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Palm Adds Five Company Stores In California

Palm opened five more Palm retail stores this month and last, bringing the nationwide store count to 23 for the mobile computing manufacturer.

The new stores are all in California, and are located at shopping centers or airports in San Jose, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The company also opened an outlet at its corporate headquarters here.

The small footprint shops, which Palm is building at a 30 percent clip, feature an accessories and game wall, and a computer area where sales staff can help customers synchronize their devices to their computers and answer questions about applications.

According to Kanwal Sharma, director of Palm Retail Stores, the new units underscore the success of Palm’s strategy of deploying the company shops to build sales and strengthen the Palm brand. The program was launched nearly three years ago with a kiosk at the San Jose location, which was expanded to an 800-square-foot store this month.

“Our first Palm retail location was the beginning of a pilot program to get more consumers to experience Palm products and accessories,” he said. “The solid growth in year-over-year revenue demonstrates the success of the retail strategy. For example, during the 12-month period, ended Oct. 6, revenue at [the San Jose location] grew almost 52 percent over the preceding 12-month period.”

John Hartnett, Palm’s worldwide sales and customer service senior VP, added: “Our retail stores offer a casual shopping environment where Palm solutions experts put the Palm experience directly into the hands of new and upgrading customers, which also benefits current and future sales across all our retail and carrier partners.” Initial Palm surveys have indicated that more than 31 percent of shoppers who stop at the company stores purchase from other retail partners, he said, “giving us confidence that the stores are a strategic as well as commercial success.”

Many of the stores are located in some of the nation’s busiest airports, Palm noted, where they allow the company’s core demographic of mobile business customers to upgrade an existing device or purchase accessories while traveling. The airport locations bank on the company’s belief that the future of personal computing lies in mobile computing. That outlook is supported by IDC’s Mobile Worker Forecast, which predicts that nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers will travel for business in 2006, Palm said.

Palm also offers consumers an online shopping option at