- Acquisition of Tiny Computers helps expand company into largest high street specialist technology retailer in the UK
TIME Group the parent company of TIME Computers today announces the launch of a new retail brand selling a wide range of PCs, as well as peripherals, consumables and accessories.
The TIME Group aims to become the UK's largest high street specialist technology and PC retailer, with 150 stores called The Computer World. To achieve this goal TIME has acquired the business and certain assets of Tiny Computers from the joint administrators of O.T.Computers Limited, which trades as Tiny Computers. The joint administrators are Andrew Hosking, Martin Ellis and Malcolm Shierson, all of whom are partners at Grant Thornton. It is hoped that the move will increase the TIME Group's turnover to over 300 million.
As part of TIME's recent restructuring process, the move will catapult the Group into the forefront of UK technology retailing. The consolidation of manufacturing, customer support, marketing and finance functions for the two operations at TIME's Burnley Headquarters will lead to cost savings. While ownership of the UK's best known home PC names will ensure The Computer World destination status for PC and technology needs.
The TIME and Tiny retail operations will merge to form the new stores, which will have a fresh look with over 3000 lines of goods to take away. Feature areas will showcase new technology such as digital cameras, Bluetooth goods, broadband Internet and other emerging products. The stores will focus on personal service, providing customers with a better value experience, through effective training of consultants. There will be over 150 stores fully branded by June.
The Computer World will also have TIME and Tiny PC showrooms, where customers can get to grips with PCs before ordering units for delivery. The two PC identities will trade as two independent PC companies, with each having a direct, corporate, retail and web operation.
Tiny customers will initially see little change, with stores, customer services and contacts remaining the same. However, over the next few months they will be notified of the changes to warranty and support contacts as they move to be handled by TotalCare (current support providers for TIME PCs). Any customers who have recently purchased a PC will still have their orders delivered, but will soon be contacted to explain any changes to delivery dates as a result of the takeover.
It is yet to be agreed if there will be job losses; however it is expected that this will be necessary across all areas. A consultation process with staff will work through these issues. Tiny currently outsources its support and manufacturing operation and these will be transferred to the TIME Groups Burnley headquarters as soon as possible. This will result in extra jobs in these areas.
Andrew Hosking of Grant Thornton commented: "Competition in the sector has been savage and consolidation inevitable. Tiny did not adjust its overhead base in response to sales which were down some 40 per cent. In consequence substantial losses were incurred. In current market conditions we are delighted to have achieved a sale of the business as a going concern: this protects the interests of customers, staff and creditors."
Martin Ellis of Grant Thornton added: "Whilst it is regretted that any company has to enter administration, the level of losses at Tiny meant that this was inevitable and the directors felt they needed to seek the protection of the Court."
Brian Lynn, MD of Time Group said: "The recent acquisition of the Tiny business and launch of The Computer World stores establishes Time Group as one of the leading Computer and IT businesses in the UK with three strong identities; Tiny Computers, Time Computers and now The Computer World. We look forward to welcoming Tiny customers and will do everything possible to make the transition as easy as possible for them."
Dr. Tariq Mohammed, Marketing Director for Time Group said: "The marketing and product development for Time and Tiny will remain separate and we hope to retain and grow the PC market share of each company. The Computer World stores allow the Group to gain a significant market share of the associated PC related products market, where it has virtually no presence. The Computer World stores will offer customers better value and a more personal service than our competitors."
The consolidation of these two UK stalwarts, who between them have over 30 years PC industry experience, selling well over 2 million PCs, will ensure that consumers have access to a wide choice of value for money PCs and PC goods and services on the high street.
TIME Group is the leading UK retailer and manufacturer of PCs under the TIME brand and Tiny, and operates a network of stores nationwide. By June 2002 it will have rolled out 150 stores called The Computer World. These stores will replace existing TIME and Tiny showrooms and offer more that 3000 product lines including printers, peripherals, software and accessories from all the major brands. The TIME Group's other divisions include Corporate, a B2B reseller, TIME Education and TotalCare, its support and warranty centre. The company has its head office and manufacturing plant in Burnley, Lancashire.
SOURCE Time Group