Compu Wholesale defends against Eastern raiders

Compu Wholesale defends against Eastern raiders

A boutique Perth distributor has claimed the recent influx of national players into the WA market has caused it to re-evaluate its approach.

Compu Wholesale executive director, Jennifer Clay, said the introduction of large hardware suppliers to WA - particularly Bluechip Infotech - has forced her company to find new ways of becoming more competitive. The distributor was now looking for opportunities in the home entertainment market and had been in discussions with existing vendor partner, NEC, to add plasma displays to its books.

"This is one of our main focus areas but we are looking to utilise our existing relationships," Clay said.

Compu Wholesale partners with several international hardware vendors including Acer, Canon, Epson and Kyocera.

It was established in Perth by government supplier, JH Computer Services, in 1981. The company now has 25 staff, and an annual turnover of about $12 million.

Despite sustaining most of its business against the larger suppliers, Clay said its Acer sales had taken a significant hit as a result of Bluechip opening a Perth office in February.

"It has been particularly noticeable with Acer," she said. "Bluechip has been very aggressive."

One of the key issues with the influx of national players was the inevitable drop in pricing, Clay said.

"The problem with nationals is always their buying power," she said.

"The worst thing they do is bring the prices down. When they drop margins, we have to drop ours accordingly."

The distributor had already lost a couple of points off its margins over the past 6-12 months, Clay said. But while the big guns concentrated on national expansion, Clay said there was still plenty of room for a niche player to operate.

"Nationals like Ingram, which have a lot of product to sell, don't tend to take much of our business," she said. "We keep a tight ship, which has worked for us. We'll continue to do that but must keep evolving."

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