Computers Unlimited (CU) is branching out from its traditional software distribution space and looking to take advantage of the rebounding hardware sector.
After signing distribution deals with Samsung and JVC this month, CU wants to recruit hardware resellers to build its market presence, and is offering favourable prices and joint marketing funds in return.
Through its sister company T1, the company is also looking for resellers for its hosted 'web store'. The managed e-commerce service handles fulfilment, shipping and billing, leaving resellers to focus on driving customers to the site.
The company has traditionally provided Apple Macintosh software to the creative and media industry. However, now 70 per cent of its business comes from Windows customers, and a move into the audiovisual and notebook space is a natural extension to its business, the firm said.
"We will sell through our traditional channel, but we will also need audiovisual and hardware specialists to help gain dominance in this space and support our new operations in France," said Ian Appleby, business group manager of hardware volumes at CU.
But he admitted that low profit margins and hardware sales meant the company would have to work hard to gain resellers and customers.
"There has been a bit of a lull in the PC hardware market over the past few years, but there is an impression we are coming out of it," he said. "Joint marketing funds and catalogues that resellers can brand will help attract more partners, as will competitive hardware prices."
The UK hardware industry is experiencing a resurgence, according to David Pattison, senior analyst at Plimsoll Publishing.
Plimsoll's Portfolio Analysis of the UK's top 1,000 computing hardware companies showed that 241 firms have seen sales increase by more than 15 per cent this year, with 227 doubling profits.
"After the past few years of uncertainty, the computer hardware industry in the UK is experiencing a positive upswing," claimed Pattison.
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