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The channel is revolting – against CTS prices

Resellers & disties complain they can't afford to make an exhibition of themselves

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The channel peasants are revolting and threatening to boycott next year's Computer Trade Show because of price hikes. Around 20 top distributors and resellers have grouped together to complain about floor space costs, which they claim have shot up by around 50 per cent. One square metre of floor at CTS 2000 will cost £375 at the full rate, according to organisers Imark Communications. A leaked email to the CTS organisers shows that companies spent between £20,000 and £70,000 each on this year's two-day event in Birmingham. However, it said the increased floor space costs meant that many companies would not be able to afford to attend next year's show. "This has prompted investigation into the cost of hosting the show and it has been ascertained that the true cost of stand space is disproportionately lower than the prices we have been quoted from you. "This has prompted us to group together and ask for your help in continuing our presence at the CTS trade show. "The prices we need for stand space need to be lower than last year due to the hard times we all face currently." The email warned that the 17 companies listed would be unable to support the show unless a lower price could be arranged. The companies included Hugh Symons, Flashpoint, Karma, Computer 2000 and Rock Computers. Alan Stanley, general manager of Dane-Elec, told The Register that his company would not attend next year's show if prices were not cut. "It's about the only trade show worth going to in the UK. But it won't stay that way if they price it out of the market," he said. Les Billing, MD of Microtronica – another company listed in the email – said: "There simply isn't enough margin in the industry to cope with these price rises. The organisers are trying to capitalise on the situation." Others thought it would push smaller players out of the event. Jon Atherton, general manager of Enta Technologies, commented: "There will be some people who won't be able to afford to attend. Shows like this are only healthy for the industry if lots of people with a variety of products and services attend." The group's Wat Tyler, Realtime Distribution's sales and marketing director Mark Reed, confirmed: "As a group of prominent dealers and distributors, we are in discussion with Imark over the forthcoming CTS." He declined to offer more details. David Barr, Imark sales manager for CTS, said he had scheduled a meeting for Monday, when the channel would be asked to raise their concerns. "We want to take the show forward with all the channel next year," said Barr. He refused to say whether the company would be willing to cut prices, but added: "The show is going forward. If there are issues of concern we'd like to address them. But the show cannot be perfect for everybody." ® Register fact: In the real peasants' revolt of 1381, Wat Tyler led thousands of poll tax protesters to the gates of the city of London. King Richard II invited Tyler into the city on the pretext of negotiating concessions and then stabbed him in the heart.

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