Bits and Splits -

Computacenter business strengthens during lockdown trading

Channel giant issues a trading statement that will provide cheer not only to investors but also those keen to see the channel shake off the impact of the coronavirus

It is difficult to get a sense of what the financial impact of coronavirus has been on the channel, but while there are some signs of a general economic slowdown, in many cases, technology has been the answer to a lot of current customer problems.

Demand for remote working and collaborative tools surged in March and April, which helped the channel come in with a robust first quarter.

There were signs that although the progress of the second quarter has been more mixed across Europe, partly because of the different lockdown restrictions in various countries, the channel was navigating the crisis.

Computacenter has now added to that sense of optimism with a trading update that covers the four months to the end of April.

The firm had already revealed last month that it had seen a surge in demand for laptops at the start of the crisis and its Q1 trading showed a slight dip in revenues, but profits had remained in line with the previous year.

It has now added some more details of progress so far this year, with the firm able to pick up some fresh business during the pandemic.

“We stated in our trading statement on 23 April 2020 that current trading was more robust than we had anticipated at the start of the crisis,” Computacenter said in the trading statement. “Since that date, business has accelerated further and we have managed to secure some substantial technology sourcing contracts, due to our ability to scale our operations to meet the demand.

“These incremental volumes mean we now believe that the first half of 2020 will be considerably ahead of the same period last year.”

If that experience has been widespread, it should provide the channel with a buffer if the economy dips and things get tougher in the second half.

Computacenter admitted it was unable to give meaningful guidance about the situation going forward because it was so difficult to make predictions with the coronavirus crisis still raging.

The firm has indicated it will provide trading updates to give investors a picture of how things are progressing as the business enters the second half of the year.

Last weekend, prime minister Boris Johnson outlined a timetable that would see some schools return on 1 June and more bars and restaurants open in July and onwards if the rate of infection is under control.

Some sectors, including construction and manufacturing, started to welcome staff back this week as the government encourages a return to work to try to prevent the economy from entering a prolonged recession.

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