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Retailers jumping into tech-support offerings; also: Wi-Fi coming to Delta (and maybe Northwest?), Gander Mountain opens online ‘store,’ and Buca finds a buyer

Best Buy’s techies aren’t the only geeks in town any more. Smart Money reports on the growing trend of retailers getting into the tech-support business. Target recently partnered with a company called Zip Express that helps customers set up home theaters. Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Staples have all announced similar arrangements. Support services are one of the few high-profit-margin areas left for electronics retailers.

Delta Air Lines says it will offer broadband wireless Internet
on all flights beginning the middle of next year, the Associated Press reports. The airline will charge a flat fee of $10 for flights under three hours and $13 for longer routes. Northwest does not offer Wi-Fi for its passengers, but I’m guessing that if the merger goes as planned, the service will come our way as the airlines and their fleets combine.

With in-flight Wi-Fi, you’ll now be able to shop at Gander Mountain from the comfort of … er, well, from your airline seat. The outdoors retailer announced its new e-commerce website, GanderMtn.com, is open for business. The online store carries the same brands as the physical locations, the company said. The Star Tribune‘s Jackie Crosby notes that Gander Mountain sold its direct sales rights to Cabella’s in 1996 to avoid bankruptcy. A judge’s ruling last summer, however, freed the company to start selling via its website and catalogs.

Perhaps running out of wall space
to hang celebrity memorabilia, Planet Hollywood announced that it’s acquiring the Minneapolis-based Italian family restaurant chain Buca di Beppo for $9.7 million. The Star Tribune‘s Steve Alexander writes that Buca has struggled from the weak economy and financial mismanagement by former executives. The deal includes Planet Hollywood picking up the tab for about $19 million in debt, bringing the actual price to $28.5 million.

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