Compaq reveals its retail motives

Compaq has detailed its full distribution strategy in response to mounting industry concern over its retail stores initiative.

The company's plan encompasses retail stores, Internet initiatives, a call centre and new products.

The retail side will see it open eight retail stores in Brisbane and Melbourne, all of which will have individual configuration centres located on the premises. Curiously, Sydney has been left out of the experiment.

Greg Healy, Compaq's general manager, business and consumer, said the stores will consist of small shops, only 100 to 150 square metres.

"This includes a front office and a back office dedicated to configuration-to-order facilities. The stores won't keep a lot of inventory," he said.

Compaq is reinventing its entire supply chain following research over the last 18 months suggesting it must capture ground in new fast-growing markets such as consumers and small business.

"Compaq started in the large business space then jumped to the other end of the spectrum with consumers. Now we need to work on the markets in between," Healy said.

Ben Reeve, manager, segment and channel marketing at Compaq, said the company will challenge the channel through the white box market because "customer satisfaction is just not there at the moment".

"Once the stores are up and running our intention is to give it back to the channel," he said.

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