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Inkjet cartridge price war looms

The Computer Shop slashes prices, competitors expected to follow suit

The Computer Shop has this week slashed the prices of all its inkjet cartridges – a move that likely to launch a price war among retailers.

In an effort to "pull the rug" from under what it considers an unreasonably inflated section of the PC consumables market, the chain has lowered prices by an average of 40 percent, cutting deep into its margins, and expects to see its competitors do the same.

"We think that consumers are having the wool pulled over their eyes; they are held to ransom on printer ink prices by retailers charging sky-high prices," commented The Computer Shop director of marketing Brian Trevaskiss.

"I believe that retailers can do a lot more to deliver better value printer ink, which is currently more expensive than rocket fuel, and at The Computer Shop we have slashed prices to prove it."

The Computer Shop said that the average retailer’s mark-up on ink cartridges is currently around 55 percent. Its own mark-up before this week’s cuts was around 45 percent.

Despite this already competitive stance, the chain has not been a major player in the inkjet cartridge market, according to Lee Scanlon of market analysts GfK. That could change if it can attract enough attention to its price cuts

“Consumers see the horror stories about ink cartridge prices,” says Scanlon, “and when they see the slashes in margin they’ll vote with their feet.”

“If the Computer Shop can shout loud enough about its new prices, a price war is definitely going to kick off,” he added

A spokesperson for PC World would not say for certain whether it was going to take on The Computer Shop in a price war, but did comment that, “PC World conducts regular price checks and will match the lowest prices in the marketplace. We will observe what The Computer Shop is doing and welcome the competition.”

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