Online traders aim at drawing clients of traditional retailers

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Predictions on the online market are still difficult to make despite the passing of nearly half of this year, according to the players on the relevant market, while the projections range from a 30-percent drop to double figures against 2008 amid the speculation of the new opportunities generated by the bankruptcies reported on the traditional retail market, reads the daily Financiarul (www.financiarul.com).
Tiberiu Pop, CEO Corsar Group administering the online shop Cel.ro, says the market is rather difficult to assess, but, given the evolution recorded so far, a growth of 10-20 percent against last year is to be expected, thus reaching some 70-80 million euros for online IT&C.
‘We hope to find a strategy that should allow us to draw the clients of the offline sector, disappointed by the problems they had with the traditional retailers like K Tech, Depozitul de Calculatoare. It is very hard to believe the IT&C offline retail will recover in the near future, quite the contrary. If we manage to fill this gap caused by the dissolution of K Tech and of other similar companies, the online market might even double in 2009’, Tiberiu Pop explained.
Marius Visan, PC Garage development manager, predicts the online retail market will fall by 30 percent this year compared to 2008, when it reached nearly 230 million euros.
K Tech Electronics, retailer and distributor of IT&C products, brown goods and white goods, had its warehouse and head office foreclosed, was taken to court by the banks and suppliers for the recovery of a debt worth 17 million dollars and all the retailer’s shops have been closed.
Moreover, several players on the IT retail market have cut back the number of stores, by maintaining only the profitable units. For instance, CNDPI Romsoft, operator of the Depozitul de Calculatoare network, has 36 stores less than last summer and Flamingo closed nearly 30-40 stores a year over the past three years.
According to Marius Ghenea, FitDistribution president, the online retail market posted a 10- percent rise in the first quarter this year compared to the same period of 2008.
Tiberiu Pop pointed out February and March reported a ‘surprisingly good evolution’, with an advance of some 30 percent against the same period last year, while April saw the first decline compared to 2008. He believes the growth recorded in this period was due to the clearance of the stocks from the suppliers, caused by the urgent need of cash, thus resulting in significant discounts.
‘The second quarter is probably the most difficult (in fact, the next period of time is always more difficult), as new major effects of the consumption crisis are beginning to be felt in this period’, said Marius Ghenea, owner of Fit Distribution, operator of Pcfun.ro, ShopIT.ro, Electrofun.ro, 24PC.ro.
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