Byte Computer Superstores is taking over 42 franchises in Office World stores, plugging a gap left by the demise of German computer giant Escom. According to Byte, the Office World concessions were the most successful parts of Escom's business and some staff who worked with Escom products could be taken on as part of the deal.
Part of the wide-ranging computer group Specialist Computer Holdings (SCH), Byte was formed in 1993 and now has 10 superstores in the UK, ranging from Edinburgh to London. It has announced plans to double by March next year with most new sites in the south-east, including Croydon and Watford.
"The concessions give us presence in many towns and cities such as Exeter that we couldn't consider for the superstores," said Keith Woodford, business development director of Byte. Woodford said he was confident there was still profit to be mined from UK computer retail and added that the Byte division had made an operating profit from the first year of its existence. "It's not a very significant profit compared to the overall group but in coming years we expect it to be."
Despite picking up the Office World franchises, Woodford said Byte wasn't interested in Escom's dedicated stores. "We don't see ourselves as a high street reseller; we prefer to be out of town. We're led to believe that Escom's most profitable sites were out of town."
SCH made a pre-tax profit of £16.1 million on revenues of £318.4 million for its last financial year.