AST is turning its back on the retail market to concentrate entirely on the corporate market, after admitting that there was little margin to be made from high street sales.
The vendor confirmed last week that it will not introduce any more retail products during the refresh period that normally takes place around October, as the manufacturer has given itself a deadline to completely pull out of the retail market by the end of the year.
Con Mallon, AST marketing director, said the decision to slowly phase out the retail presence was made to avoid leaving the retail channel ?high and dry?.
?We will continue to support all the kit that?s out there, but we?ve taken the decision not to pursue the retail market. This decision has been taken on a worldwide basis. If we?d pulled the plug straight away we?d have caused some people a lot of problems,? he said.
Harry Thuillier, chairman of AST reseller Fraser Associates, said: ?I think it?s a good thing, it means the staff they?ve got will be free to concentrate on making gains in the corporate arena.?
One reseller said: ?AST needs to concentrate its efforts to repair its situation. The more it focuses, the better it does.?
Rival vendors saw the announcement as evidence of the manufacturer?s continued bad performance. Dave Tanner, Acer marketing manager, said AST had spread itself across too many markets. ?AST has clearly been overstretching itself. Its logistics model has been very stop-start and the retail market needs a more consistent approach to supply. We?ve now started picking up corporate customers from AST who have become nervous about the company?s future.?
AST recently announced that it would cut its worldwide workforce by 25 per cent at a cost of $12 million, prior to the completion of its buyout with Samsung this month (PC Dealer, 23 April).
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