Dell’s (DELL) Retail Hell

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Evidence, anecdotal or stronger, is emerging that Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) machines are selling poorly at retailers like Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY).

The lines of people looking for a new PC have probably shortened considerably. If PCs ran on gas, they would be even worse. But, Dell’s stuff is also being pushed off the front shelves by products from HP (NYSE: HPQ) and Sony (NYSE: SNE). Walter Price, a portfolio manager who helps oversee $3 billion at RCM Capital Management told Bloomberg “Dell doesn’t have the broad product lineup of H-P. Dell doesn’t have the deep relationships with their partners that H-P has, and Dell’s effort in retail is unsophisticated.”

Michael Dell, founder and CEO-for-life, may be much further from getting the company back on its feet than investors had hoped. Over the last six months, Dell shares are down over 20% while rival HP is up 5% for the period.

Dell made a habit of saying how fabulous his former CEO Kevin Rollins was. At the end of January 2007, he threw Rollins under a bus and offered him no first aid after he had been run over. With the company’s shares well down from that day, the stock market gods have got their revenge.

Douglas A. McIntyre