Compaq tops October retail sales

Giant PC maker nabs the No. 1 spot for the second consecutive month with a 41.3 percent share

Compaq has taken back the lead in retail PC sales, according to October market share numbers released Wednesday by PC Data Inc.

Compaq gained more than 6 percentage points, accounting for 41.3 percent of all PCs sold through stores in the US and Canada. It also marked the second consecutive month that Compaq bested Hewlett-Packard , which weighed in with a 19.2 percent share.

HP held the No. 1 spot in August. Its slide was largely caused by company's inability to deliver adequate supplies because of a switch in its manufacturing lines, according to Stephen Baker, director of analysis at PC Data. He said HP has encountered similar problems in the past. "They tend to run out of product when that happens," Baker said.

PC Data does not track the sales of PC makers, such as Dell and Gateway, which sell directly to buyers via the telephone, catalogues or the Internet.

eMachines also continued to enjoy gains at retail. The Irvine, California, maker of inexpensive PCs increased its October share to 12.4 percent from just over 10 percent the previous month.

Apple also saw growth. It share jumped by 3 percentage points to 9.2 percent share in October. PC Data attributed the jump to the advent of the company's new iMac models. IBM finished fifth in October, sliding to 7.6 percent in October from 13 in September.

PC Data also reports that the Athlon processor made by AMD accounted for 5.5 percent of retail PC sales in October, an improvement from 1.3 percent the previous month. Athlon "didn't bust into the market the way the Pentium III did, but that's a respectable share," Baker said.

Market research firm, NPD Intellect LLC reports that average North American retail prices declined about 23 percent to an average of $828 (£513) in September. Its October market share numbers are expected next week.

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