Dell Unit Hunts For Cost Cuts

The new head of Dell Inc.’s (DELL) sluggish consumer-products division said he aims to improve profits at the low-margin segment this fiscal year with a shift in focus to cost control from expansion.

The performance of the computer maker’s consumer division has hindered a broader turnaround. Steve Felice, who in February took control of the consumer division in addition to his role as the head of Dell’s small- and medium-sized businesses unit, said the company had emphasized new products and greater retail presence as a way to extend its reach beyond its bread-and-butter corporate clients.

Dell famously sold its products direct, especially on its Web site, for years. More recently it has put a greater emphasis on retail and started to sell computers at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and other retailers in the U.S. and other places, including Japan and China. Dell’s sales from retail have grown to about $6 billion in the fiscal year ended Jan. 29, from almost nothing in 2007.

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