Catalogue operation Argos has dumped PC Science as its hardware supplier amid claims the service provided by the Yorkshire manufacturer was inadequate.
Argos launched its latest range of PCs from Danish supplier Amitech on 26 March, replacing the PC Science models in more than 400 stores.
A source close to both Argos and PC Science claimed there had been problems with distribution and installation.
'Argos wound down the number of PC Science models from four to one because of the amount of problems it experienced. Argos' reputation for PCs has suffered because of this,' he said.
An Argos representative stated: 'As far as we are concerned, we have switched PC suppliers from PC Science to Amitech and that is the end of the story.' She declined to comment on why PC Science had been ejected from the supply deal.
Charles Forsyth, managing director of PC Science, denied there were any problems with installation, and provided a letter from ICL - seen by PC Dealer - claiming that two of its machines had been tested, at the request of Argos, in October 1998. The results found that the two PC Science machines were deemed satisfactory.
Forsyth would not provide an explanation as to why the company had been dropped by Argos.
David Atherton, managing director of Dabs Direct, said: 'Companies in that area of the market face a tough couple of years. The big players have moved into the low-end market and at this rate every newsagent will be selling PCs. It doesn't leave a lot of space for the traditional players.'
The termination of the Argos contract comes weeks after PC Science notched up a lucrative contract with Asda to supply the supermarket chain with hardware for a year in 115 stores (PC Dealer, 3 March).
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