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Lenovo adds desktops to retail strategy

ThinkPad notebooks, ThinkCentre desktops return to retail stores in hopes of capturing small-business customers, consumers.

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.
Lenovo is wading further into the retail market with the appearance of two ThinkCentre desktops on Micro Center's store shelves.

Two previously announced E50 series ThinkCentre PCs are on sale at various Micro Center stores, according to a research report from Current Analysis. This marks the first time Lenovo or IBM has had desktops on retail shelves since the Aptiva was pulled from stores in late 1999 amid heavy losses for IBM's PC division. Lenovo purchased that group in 2005.

Micro Center is a relatively small player in the retail PC market, with 19 locations throughout the U.S. The systems are also available on Micro Center's Web site.

Last November, Lenovo put several ThinkPad notebooks on Office Depot's shelves as part of an attempt to renew the ThinkPad's visibility with small-business customers who like to purchase systems from local retail stores. But that retail presence has the added benefit of improving consumer awareness of Lenovo's products, analysts said at the time.

The E50 9215A1U comes with Intel's Celeron 331 processor and 256MB of memory for $459 at Micro Center, Current Analysis said. A more powerful system, priced at $719, includes Intel's Pentium 4 519 processor and 512MB of memory. Lenovo sells the models through online retailers such as CDW.com and PCConnection.com, but they cost $10 more at those outlets, according to the market research firm.

Lenovo is the third-largest PC vendor in the world, based mostly on the strength of ThinkPad sales to corporate customers and a leading presence in its home base of China, according to data released this week from IDC and Gartner. But Gartner noted that Lenovo was hurt in the fourth quarter by poorly positioned desk-based systems, and its lack of a consumer business.


Correction: This article misidentified when Lenovo purchased IBM's PC division. It was in 2005.