Lenovo delays launch into UK retail arena


Lenovo delays launch into UK retail arena

Microscope contributor

Lenovo has promised that its consumer PCs will be on the shelves of UK retailers before the year is out following claims from partners that the boxes were originally due for launch in April.

The IdeaPad notebook and IdeaCentre desktop SKUs were unveiled in retail stores in France and South Africa recently but dates for a roll-out across the rest of EMEA are not yet set in stone, the vendor said.

"Our plans for the countries we launch in across EMEA have always been fluid," said Gareth Hansford, EMEA vice president of consumer at Lenovo.

"We certainly expect to launch in the UK this year but timing will come down to having a satisfactory business case," he said, adding other parts of the region offered higher growth rates and lower costs to entry.

This is a move away from comments made by Lenovo last financial year, in which it claimed the UK would be one of the earlier markets in Western Europe to receive its long-awaited retail PCs.

Hansford said in France it already had existing trading relationships with large consumer stores and an experienced sales leader "so it was easier to get there". The situation in South Africa was the same, he added.

Channel sources expected a UK launch in the third quarter but Hansford said it had yet to appoint partners or finalise business plans around pricing, volumes or timing -- important factors with shipments coming from China.

Nevertheless, some are chomping at the bit in anticipation of a launch and Andy Field, commercial director at e-tailer Easy Computers, said despite sliding launch dates, "We'd welcome anything that helps to drive sales".

The UK retail notebook boom has showed early signs of slowing, with DSGi revealing sales were weaker than expected over Christmas.

But Gartner forecast 15 per cent growth in consumer PC sales this year, from 17 per cent in 2007.
Dell's recent appointment of Tesco and DSGi could have taken the wind out of Lenovo's sails.

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