Training dies hard. Left to my own devices in the Staples office store, while my daughter shopped for back-to-school supplies, I began counting facings of accounting software. For non-retailers, facings are the number of copies of each package that you can see. If there are three completely visible copies on a shelf, that’s three facings and that was something I learned in a previous life as a journalist covering computer stores.

There were three facings of Peachtree, which seemed an unusually high proportion of Peachtree to QuickBooks since the latter has around an 85 percent share of the retail market. Well, things like this don’t just happen because retail shelf space is so valuable. The reason is simple. Doug Meyer, president of Best Software’s Small Business Division, which markets Peachtree, says the company sells software on consignment at Staples. Without the technique, there would probably be only one facing of Peachtree.

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