Dixons Group confirmed to 'Newswire' that it has welcomed an Office of Fair Trading investigation into PC pricing, following allegations by Intel that its margins are too big.
The move follows a letter of concern from Peter Mandelson, UK secretary of state for trade and industry, over a comment made by Intel?s chief executive, Craig Barrett, last week that Dixons? ?ridiculous margins? were stopping people buying PCs.
Mandelson wrote to Sir Stanley Kalms, the group?s chairman, saying he was ?extremely concerned? that high PC prices could prevent the UK from growing its hi-tech economy and ?realising its full potential?.
The Dixons Group has written to both Mandelson and the director general of fair trading, saying that it would welcome ?any enquiry into United Kingdom and relative international prices for PCs?.
?It is vital that UK consumers are reassured that they are getting a fair deal and that they are encouraged to take up the opportunites provided by new technology,? said John Clare, Dixons Group chief executive, in his letter of reply, in which he offered to submit Dixons' own pricing strategy to support an investigation.
Clare added, however, that ?any study should also include an assessment of the role of the microprocessor and other component suppliers, such as Intel, as well as the impact of VAT on the purchase of PCs?.
Average PC prices in the UK are around one-third more expensive than the US and Germany, according to figures compiled by market research company Context.
?It may be true that Intel is losing market share in our stores as fewer of the PCs sold contain Intel chips,? a spokesperson for Dixons explained to 'Newswire'. ?But the market has been growing year on year and Dixons has been leading on dramatic price cuts - we are now selling a PC for #499."
Mandelson is also understood to have written to the Office of Fair Trading and the Consumers' Association, highlighting the complaints about prices at Dixons.
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