Prion puts HP into big retail stores

Prion has sealed a deal with retailers Harris Technology and Radio Rentals that will see them selling the HP Pavilion range as of July 1.

The deal, part of an aggressive strategy by Prion to further the HP Pavilion brand expansion through big retailers, is expected to generate sales in the vicinity of $20 million over the next financial year, according to Prion's consumer sales manager, Rick Phelps.

Phelps said two further significant retail alliances are planned to start around September, and while he was reluctant to name the companies specifically, he said they are along the same line as Harris and Radio Rentals.

"We're looking for retailers who can actually add value rather than just saturate the marketplace like Compaq and IBM has done," Phelps said.

Prion was selected as the sole distributor of HP Pavilion products in December last year after HP decided it would be more cost-effective to utilise a third party for distribuion.

"HP is recognising the attributes of channel partners," says Phelps, adding that Prion's retailers "fit nicely with their products". According to March sales figures released by analyst Inform, HP has leapfrogged IBM to the number one spot in mass merchant retail stores.

Harris will market the Pavilion range through its kiosk strategy, which will see it setting up mini sales points in major stores such as Myers/Grace Bros and Kmart. Phelps says Prion hopes to pick up some of Harris's other HP and Toshiba business. The deal with Radio Rentals, however, is unlikely to go national due to the retailer's independent structure.

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