From what I've read about their plans, Kobo is definitely not going with an "anywhere but the US" strategy. However, they are the #3 or #4 player in ereader hardware in the US. It's probably hard for them to get the retailers to take them seriously.
The new relationship with the Independent Booksellers Association may help somewhat, as the agreement allows the independents to call the Kobo their own.
As far as selling directly to the States, I doubt they want the hassle of continually dealing with customs.