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Shopper sales soar

Gitex Computer Shopper witnessed a sales bonanza this year as more than 100,000 eager punters flocked through the doors to check out the offers and snap up bargains at the seven day IT retail extravaganza

Gitex Computer Shopper in Dubai witnessed a sales bonanza this year as more than 100,000 eager punters flocked through the doors to check out the offers and snap up bargains at the seven day IT retail extravaganza.

Visitor numbers rocketed 35% to 108,000 year-on-year at the event and major retailers and resellers including Jacky’s, Jumbo, Plug-Ins, CompuMe and Emirates Computers were all on hand to woo the crowds with special offers.

“In two days we finished the whole stock — US$9.5 million of Dell between PCs and notebooks, and about US$4.5m of Nokia equipment,” said Hani Harik, president of Emirates Computers.

Other retailers were not so willing to divulge actual sales figures, preferring instead to talk percentages. Jacky’s claimed that Shopper sales climbed 120% year-on-year; with CompuMe reporting 40% and Plug-Ins citing a 71% jump on last year’s figure.

“We did a brisk business in several product segments, including laptops, printers, digital cameras and phones,” said Scott McKay, general manager at Plug-Ins. “The brands that really stood out for us included Toshiba, Dell, Acer, HP and LG. i-mate was on fire with all their new products, especially the PDA2k, which may have been the best product launch ever.”

Despite being acclaimed as a roaring success, some retailers reckon Shopper could have been even better. “It was amazing to see such a large increase in visitors despite the problems with parking and traffic jams near the Airport Expo approach,” noted Ashish Panjabi, chief operating officer at Jacky’s Electronics. “We know there may have been potential customers who were turned away due to problems with accessing the Airport Expo and getting parking.”

Once visitors got past the parking problems, they found the vast majority of resellers and retailers pushing the very latest in IT kit. A few resellers were still to be found shifting old stock proving that old channel habits die hard.

“A few resellers were doing this, mainly because they didn’t get allocated some of the new fast moving models [by distributors],” said Panjabi. “But Shopper is now about launching new products and not clearing out old stocks.”

The channel is already looking forward to next year’s Shopper. “There is no comparison between this year and the last,” concluded Harik. “Shopper 2004 eclipsed Shopper 2003 in every respect and I think Shopper 2005 holds even bigger promise.”

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