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Users call time on PC renewal

Time Computers denies reports this week that it is in refinancing talks with its backer HSBC

Time Computers, the UK-based PC retailer, denied reports this week that it is in refinancing talks with its backer HSBC, after a rapid expansion programme coincided with falling sales. The move came as Time began a £3m lawsuit against IBM over an allegedly faulty chip.

Time’s problems emerged amid poor PC sales figures on both sides of the Atlantic. According to analyst IDC, just over one million desktop PCs were sold in the UK in the third quarter. That represents a 16% increase on the previous quarter, but may not be enough to meet unit sales and revenue targets of vendors selling into the UK.

Poor desktop sales in the US prompted Gateway to issue a profits warning last week. Hewlett-Packard reported PC sales growth lower than predicted. Dell lowered its targets earlier in November, blaming poor revenues from European sales.

IDC analyst Karine Paoli said: “Corporate and medium-sized businesses have clearly marked a pause in their hardware renewal cycles throughout 2000.”

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