Compaq Dixons deal sparks row

A row has erupted between UK computer retailers and Compaq, the world’s biggest PC maker, over a proposed deal to sell Compaq computers exclusively through the Dixons Stores Group (DSG).

Kingfisher, which owns Comet, the second largest electrical retailer, is threatening to use its buying power in Europe to force Compaq to back down on UK plans to sell computers only in DSG-owned chains Dixons, Currys and PC World from the end of January.

Compaq announced in July it was to review its distribution arrangements country by country following a fall in sales in sharp contrast with make-to-order competitor Dell.

Rival computer seller Tempo has consulted lawyers over the legality of the deal, which it claims would breach competition laws because of Currys and Dixons share of UK PC sales.

The John Lewis Partnership has raised the issue with the Office of Fair Trading and is awaiting a reply. Compaq has consulted its own lawyers and is convinced the deal will go through.

Tempo deputy chairman Michael Kraftman says: “Our lawyers have said the deal would breach three separate competition acts. There’s no question that if there was a deal it would restrict competition.”

A Dixons spokeswoman says: “There was a deal organised weeks agoä it hasn’t yet been confirmed.”

Compaq refused to comment.

The row comes after the Office of Fair Trading ruled this week the UK market for personal computers is competitive following a ten-month investigation. John Bridgeman, director-general of fair trading, says no single manufacturer or retailer has market power and he will not refer the market to the Competition Commission.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here