Distributors and resellers are predicting that smaller companies will be forced out of business because the industry has suffered from lower-than-expected sales during the past two months.
According to channel sources, resellers and distributors have not reported high sales for February because corporates appear to have held off making buying decisions as a result of the impending general election.
One distributor admitted that sales during January were very busy and that it was ahead of its expectations. But while sales continued at the same level in the first week of February, they fell off during the month.
?It has been a tough old time for some companies,? said one observer. ?While there is the business, it is not at the levels that everyone expected it to be.
?This time of year is normally when you rely on the big deals coming through.?
Richard Russ, corporate sales manager at Ideal Hardware, said sales during March were not as high as they had been in previous years, but the distributor?s sales were higher than they were in February.
?You still get a rise of business in March. We are pretty much on track but a number of companies have suffered in the past couple of months,? he said.
Paul Cook, sales director at Frontline, said: ?Everyone who is behind the goalposts is trying to find excuses to explain why they are there, but we are not one of them.? He conceded sales were quiet in February, but said Frontline still hit its targets.
Mike Watkins, vice president at Ingram Micro, said: ?As far as I am aware, the main competitors are finding March difficult. Corporations are putting off buying because of the election.?
He added that companies no longer had to spend their budgets by the cut-off point in March.
Watkins pointed out that March was no longer the distributor?s dominant month ? as it was four years ago ? because by expanding into different product areas it was able to spread sales throughout the year.
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