Time closes stores but keeps running

Time closes stores but keeps running

Summary: Time Computers closes 78 retail outlets 'for now' because of issues with its bankers, but its mail order business continues

TOPICS: Hardware

Amid fierce speculation about the future of the company, Time Computers closed all of its 78 Computer Shop stores on Monday.

As staff talked of closed production lines and unfilled orders, and complained of being kept in the dark over company plans, managers tried to put a brave face on the situation, insisting that the store closures were only a temporary measure.

"We intend to carry on in business," said Richard Harris, the head of human resources of Time Computers' parent company company, Granville Technology Group. "We have had to close the stores because of issues with the bank".

Last Friday the company confirmed that HSBC has withdrawn credit handling facilities after the company defaulted on a loan. This has forced the closure of the stores, as they can't process credit card payments.

Harris maintained that Granville was working with the bank to sort out the problem. These issues have meant that staff have been paid late two months running.

Harris said that the main parts of mail-order business were "operating normally" but that some production lines had been closed down on a temporary basis. He insisted that there had been no mass layoffs and that during this period staff were being asked to take paid holiday.

"The business is going to carry on, the business has a future," vowed Harris. "I am trying to be as upbeat as possible."

But yesterday’s ZDNet UK story about problems at Time prompted staff to take issue with Harris and the company. Many complained about not being informed of events but Harris said that all staff were being informed of the situation.

Part of the problem, according to staff, is a shortage of components as suppliers have become reluctant to supply the company. However, manufacturing is carried out for Granville Technology by VMT which, according to Harris, is "a completely separate company".

A union source said that he has been "concerned" about the complex network of companies and brands that compose Granville, VMT, Time, Tiny and The Computer Store.

Topic: Hardware


Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • This seems like a positive outcome to the days meetings - but Retail staff are still in the dark, regardless of 'paid holiday'.

    Just to really vent my own opinions on this - Why, as an employee of Granville Technology, am I finding out more information through a website, before I am from the company?. Why are the company apparently talking to news sources first, rather than biting the bullet and talking to it's employees first?. That makes it harder and harder for me to believe the text posted on these pages.

    I guess I, like everyone else, will just have to wait for the real truth to be out.
  • no one can talk to the moshan mafia as they bailed weeks ago......
    rats running from a sinking ship perhaps?
  • I wonder how customers will feel, losing out on there purchase, I hope they did not pay cash. And what if they had sent an item for repair, we have 2 laptops in our store.

    I have been forced to goto the press for answers.
  • for those interested, the Independant Time Employees forum still exists and is at http://pub2.bravenet.com/forum/123673187
    Could be a good place to keep in touch when the plug finally is pulled - which cant be far away
  • I paid
  • I am not shocked at what is happening this was going to happen anyway. The company is being run by Mickey Mouse, the refund policy is crazy ! it takes 28 days to refund any customer !, the amount of complaints I have seen over time and the amount of solid hard pressure given to all store staff from above is crazy, I now understand why there was such a strong push for PC sales, so more money can be made, I have seen people being sacked/disciplined because the failed to sell more than 3 PC's per week. I think the time has now come, the company will sink, a lot quicker than the titanic, but will not be remembered for anything apart from its crazy and mind boggling procedures. I really feel sorry for the customers who have paid money upfront for goods they may never see again !.
  • All i want from the company are my wages after that they can go to hell.I have been lied to and have financial commitments like everybody else. If they go into admin will I get paid?
  • What an idiot, to hope someone loses their job due to a company policy is 'brainless', all staff working for time computers are bound by the rules and restrications put on them by the MD's. I feel very sorry for the staff who worked for Time who are like you and me normal people with mortgages and children. So your PC does not work, why not take your fat finger out of your poket and spend some money getting it fixed rather than enjoying other peoples missery.
  • good ridance to crap pc maker
  • I have a laptop that has been back for repair 14 times, Time refused to refund me, it was going to be picked up today by amtrac for more repair work, looks like I will have to get it done by another company. I must say the some of the people who work(ed) for Time deserve to get shafted, thats what has happened to me 14 times.
  • i' ve not had or my brothers not had, any problems with our computers one a laptop over a year old and the other a tower 2 yrs old, we recommend tiny. the only im concerned about is my long term warrenty who honors that any answers...david.
  • In reply to " Guy on the Street", -
    I also hope that some staff never work again. Customer Services and Sales staff shouldn't ever be allowed to work in retail ever again. By staying in their job with the full knowledge that they are trying to con people into buying shoddy goods and / or changing the order and sending a different system out, they have a responsibility to those customers. They could have left the job at any time. However, they continued to work for that company, out of choice. I hope the sales staff don't get paid. Customer services are worse, they know a customer's problems and promise to deal with them, with no intent to do so. A fob off is a fob off! Therefore, I also hope that customer Service staff don't receive a penny. I just hope that the next company that I deal with, is better and that I don't have to spend hours uninstalling a 56Kb modem that I did not want and made this clear at the point of sale, reconfiguring the PC and cleaning up the 131 virus', trojans, Adware etc. from my heavily infected new PC. I hope nobody at Granville gets paid, never works again and that the Directors go bankrupt, with the loss of their homes , cars etc.
  • Does anyone think that the orders will be completed after the administrators have done the reckoning? Surely there is warehouses full of stock waiting to be delivered? Perhaps I am being too hopeful, but I have lost
  • I have been fixing Time computers for months now. They very poor standard pc's and they are charging a fortune to customers. The poor public who are not IT compliant are being ripped off.

    Should any TIME pc customers require any support or advise, please drop a email and I will endevour to assist where possible.

    My company Compu Friend LTD covers the following areas: Leeds,York,Selby.