The sale comes after growing speculation that Byte was up for sale and had been linked with Kingfisher and CompUSA (PC Dealer, 18 March). At the time, Steven Rigby, operations director at Byte, said: 'This rumour is old. There is no truth in it whatsoever. It really pisses me off.'
Following the sale last week, Dixons closed down all 16 Byte stores, saying it would only operate from three of the sites - Solihull, Chester and London. The stores will be refitted in PC World style, and the trading name Byte will be dropped. Byte's in-store concession agreement with Office World will be wound down.
Leslie Smith, group director at Dixons, said one of the primary reasons for the purchase was to increase the retailer's headcount by gaining access to 500 trained and qualified staff.
Interviews for potential staff are underway. It is not known what part Rigby - who was not part of the sale - will now play at SCH.
In a statement, Peter Rigby, SCH group chairman and chief executive, admitted the decision to sell its retail operation, which he had set up in 1993, had not been 'without some personal regret'.
It was understood that Byte was not making any profit. Rigby conceded: 'With the exciting and demanding opportunities around, we can no longer afford to be sidetracked in a saturated and difficult market.'
SCH will now concentrate its efforts on its retail and distribution arms, which account for 46 per cent and 38 per cent of its business respectively.
SCH is aiming to double its turnover to #1 billion by the turn of the next century.
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