Time takes a wholesale route to European growth

Computer World-owner Time Group is to invest more than£1 million in expanding its supply business in Europe, but has no plans to open stores.

Time, which has 140 UK stores, pulled out of the Netherlands three years ago, but last year revealed plans to re-establish its links to the Continent through wholesale.

Time has appointed a number of staff formerly employed by French supplier Continental Edison and last week signed a lease for an office in Toulon.

The French business will operate under the name Time Computers France.

It will seek to replicate Time's UK wholesale business, which sells through Tesco and Co-op supermarkets and electricals retailer PowerHouse.

However, head of business development Michael Flanagan said: 'There is no chance that we will open stores (in France).

'When we closed our operations in Holland, it was very clear we didn't have the local knowledge and there is no chance of us opening direct retail (in Europe).'

The French office will house a team of 17 and Flanagan said it will act as a base for developing wholesale operations in other countries.

Flanagan said the team will exploit relationships with retailers such as Carrefour and Casino to leverage the development of sales in other countries.

Last year, Time acquired rival Tiny, and has continued to develop a wholesale business alongside its retail operation.