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Gateway ventures back to the UK

Gateway Inc., the third-largest U.S. personal computer maker, is re-entering the British market through two retailers after a four-year absence to boost sales.

Gateway is selling a notebook PC, two desktop PCs and 17- inch and 19-inch liquid crystal display televisions through the 250-retail store chain Comet, a unit of Kesa Electricals Plc. Gateway is also selling its eMachines PCs and displays through 138 U.K. stores of Staples Inc.

Gateway withdrew from European and Asian markets in 2001, saying those regions were losing money. Wayne Inouye, who took over as chief executive officer in 2004, is struggling to boost sales. Gateway shares have dropped 37 percent since Aug. 15, when the Irvine, California-based company reduced its annual sales forecast to $4 billion from as high as $4.25 billion.

Inouye closed company-owned stores and is now selling Gateway products through retailers. He's already re-entered markets in Japan and Mexico.

Gateway shares fell 6 cents to $2.44 on Friday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Shares of Framingham, Massachusetts-based Staples rose 7 cents to $21.74 in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. Shares of London-based Kesa fell 1.25 pence to 258.75 pence Friday in London.