D&H Canada uncovers some diamonds in the rough

Mississauga, Ont. – There were many established vendors at D&H Canada’s Tech Fair, such as Cisco, HP and Microsoft, but the distributor also brought in many others that are new to the Canadian market.

D&H over the years have had a knack for uncovering new vendors for Canadian partners. Yesterday at its Tech Fair at the Mississauga Convention Centre, the distributor unveiled vendors such as DoubleSight Displays, CRU DataPort, Ooma Inc., VisionTek, KeeBox, Marshall Electronics, and MXLMics.com.

One of the big show stoppers was DoubleSight Displays, an Irvine, Calif.-based manufacturer of multiple and portable monitor solutions including the smart USB display. DoubleSight is going to market in Canada exclusively through D&H Canada and can offer the channel solutions from as small as 7-inch displays up to double sided 21-inch monitors.

According to Greg Tobin, general manager of D&H Canada, this year’s tech fair was broken up into two groups: established vendors such as Cisco, HP, NetGear, and BenQ, and then an up-and-coming area.

Company co-president Dan Schwab said it’s important for D&H to bring innovative technology to the SMB channel. “This brings new opportunities to the resellers. Often times they are niche products that allow channel partners to go back to customers with either cost saving solutions or something that can differentiate them. There is a lot of value in an up-and-coming vendor,” Schwab said.

Both executives also addressed some of the challenges facing retailers. D&H’s main customer is a channel partner with two-to-seven employees that handles on average a customer with 19 seats or less.

Sales outlook

According to Toronto-based research company KubasPrimedia, the latest retail sales outlook for Canada during the third quarter of this year does not look good. The year-over-year growth in total retail sales was 5.6 per cent in Q1 2012. Q2 sales were cut in half to just 2.8 per cent year-over-year growth. That is one of the worst results since the end of the recession.

After six months, 2012 is running four per cent ahead on a year-to-date basis or about the same as the 3.8 per cent comparable figure from last year. If you compare from 2011 where the trend was slightly upwards, 2012 it seams the momentum is heading downwards.

Tobin said the economy is regrouping for re-growth. Unemployment is down but the Gross Domestic Product is not where it needs to be. “D&H Canada is still growing, there is some spending, but the model is changing and we are finding that e-commerce continues to grow. This represents a challenge to traditional retail, who have larger footprints and a portfolio of products. Two years’ big box had sections devoted to DVDs and CDs.

That does not happen anymore. More people are downloading and the smartphone will continue to evolve and grow. The spend is feeling some contraction in the retail area,” Tobin said.

The economic is not helping either. Real GDP in Canada gained just 1.9 per cent in Q1 2012, and 1.8 per cent in Q2, prompting a number of institutions to lower their growth forecasts for the balance of the year, KubasPrimedia reported.

The American economy is also faltering with a revised figure of 1.7 per cent GDP in Q2. The 2013 outlook for the U.S. is also clouded by the fiscal cliff, a combination of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes mandated by past legislation that could cause a recession and increase the unemployment rate, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Schwab said the slumping U.S. economic slump has other factors beside the presidential election. “Retailers have been struggling the last two years and e-commerce is a factor. I think there is a macro shift to mobile devices and large retailers need to evaluate their footprints and every decade or so we go through a retail revolution; but we will not see retailers go away,” Schwab said.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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