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IBM Japan, Kojima to sell direct

The IBM subsidiary and a major home electronics retail chain combine to offer most IBM models at reduced prices, while reducing inventory.

IBM Japan and major home electronics retail chain Kojima have begun cooperating on a direct-order sales scheme for personal computers, sources from the two firms said Thursday.

Kojima stores order machines from IBM Japan's mail-order division, PC Direct, which delivers the PCs directly to the outlets so they don't have to maintain inventories, according to a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

Consumers can purchase every IBM PC except for two best-selling Aptiva models. Kojima expects to sell the PCs for slightly less than going mail-order prices, taking advantage of reduced distribution costs, the sources added.

IBM Japan will also be able to avoid carrying extra inventory, and the wholly owned subsidiary of the giant U.S. computer make plans to adopt the system with other wholesalers and retailers.

Vendors such as Dell and Gateway already employ a direct-sales scheme in Japan. Meanwhile, in the U.S., and there is a trend now among major vendors such as Compaq and HP to implement sales strategies that are more direct than before.