PC World is stepping up its channel efforts, with the retailer aiming to build up a £1bn reseller business in the next three years.
The company, part of the Dixons Group, has invested £13m in its business arm, PC World Business Direct (PCWBD), with the opening of a dedicated call centre, warehouse and administration centre in Bury last week.
The facility will work with PC World's 97 in-store business centres across the UK, supplying IT equipment and services to the SME marketplace.
PC World launched its in-store business arm in 1996 with just 100 staff. This new facility has space for up to 1,000.
Sir Stanley Kalms, the Dixons Group chairman who opened the building, said the company is looking for the "biggest market share in the industry".
The company handles its own logistics and works in partnership with vendors such as Microsoft, Acer, Apple, Hewlett Packard and Compaq.
Derek Lloyd, chairman of PCWBD, said the company's total business sales will top £400m this financial year. "Our aim is to achieve sales in excess of £1bn by 2003-2004, and we want to become the number-one reseller in the market," he said. The company is also planning to introduce training centres in its UK stores.
"We believe that with the combination of this business centre and the PC World stores, we can provide everything a business needs, and do it well," Lloyd said.
"There is plenty of room in the marketplace," he said, claiming that the company will not be competing directly with the likes of Computacenter and SCH "just yet".
Steve Beswick, group partner sales manager at Microsoft, said the company had chosen an interesting approach, by aiming to combine channel sales with existing retail outlets.
"Other companies usually do it the other way round, so we will be watching PCWBD's progress with interest," he said.
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