HSC claims 75pc of dealer market

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HSC has served three quarters of UK dealers in 2010 as sales jump 14 per cent

HSC said last week it has increased its dealer base by 35 per cent in 2010. It said B2B sales were up eight per cent and overall sales up 14 per cent.

At its annual Christmas conference last week, HSC said it did business with 747 dealers in 2010, up from 555 last year and around 400 in 2008. It reckons the total UK dealer market to comprise around 1,000 businesses.

HSC said its new B2B contract connections for the year so far were up by 12 per cent to 18,700, compared with 16,700 in 2009. Its total B2B upgrade business also increased, it said, by around four per cent to 16,200, compared with 15,600 in 2009.

Delegate numbers at the event were down due to heavy snowfall, but HSC sales manager Carlos Pestana told around 55 dealers the company had attracted new customers based, in part, on its ability to source hardware from owner Carphone Warehouse, which purchased the southcoast airtime distributor five years ago this month.

Pestana said SIM-free handset sales had grown around five per cent to 104,223 units in 2010, compared with sales of 99,140 in 2009. Sales of clearance stock, largely sourced from returned and refurbished stock from Carphone, was up 54 per cent with sales increasing from 14,033 in 2009 to 21,692 in 2010.

HSC also claimed substantial growth in laptop sales, up by 161 per cent, with units increasing from 1,685 in 2009 to 4,414 in 2010. The company has also sold around 104 Apple iPad tablet devices in the last few months, as well as 701 televisions.

Pestana said: “Last year was a good year because we grew our base 25 per cent.We wanted to grow it by another 20 per cent this year, which would have been an excellent achievement given the economic conditions. But we achieved 35 per cent.

“The independent channel has around 1,000 dealers, so over the course of the year we have served nearly 75 per cent of the market.”

He added: “We have ended 2010 in a very good trading position, which is down to our partners. We have looked to serve them any time of day or night, seven days a week. We have made sure they have had the right collateral and marketing opportunities.

“We have the broadest and deepest customer base among our competitors. We don’t want to deal with just a few customers with big numbers because it would just make us vulnerable. We want a proposition and a service which looks after the local independent dealer who can serve his community.”

HSC business manager Bob Sweetlove said: “We are becoming a good source for Carphone to put its clearance kit. As times have been tough and people have watched their pennies, we have needed to construct competitive deals. Clearance products have allowed our partners to buy very well priced handsets. And we have grown sales in that space by more than 50 per cent.”

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