Gateway to simplify product line, lower costs

"By simplifying the choices, it frees up a tremendous amount of resources," said Ted Waitt, Gateway chairman and chief executive officer, in a meeting with financial analysts broadcast over the Web. He said Gateway can't offer infinite choices customers and be competitive.

Gateway's intent is to reduce the 23 million different configurations of computers it sells to a few hundred, executives told analysts.

Gateway cut 10 per cent of its workforce last month, after lowering its financial forecasts for 2001. The company missed its fourth fiscal quarter financial expectations, blaming a highly competitive pricing environment. Waitt, returning from semi-retirement to head the company he founded, echoed earlier statements he made examining the role of the Gateway Country brick-and-mortar stores in the grand scheme of Gateway's telephone marketing model.

Other executives also said the company hasn't done a good job of promoting its Country Stores.

"If we can get those stores performing at the level that they were when there were just 30 stores, there's a tremendous growth opportunity." said Bart Brown, Gateway's senior vice president of the company's consumer division.

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