FDC lands Carrefour

FDC International has strengthened the UAE retail distribution channel for its cutting-edge small form factor Shuttle-based FD XPCs after it finalised a deal with hypermarket chain Carrefour to stock the products.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  February 19, 2005

FDC International has strengthened the UAE retail distribution channel for its cutting-edge small form factor (SFF) Shuttle-based FD XPCs after it finalised a deal with hypermarket chain Carrefour to stock the products. FDC has an exclusive distribution agreement in place with Shuttle and operates a final configuration assembly model, integrating key components into barebone systems at facilities in Jebel Ali and in Dubai itself. Sales of FD XPCs rose rapidly in 2004, with close to 24,000 shipped into the regional channel during the year. With power retailers such as CompuMe and Plug-Ins already on board and sales through Carrefour starting strongly, Jamil Barakzai, product manager at FDC, is confident that 2005 will deliver more of the same. “We sold approximately 30,000 units in 2004 and by the year end were selling 3,000 units per month,” said Barakzai. “FD XPCs are now available in Carrefour’s outlets across the UAE and also in Muscat. Initial sales have been encouraging and the presence of FD XPCs has really helped drive desktop sales.” Barakzai estimates that in the first half of 2005, FD XPC sales will total 5,000 per month with that figure expected to climb to 7,000 in the second half of the year. The company is supporting its retail partners with in-store merchandising assistance and a strong margin proposition. “Given the model that we operate with Shuttle, we are able to control prices and ensure that any drop is well-coordinated with the channel,” explained Barakzai. “Channel partners can expect a minimum margin of 10% on FD XPCs and this is important in a market where the margin on an entry level laptop could be as low as Dhs50.” Carrefour’s decision to stock FD XPCs has also made FDC, which operates as both an assembler and a distributor, an authorised supplier to the retail powerhouse allowing it to supply other products as well. FDC also hopes to supply external hard drives from vendors such as Western Digital and Maxtor to Carrefour as well as products from XFX, Apacer and NEC. FDC has no intention of resting on its laurels as it attempts to expand the scope and scale of the FD XPC retail channel in the UAE. The company also hopes to strike deals with other players such as Jumbo, Jackys, Virgin and Dubai Duty Free. Unlike traditional desktop PCs, the innovative SFF design means that buying an FD XPC and carrying it onto a plane as hand luggage is possible. As volumes grow for the FD XPC, Barakzai is confident that the company can continue to build on its close relationship with Intel and continue to use the Intel Inside marketing programmes to develop brand awareness in the market. The SFF is certainly a rising star in the global PC market. In 2004, total global sales of SFF units hit 1.2 million with that figure expected to soar to 30 million units by 2008 according to research houses.

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