Toshiba reaps notebook harvest

Toshiba reaps notebook harvest

The retail channel is proving to be fertile ground for Toshiba, with the notebook vendor reporting retail sales up 144 per cent year on year.

The company has been ramping up its retail strategy over the last 12 months, appointing Robert Wilkinson national retail sales manager to build and develop the company in the retail market, according to Phil Cameron, Toshiba's national sales manager. "Over the last 18 months, our retail sales have grown from 5 per cent of our business to 18 per cent across Australia and New Zealand," he said.

The record sales have been made through a select group of retailers including Harvey Norman, Myer Grace Bros, Officeworks, Dick Smith Electronics and David Jones.

Toshiba has managed to capitalise on the hole left by Compaq when Harvey Norman terminated its relationship with the vendor in August last year in protest to its direct retail stores. Describing the discontinuation as "perfect timing", Cameron said Harvey Norman led its retail list in terms of notebook sales.

"The success of the strategy is partly based on the popularity of our retail-only products which are separate to the general channel. Toshiba only offers its retail products to a select group of dealers.

"It allows retailers to focus on the product and it is designed specifically for the retail market so it includes a suite of features aimed at consumers such as Internet access buttons, the design and colour of the chassis and the product range and combination LAN and modem functionality."

Toshiba supplies retailers with four specialist Satellite models and a 15-inch notebook. It will continue building and analysing to further its retail channels while continuing to protect its exiting retailers, according to Cameron.

The vendor has been dealing with online retailers on a "case-by-case" basis and was still in the process of evaluating the e-tail marketplace, he said.

"We have been giving e-tailers consideration, but as yet have signed no contracts," he said, explaining Toshiba has been supplying the online channel with its general purpose satellite products, not the exclusive retail range.

"It gives retailers more of a choice, which they can then pass on to their customers."

But the increase also lies in the booming SME market. The growth in small and medium business sales has boosted figures, as well as the increase in mobile teleworkers.

"We've seen small and medium businesses buying notebooks rather than a desktop PC especially with the 14 and 15 inch screens, which was previously a limiting factor," Cameron said.

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