UK leads record quarter for Dell

The UK is leading the world in terms of growth for Dell, which looks set to pounce on perceived confusion in the PC marketplace to push towards an $80bn target

Strong sales across a range of products -- and increasingly services -- have propelled Dell to its best ever three months, reporting $13.5bn in revenue for its fourth quarter ending 28 January and a higher-than-expected $947m profit.

The figures are up 17.4 percent and 26.4 percent respectively, compared to the corresponding period last year.

In a conference call, Dell CEO Kevin Rollins said the vendor will now raise its goal in terms of annual revenues to $80bn, up from the $60bn it has worked to for the last few years and now looks set to reach around 12 months sooner than expected.

Dell said its overall shipments increased 19 percent during the quarter, thanks to double-digit increases from many of its most prized product categories, including servers and storage systems. Desktops even grew by 16 percent, while printers jumped 111 percent. Its enhanced services revenue, for jobs such as migrating large customers to new email systems, showed growth of 32 percent.

Consumer electronics also grew, with demand for products such as plasma displays outstripping supply, though the company said it is most pleased with its enterprise sales.

With regard to services, Paul Bell, Dell EMEA president, said: "Customers are pulling us into that market."

He said that in imaging, it is now increasingly selling standalone colour products and that it has claimed about "six or seven percent" of the imaging market in the UK, France and Germany.

Geographically, Europe was a strong contributor with sales up 22 percent -- and not just because of the strong euro. He said the UK had "the best year of any country in the world… separate to the underlying strong market". The pound has also strengthened against the dollar over the past 18 months.

The company sees what it calls uncertainties at competitors such as HP and IBM -- looking for a new CEO and spinning out a PC business respectively -- helping it although Dell's Bell said it is concentrating more on making sure it remains a viable long-term business.

Dell will unveil more details about how it intends to reach the $80bn mark at its financial analyst meeting at the start of April.

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