Plaza traders band together during tough times

Computer Plaza trader's group share information on channel issues to improve market intelligence
Plaza traders band together during tough times
By Julian Pletts
Tue 25 Nov 2008 06:29 PM

Traders in the Al Ain centre, also known as Computer Plaza, have reacted with solidarity to turbulence in Dubai’s IT market and problems faced by shop owners on Computer Street by creating an informal group called Computer Plaza Retail Forum.

Managers and owners from Computer Care, Achiever, Carapelli Computers, Advanced Business Computers and Lucky Star Computers have started to meet up once a week to share vital information to ensure that they don’t fall foul of dangers such as channel stuffing and bad debts.

K U Shankri founder of Lucky Star Computers, a trader with two stores in the Computer Plaza, says that the meetings are an act of cohesion in the face of tough times.

“The idea came after one of the guys on Computer Street ran away and because of the financial crisis going on in the world,” she explained. “We discuss between us which products are moving, which products get stuck and therefore which vendors we have to call — every week we call one vendor — to explain our problems and ask for a solution.”

Lucky Star says that the forum has already helped alleviate issues with dead stock from one particular brand despite only starting within the last two weeks. Shankri reveals that the group was able to convince the vendor to offer a “price correction” that helped retailers move the stock.

In addition to presenting a united front to vendors, the group is also sharing information on companies that have bounced cheques in an unofficial blacklist. It is then down to the individual discretion of the five traders in the ensemble as to whether to heed each other’s warnings.

“Our main concern in the market is who are the dicey people to work with, and whose cheques have bounced,” asserted Shankri. “In that case we will share those names. It is the individual’s choice as to whether to then give products to them and whether to take the risk and take that business decision.”

According to Shankri, such collaboration will make it easer for traders to make the tough decisions faced in the current IT trading climate, such as the extent to which they erode their margins by dropping prices and how much credit they offer wholesale business partners.

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