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AUSTIN-Dell Computer Corp. is getting back into retail, but not in a big way. It will join the likes of cellular phone companies, Dippin’ Dots ice cream and calendar shops and install kiosks in 20 shopping malls around the United States.

The Austin-based company kicks off its kiosk strategy in its backyard at the Rouse Co.’s Highland Mall at 601 Airport Blvd. Dell test-marketed the concept during the past holiday shopping season in malls in the Dallas and Nashville areas.

“We tested this approach over the last year and received tremendously positive response from our buyers,” Kurt Kirsch, director of new business development for Dell’s consumer group, said in a statement.

The kiosk features Dell computers and other products such as printers and digital cameras. A sales representative will be on hand to explain the products. Customers can configure systems and place orders at the kiosk. The products will be sent directly to customers’ homes.

Dell tried the retail waters in the early 1990s, but got out quickly as it decided to focus on sales made via telephone and, later, online. A Dell spokesman was not available to say where the other 20 malls are located.

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