KROGER DALLAS MARKET AREA PROGRAMMED TO SELL PCS

KELLER, Texas -- Kroger's Dallas-Fort Worth marketing area here has jumped into the home-computer market by promoting personal computers priced several hundred dollars less than comparable branded models.Kroger is considering the program, kicked off recently at 26 stores, for an everyday section if it does well in the next several weeks, said Wayne Hanner, the KMA's network administrator. "We're looking

KELLER, Texas -- Kroger's Dallas-Fort Worth marketing area here has jumped into the home-computer market by promoting personal computers priced several hundred dollars less than comparable branded models.

Kroger is considering the program, kicked off recently at 26 stores, for an everyday section if it does well in the next several weeks, said Wayne Hanner, the KMA's network administrator. "We're looking at doing this on a regular basis sometime after Jan. 1, probably keeping it going without losing any momentum."

The KMA so far is the only Kroger division selling computers, according to Hanner. They are displayed at various locations in stores and are mentioned in the KMA's weekly food ad.

"The PC has now become a commodity category, and we're seeing [Kroger] orders coming slowly but steadily," said Peter Liu, president of Advanced PC Products, Dallas, Kroger's PC supplier.

The retailer declined to give specific sales figures.

Kroger has priced its computers starting at $799.99 for a unit with 16 megabytes of memory and a 166-megahertz Pentium processor, and at $1,050 for a 32-meg, 200-MHz version. Prices range from $1,200 to $1,400 when add-ons like sound cards, speakers, CD-ROMs, modems and fax software are included, Hanner said.

The chain is also selling monitors in 14-inch and 15-inch sizes for about $150 and $200, respectively. The computers come with a one-year on-site service plan and second-year carry-in coverage.