Time's Tiny takeover signals high street battle

Analysts foresee a head-to-head battle with PC World as Time tries to become the leading high street technology retailer under The Computer World brand

UK computer retailer Time's takeover of collapsed rival Tiny is likely to lead to a high street battle with Dixons and its PC World chain by this summer.

Tiny was put into receivership earlier this week, and was almost immediately snapped up by Time at what is widely thought to be a bargain price -- although the amount was not disclosed. Time has already announced that it intends to rebrand itself as The Computer World, offering a wide range of high-tech products such as peripherals and emerging technologies.

Analysts believe that Time will soon be going head to head with Dixons and PC World, which already offer a wide range of technology products. "The Computer World stores will offer PCs, portables computers and gadgets and gaming consoles," explained Ranjit Atwal, analyst at Gartner Dataquest. "Dixons and PC World are the only people doing this at the moment, so Time is looking to go into direct competition with them," Atwal added. This could be good news for consumers, as this extra competition could lead to significant price cuts.

The advantage with selling items such as peripherals is that they offer a better profit margin than PCs, where prices have suffered from declining demand. "Both Time and Tiny suffered from the difficult consumer market in 2000 and 2001," explained Atwal.

Time has bought Tiny's stock inventory and its shop leases, but has not taken on its debts. It is planning to have rebranded 150 stores by June. This will make it bigger than PC World, which, according to the latest figures, operates 106 stores in the UK, plus two in the Republic of Ireland.


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