Lancashire-based PC maker and retailer Time is throwing down the gauntlet to Dixons Stores Group, which dominates computer retail with PC World, the Link, Curry’s and its eponymous high street stores.
Time has launched TimeXtra, a mail order operation selling from a website and a printed catalogue, and plans to expand its chain of TimeTalk mobile technology shops from 80 to 150 by mid-2001, and expand its Time Computer outlets from 200 to 500.
For the first time, Time will sell other companies’ products - among the 1,500 product lines on the website are Hewlett-Packard Pavillion desktop PCs, Toshiba notebooks, and even films on DVD and music CDs.
Despite having a checkered record in customer service -a Which? report two years ago concluded that “Time is best avoided” - Time intends to beat Dixons on customer support too.
“A big brand does not necessarily mean a healthy relationship with the customer,” said Time marketing director Mike Phillipson.
The company has invested several million pounds in customer support systems recently, including a call centre employing 1,200 staff, which will open in January.