Computer Warehouse, the mail order giant, may float on the stock market this month.
Jonathan Cole, chairman of the Computer Warehouse Group, would not confirm the company’s intentions to float. He told Macworld: "We’ve been looking into options to expand our online brand. Floating the company on AIM is one of those we’ve been looking at. The success of the online business has taken us by surprise."
He continued: "We’re a pretty well-established company, and just want to see how we can make the most of our resources."
Boom businessComputer Warehouse’s online business is expanding at a staggering 18 per cent per month, Cole claimed, but he remains calm about this, saying: "We’ve been there before in the mid-90s. It’s not unusual to enjoy major growth – we’re obviously very happy with the success."
Though the stock market has hardened its attitude toward dot-com businesses in recent months, Cole expressed optimism about a potential share issuing (float), saying: "Unlike most online operations, we’re a profitable one."
Online, Computer Warehouse has branched out, it now sells consumer electronics, PCs, PDAs and plans to sell DVDs in the near future. He described the company’s online presence as "multi-faceted".
The broadcast connection Cole also discussed his company’s new partnership with online broadcaster BwebBtv, the UK-based company Computer Warehouse has retained to produce original streaming-video presentations for it.
Consumers will be able to access a variety of product-related programmes through the Computer Warehouse Web site, which Cole described as "Inspect A Gadget". Cole writes a column by that name for the Sunday Express, and expects the ten episodes so far commissioned to reflect his writings there. He said: "If you click on an iMac, you’ll get a good, detailed description of an iMac, with pictures."
Cole, who co-founded BwebBtv with Red Dwarf’s Robert Llewelyn (Kryten) also predicts "massive breakthroughs" in Web TV. In the future, Computer Warehouse hopes to offer training courses and other useful ‘value-added’ Web-based streaming-video products to CW’s online offerings.