sears have mutually decided to part ways and will be unwinding their relationship during the remainder of this year," Sears Roebuck spokesman Tom Nicholson said Thursday. Nicholson declined to elaborate.

The move comes as Apple is changing its retail strategy, which includes plans to open its own line of stores.

An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment.

In a January meeting with analysts, Apple Senior Vice President Tim Cook hinted that the company might sever ties with some retailers.

"We'll cut some channel partners that may not be providing the buying experience" Apple wants, Cook said at the time. "We're not happy with everybody."

Apple has had a bumpy relationship with a number of retailers, including Sears. In February 1998, the company said it would stop selling its computers at Sears, Best Buy, Circuit City, Computer City and Office Max. However, Apple returned to Sears not long afterward.