TouchPad fire sale cost over $300 per unit

Everyone loves a bargain, as evidenced by this week's $98 HP Touchpad fire sale. That is unless you're the retailer wearing losses of hundreds of dollars per unit like Harvey Norman did.

Everyone loves a bargain, as evidenced by this week's $98 HP TouchPad fire sale. That is unless you're the retailer wearing losses of hundreds of dollars per unit like Harvey Norman did.

ZDNet Australia has learned this week that Harvey Norman paid between $400 and $500 for approximately 6000 of the now discontinued, webOS-powered HP TouchPads.

Harvey Norman pulled the TouchPad from shelves after HP canned them last week, amidst fears of selling a device that the manufacturer couldn't support. The retailer offered refunds to customers who had already purchased the devices and sold approximately 1200 units in the four days the device had been on sale at full price. Then the retailer opted for a fire sale last Monday, discounting the devices to $98 and $148 for the 16GB and 32GB models respectively.

Following the announcement of Monday's fire sale, Harvey Norman sold out of its 5000 remaining TouchPads in just over an hour.

That decision appears to have cost the company at least $302 per unit after the retailer's general manager of computers, Ben McIntosh, told ZDNet Australia this week that the ballpark cost price for Harvey Norman was $400 to $500.

McIntosh added, however, that HP Australia had initiated talks with the retail giant to reimburse the losses it has incurred from liquidating the discontinued tablet.

"Initially, we have taken a loss, yes. Do we expect that to continue? No. HP Australia have been very proactive with us. They've been very supportive so far," McIntosh told ZDNet Australia.

Retailers in the US, such as Best Buy, also sold the TouchPad cheaply, letting them go for US$99 and US$149.

The executive added that he strongly doubts HP would leave other retailers like Best Buy to wear their own costs from the fire sale.