"We'll have happy Xmas" say direct vendors

Dell and Gateway 2000 have dismissed claims that Christmas PC sales are in a slump and are blaming retail for any suggested downturn in festive fortunes in the PC market."We had a very aggressive growth plan of 60 to 70 per cent for consumer PC sales over Christmas and we're right on the button," said Andrew McNeil, Dell's consumer PC product marketing manager.

Dell and Gateway 2000 have dismissed claims that Christmas PC sales are in a slump and are blaming retail for any suggested downturn in festive fortunes in the PC market.

"We had a very aggressive growth plan of 60 to 70 per cent for consumer PC sales over Christmas and we're right on the button," said Andrew McNeil, Dell's consumer PC product marketing manager. "Maybe people are not buying from retail. Retailers tend to go down the technology curve to achieve a lower price point and I think consumers are aware of this and getting more savvy."

McNeil's views were echoed by Aideen McCracken, Gateway 2000's group product marketing manager for Europe. "We set high targets and have already exceeded them," she said. "We're actually dropping calls we are so busy. We're also selling a high mix of products with 50 per cent of sales currently going to PII-based PCs, and that's exceeding Intel's own expectations."

McCracken added that she too felt that it was the retail market that is suffering, not the direct market.

Richard Austin, managing director of Evesham Micros also expressed surprise that the festive market was looking a little nasty. "I have to say that we have been and still are incredibly busy with both the Xmas market and sales to the SME market. This had led me to believe that the whole market was pretty buoyant. I am obviously pleased that we appear to be bucking the trend."