Apple announced that Sears, Roebuck, and Co. will begin selling iMac computers later this month in approximately 825 retail locations throughout the U.S. Although Sears sold Apple systems from 1992 through early 1998 with unspectacular results (see "Apple in 1998: Retreat or Focus?" in TidBITS 416 for some analysis of Apple’s past relationships with Sears and retail superstores), Sears’s renewed interest in Macintosh systems probably stems from the iMac’s continuing success among first-time computer buyers looking for easy-to-use systems. According to Sears, roughly half the computers Sears sells go to first-time computer buyers, while Apple says approximately one in three iMacs goes to a first-time computer buyer, so on the surface, the two might be a good match. If nothing else, the announcement indicates rising mainstream confidence in Apple and the Macintosh platforms. Sears also plans to carry selected USB peripherals such as disk drives and printers.