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Apple shop on the block

In another sign of tough times for Mac retailers, the owner of a Texas computer store has put his company up for sale on eBay.

    In another sign of tough times for Mac retailers, the owner of a Texas computer store has put his company up for sale on eBay.

    Gene Holley has been running The Computer Store in Wichita Falls, Texas, since 1979 but says he just can't make money these days.

    "Really, the margins just aren't there," Holley said Monday. "The more you sell, the more you lose."

    Three months ago, he put his Mac-only shop up for sale. He decided recently to see whether anyone would make a bid on eBay.

    Holley's situation is not unique. ComputerWare, the San Francisco Bay Area's longtime Mac-only shop abruptly shut its doors earlier this month. And Buzzle, the largest computer-selling group in Australia, was placed in receivership earlier this month amid a mountain of debt.

    So far no one has ponied up the $100,000 opening bid on the eBay auction. But Holley said he was not very hopeful the auction site, which has a commercial real estate section, would lead directly to a buyer.

    "We thought we'd try it just for exposure," Holley said. "It looks like it's getting a lot of hits."

    An eBay spokeswoman said it is not unheard of for people to try to sell their businesses on the site, but added that such an attempt is "more infrequent than it is frequent." In September, the owner of dot-com deathwatch F***edCompany.com briefly placed his Web site up for sale on eBay before pulling the auction.

    As for Apple, the company has said that some store closures are not uncommon.

    "Apple's products are available through thousands of outlets worldwide," the company said in a statement. "It is not uncommon for some of these businesses to turn over each year."

    Apple itself is making plans to open its own stores, with locations said to be in the works in Palo Alto, Calif., Chicago, Littleton, Colo., and other locales.