Retail group Kingfisher is moving further into IT retailing with what it claims is the first chain to offer a full service specifically aimed at small businesses.
Kingfisher, which also owns electronics retailer Comet, has invested #1 million in opening a technology store called IT Works. The initiative, for which BT will provide the communications element, will be piloted for six months in the hi-tech area around Reading.
IT Works opens shortly after established IT retailer Dixons Stores, owner of PC World, blamed its recent #65.8 million interim profits slump on low PC sales.
According to a Kingfisher spokesperson: ?IT Works will be unlike any other retail outlet in the UK because it will offer a fuller service.?
She said the unit will not conflict with Kingfisher?s own Comet chain because IT Works will be specific to businesses with up to 100 employees, with added focus on training and full after-sales service.
IT Works is modelled on similar retail developments in the US. It will be staffed by around 30 employees and will sell technology including networking, simple telephony, videoconferencing, and digital imaging.
It will also feature a lab to assemble PCs to order, and check for Year 2000 compliancy. Around 21 special interactive solution bays will demonstrate computer telephony systems, with full training offered at its training zone. There will also be sections focused on mobile technology and the Internet.
Neil Sansom, IT Works development controller said: ?The market for IT and communincations in the growing small business sector is expected to increase by some 30 per cent over the next five years. Until now no-one has catered adequately for their needs.?
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