Aldi PC vendor signs retail chains

The PC vendor that put cut-price computers in Australian supermarkets has continued its mainstream push by signing OfficeWorks as a stockist.

Medion, a Euro$2.7 billion (AUD$4 billion) business in its homeland of Germany, first created local interest by selling its discount machines in Aldi stores.

Medion Australia managing director, Gregor Aschoff, said OfficeWorks was its first inroad into the Australian retail channel.

"You will see more and more of us," he said. "This is a totally new way of putting product together."

The vendor has been in the local market for two years via Aldi, he said, but only established its Sydney office last November. The partnership with Aldi is part of a global supplier relationship brokered by the companies' headquarters in Germany.

Like Aldi, OfficeWorks will stock just one Medion model.

"It's all based on the promotion concept," Aschoff said. "We do our market research, and then decide on the product and the pricepoint.

"Normally our [price] range would be $3000, but we discount."

The company specialises in selective sales campaigns for retail using 'best-value', built-to order products, Aschoff said. However, the company was more flexible in its product offering to resellers.

"We do have minimum order numbers, but if smaller retail chains are able to sell those numbers, I'm willing to service them," he said.

Aldi this week dedicated the front page of its advertising brochures distributed across the country to the latest Medion entertainment notebook, priced at $2299. The product includes Medion Home Cinema software, which Aschoff claimed, pre-dated Windows Media Center.

The software utilises TV and radio playback and recording, and has been available for more than a year.

"That's why we threw in the TV tuner [with the PC]," Aschoff said.

Alongside its budget systems, Medion also maintains a range of consumer electronics and peripherals hardware, as well as monitors and flat-screen TVs.

Any steps to introduce these products to Australia though would be determined by customer demand, Aschoff said.

Medion's presence in retail was greater than the casual observer may think, according to Aschoff, as some chains chose to rebrand the computers.

IDC market analyst for PC hardware, Michael Sager, said the Medion-OfficeWorks deal was a good one given current market growth.

"It's not that bad a move as OfficeWorks is strong in the SMB market," he said.

"SMB is proving a very popular market segment. At the moment you've got LG, BenQ and Samsung all trying to hit the retailers first."

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