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HOME REGIONS Middle East › SanDisk ramps up Middle East retail presence

SanDisk ramps up Middle East retail presence

by Stuart Wilson, Friday 3 April 2009

SanDisk boosted its retail reach across the Middle East and Africa in 2008, increasing the number of stores its flash memory products could be found in by 25% to just under 8,600. Overall unit sales were up 44% year-on-year in 2008 and the vendor is keen to continue its growth this year. SanDisk will once again participate at Digital Consumer Channel (DCC) MEA to reach out to new and existing retail partners from across the region.

Tareq Husseini, Middle East and Africa sales director at SanDisk, said: “In the UAE in particular we grew by 60% and in Saudi Arabia by 50%, showing the strength of the brand in the GCC region. This is the one-year anniversary of our DAFZA office with dedicated sales and marketing support to the channel. In 2009, SanDisk will expand its distributor network to support specific category channels: mobile, photo and IT.”

SanDisk claims to offer retailers a full range of flash-based memory product accessories for mobile phones, digital cameras, laptops and MP3 players. SanDisk MEA will use DCC 2009 to heighten its brand awareness with both distributors and retailers.

“This is the only forum in the region that brings together vendors and retailers to discuss issues and improve cooperation,” added Husseini. “Geographically, the Middle East still offers huge opportunities, specifically in Saudi Arabia. The retail sector is still showing signs of strong growth despite the current market sentiment globally. The reseller market also offers great opportunities and has not been a focus for SanDisk. However, this will change in 2009.”

“We support the channel with a variety of applications such as price protection, category management in stores, training in the channel as well as a comprehensive advertising plan. No competitor currently offers these extensive services to the channel that we are aware of,” he added.

SanDisk has also appointed a channel marketing manager to increase support levels. The vendor claims that this appointment has allowed it to offer better marketing activities to retailers, as well as increased in-store sales drivers to support sell out. SanDisk reckons that it can now offer a full range of in-store POS activities to increase sell-through and educate consumers on our extensive range of products.

”Currently, our region is still growing substantially compared to other more established regions. We have identified the retailers as our biggest opportunity to drive new trends in the market. This is specifically targeted at increasing the purchase capacities of the consumer,” continued Husseini.

“The price erosion experienced in 2008 was the biggest impacting trend. The reverse is happening in 2009 due to reduction in holding inventories resulting in higher flash prices in the first quarter of 2009 and this will continue in the second quarter,” he explained.

The Middle East retail channel for consumer electronics and IT products continues to mature and develop at a rapid pace. More than 100 senior retail executives from 15-plus countries will attend Digital Consumer Channel (DCC MEA) MEA in May 2009. The event offers vendors and distributors insight into markets across the region and the opportunity to accelerate or improve their go-to-market retail strategy.

For more information on DCC MEA please visit the event website. Qualifying retailers receive free accommodation, meals and airport transfers for the event. Please note that vendor spaces are strictly limited at DCC MEA and are available on a first come first served basis.

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