CDW Computer Centers, Inc. (Nasdaq: CDWC) today announced record sales and earnings for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 1998. The company reported that its unassisted web sales grew to just over $20 million, an increase of 208% over the fourth quarter of 1997, and 28% over the third quarter of 1998. CDW is increasingly a competitor of Dell, with both companies offering built-to-order PCs for consumers and corporate users.
CDW reports that it receives more than 58,000 unique visitors to its e-commerce site per month. Its online store features automated pricing and availability alerts, online shopping lists, sophisticated search capabilities, as well as product promotions and product giveaways. The site offers nearly 40,000 computer-related products for sale online.
Not surprisingly, Greg Zeman, CDW’s president describes his company’s online store as an “important business growth driver.”
Just as important, the announcement also confirmed the critical role that e-commerce sites play in enhancing off-line and catalog sales. According to Greg Zeman, CDW’s president, “www.cdw.com also serves as an information and productivity tool for our customers, enabling sales that are placed through our sales account managers and securing longstanding relationships.”
More CDW Results
Net sales for 1998 increased 36% to $1.733 billion, compared to $1.277 billion in 1997. Net income increased 29% to $65.8 million, compared to $51.0 million in 1997. Unit sales of desktop computers increased approximately 62%. The other fastest growing product categories, based on the percentage increase in dollar sales over the fourth quarter of 1997, were software, printers and video products. Net sales of notebook computers (CDW’s largest product category, with 20% of net sales) increased approximately 17% since the fourth quarter of 1997. CDW, a Fortune 1000 company, is self-described as the #1 authorized direct source of Compaq, Computer Associates, IBM, Microsoft, Toshiba and other top PC name brands. The company offers next day shipping, and lifetime phone and online technical support for its products.
The company is based in Vernon Hills, Illinois, with approximately 1,400 employees. It was started as a one-man, home-based business incorporated in 1984. The e-commerce site was launched in April 1995, and online ordering began in April 1996.