Lenovo Strikes Retail Deal With Circuit City

forging an enhanced relationship

The Raleigh, N.C.-based computer company said it will shelve its ThinkPad T60 widescreen and Lenovo N100 notebooks at Circuit City's stores, as with Best Buy. In addition, though, Circuit City will sell different SKUs of those models, plus the Lenovo C200 notebook to its online and phone customers, the companies said.

Lenovo has been under pressure to turn around flagging sales in the U.S., which underperformed its sales in other worldwide regions during the fourth quarter of 2006. In addition to expanding its retail efforts the company has taken steps to beef up its web-based sales.

Lenovo, though, has said it will not provide price advantages to customers online, or to the retailers over its commercial resellers and solution providers -- a potential sore spot with its partners in the channel. Lenovo resellers have said that while they are less than thrilled with the company's decision to expand its retail presence, a level playing field on price would mitigate potential conflicts.

As with Best Buy, Lenovo said it is targeting SMB customers, very small business and independent professional sales with its Circuit City effort.

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The Lenovo PCs that will sell through the Circuit City channel will be preloaded with one of several of Microsoft's new Vista operating system.