UPDATE: Compustore, the Irish PC retail chain, has ceased trading and gone into voluntary liquidation, siliconrepublic.com has learned. Four stores in Dublin and Galway have closed, although other outlets around the country were operated on a franchise basis, separate from the main company, and have not been directly affected.
Staff arriving at several outlets around the country for work on Saturday morning found themselves locked out and the premises closed. According to reports, between 60 and 70 jobs will be lost as a result of the closure.
The original company was founded in 1992. During the Nineties Compustore established itself as one of the country’s foremost IT retailers, serving the home and business user market. It carried products from many of the leading technology manufacturers including Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Fujitsu Siemens, Toshiba, Epson, Microsoft and Packard Bell.
According to Compustore’s website, the company had a network of 13 branches nationwide located in most major urban centres including Galway, Kilkenny, Tralee, Dundalk, Wexford, Carlow and Letterkenny, as well as multiple outlets in Dublin and Cork. It is understood that some of these outlets were independently owned and merely operated under the Compustore brand. These continue to trade.
Senior trade sources confirmed the closure, which they said was not unexpected as the company had been experiencing trading difficulties for some time. Compustore had disclosed its financial situation with many of its suppliers and had been working to alleviate the problem prior to liquidation.
Toshiba country development manager Oliver Carey said that the news was “very regrettable”. “They’ve been a long-term feature of the retail market in Ireland – an area that had potential growth,” he said.
Although UK-owned rival PC World is now also firmly established in the Irish market, another trade source downplayed speculation that increased competition was the reason behind Compustore’s closure. “They appeared to give as good as they got and took on the UK multiples. Compustore would have been very aggressive on their price positioning versus the competition.”
A more likely reason is a more tightly controlled trading environment within the Irish IT trade, the source suggested. Distributors have increasingly been insuring the lines of credit they give to their retail customers. As part of this process, retailers must present accurate, up-to-date trading information in order to satisfy the terms and conditions of credit contracts. It is understood that in recent months some distributors could no longer extend credit to Compustore and traded in cash only, which would have affected the retailer’s ability to hold a lot of products in stock.
By Gordon Smith