Microsoft expands Surface RT sales as UK big-box retailers wade in

Microsoft's Surface RT is getting a welcome boost in visibility, in the UK at least, as heavyweight retailers PC World and Currys add the Windows tablet to their line-up. The slate will be sold online and via both retailers' click-and-collect service; however, there's no sign that either store will actually stock the Surface RT on-site unless its been previously ordered through the web.

That's a blow to Microsoft, seeing as it means those would-be tableteers simply browsing the shelves at PC World or Currys are unlikely to actually see the Surface RT and add it to their list of contenders. Both retailers stock the iPad and iPad mini in-store, for instance, giving Apple's tablet an instant boost in impulse-purchase appeal.

Still, given retailers and manufacturers alike were concerned that there would be no interest whatsoever in Surface when Microsoft first announced its intentions to enter the tablet hardware business, even getting PC World and Currys onboard is arguably a success. Microsoft is still yet to announce any official sales figures; the Surface RT showed up in the UK first in John Lewis stores.

Meanwhile, there's no sign of the Surface Pro – which runs the full version of Windows 8 – showing up at the two new stores. Released last month, the Surface Pro comes with a special digital stylus for handwriting recognition, sketching, and more, though is significantly more expensive than its RT-based sibling.

Currys and PC World will be selling the Surface RT from £399.99 for the 32GB tablet-only, while adding in the Touch Cover takes that to £479.99.