New Time goes for the direct model

Time UK Factory, which arose this week following the collapse of Time Computers, will sell directly to customers instead of relying on retailers and its own shops

It will be not quite business as usual for the new Time UK Factory, which has been set up from the ashes of the collapsed Time Computer empire, as the new company is adopting the direct sales model.

Instead of selling through high-street retailers and its own shops as Time Computers did, the new company intends to sell directly through its Web site, TimeUK.com. But according to a statement from the company, the operation will still be a manufacturer of products, including PCs and plasma TVs, for retailers and trade customers "in the UK and Europe".

Thousands of consumers were left without their money or their computers and plasma TVs after the collapse of the original Time Computers.

Time UK Factory is not a new company. Dr Tariq Mohammed and Tahir Mohsan, who were the previous owners of Time Computers and its holding company, Granville Technology Group (GTG), have had the name Time UK Factory in their possession for some time. Records at Companies House show that it was re-activated in August, a month after GTG called in the administrators. It's unclear who owns Time UK Factory, but Zia Mohsan, Tahir Mohsan's younger brother, is registered as a company director.

Technically, GTG was simply a customer of what was previously the Time Computers factory, which now will manufacture products for Time UK Factory. "Since last year, our aim has been to have a varied range of retailers and trade customers," said Salim Hasan, director of product development at Time UK Factory.

"Although we knew it would be difficult to find a single trade customer the size of Granville, there are many potential UK and European customers that together would, in time, see similar levels of production at this site again. The launch of the direct sales arm — TimeUK.com — will provide us with an additional route to market, but we do not intend to compete with our trade customers," Hasan added.

"We have employed staff from the local area who have previously worked in consumer electronics assembly and therefore have the relevant skill set. This, combined with the goodwill and support shown by all concerned, including support from the original founders of Time, will help to maintain this factory as one of the largest IT manufacturing sites in Europe."

Bill Slater, sales director for TimeUK.com, said that the new company has already had enquiries from end user customers wanting to buy Time products direct.

"Our aim is to offer high specification and quality products at direct prices. The emphasis will be on offering better value and support than our main competitors, not purely on having the lowest prices," said Slater.

While GTG and Time Computers have been in receivership, the founders of Time Computers have continued their activities unabated. Tahir Mohsan has remained the chairman of Time Group Middle East (TGME) which is based in Dubai and, according to Mohsan, has been kept totally separate from the troubled UK company.

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