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Whatever Happened To The Corner Computer Store?

Eager to outfit his new home office, Oscar Katov recently went shopping for his first personal computer. The 64-year-old convention planner tried two Washington-area computer stores but left empty-handed, put off by the salespeople's technical jargon. Then he went to a Sears, where, he says, a salesman described the technology "in plain English." Katov plunked down $5,300 for a PC, fax machine, and other supplies.

Corporate America may not be shopping for computers at the mall--and probably never will. But from one-person shops to billion-dollar businesses, computer buyers are finding new places to purchase the latest PCs and accessories. Everybody's selling computers, it seems: office-supply outlets, department stores, warehouse clubs, and consumer electronics chains. The latest trend is computer superstores--cavernous, no-frills outlets with floor-to-ceiling stacks of discounted gear.