Renaissance, Farmers sign on dotted line

Renaissance, Farmers sign on dotted line

AS sales for the Apple iPod rise, Renaissance is taking full advantage of the tide of demand and has signed up Farmers as a retail partner for the product. The distributor also boasts a record quarter for the Apple line.

“Farmers ... are going to put the iPod in a [significant] number of stores throughout the country,” says Paul Johnston, head of the Apple division at Renaissance. “It is the first time that anything to do with Apple has had an arrangement with Farmers.”

According to Johnston, between 70% and 75% of all the iPods being sold are to PC users. “We’re a bit ahead of where I expected, but it’s in line with what is happening overseas. The numbers we’re shipping are thousands and thousands every quarter.”

With booming sales Johnston says it has been the “best quarter for Apple product in the last six years that I’ve been with the company, and probably at any time for the company’s history in New Zealand. We’re exceptionally pleased with that and looking forward to another excellent quarter. You’d be looking at 20% year-on-year growth.”

Renaissance’s foray into the music industry, by signing up Sounds music stores as a reseller for the iPod range in New Zealand, is also on track. The distributor has been building branded digital music centres inside some Sounds stores and a Christchurch store has been completed while a Queen Street, Auckland store will be finished next week.

“We’ve got the space laid out and it will be placed in the centre of the store — prime position — and within 10 days of that Botany Downs will follow,” he says.

Dick Smith also carries the product now, Johnston adds.

Initially Renaissance had planned to enter the fashion world with the iPods, but that has been put on the back burner.

“We’ve held off on the fashion strategy as it is going to be a more visual than sales thing,” Johnston says. “We’re keen to move on it but it is difficult to get things done, such as the right training. We’re trying to put the effort into where the big sales are going to come through first.”

While Johnston says the delay around releasing iPod mini is disappointing he does not envision this impacting on sales, adding that he would prefer to have enough product to satisfy demand than face supply issues. The iPod mini will not be available until July, which is about three months later than anticipated, due to higher demand than expected in the US.

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