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Toshiba latest victim of US PC slump

But will get a lift from elevator sales

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Japanese notebook manufacturer Toshiba has admitted that its US sales have not escaped the current slump.

Toshiba said computer sales in the US - which accounts for 40 per cent of the company's total PC revenue - have dropped at the same rate as rivals.

"We are no exception," Toshiba executive VP Tetsuya Mizoguchi told Bloomberg. "PC sales in the US are also worse for us than what we originally expected."

But Toshiba will likely weather the storm due to revenue from its other products, such as semiconductors, TVs and elevators. Analysts reckon the US PC depression will not cause the giant to issue a profit or revenue warning - a fate which has hit industry heavyweights from Microsoft and Intel to Compaq and Apple.

The vendor expects US PC sales to hit $2.88 billion for the year ending March 2001 - accounting for less than six per cent of forecasted $50.7 billion group sales.

But Tosh execs are still worried that the situation could worsen - and that PC makers may react by slashing prices to relieve stockpiles. Yesterday major players such as Compaq and Sony were touting cut-price deals and freebies to American shoppers in an effort to cash in on the last two-weeks of Christmas sales.

Toshiba has the second biggest inventory of PCs in the US market. Compaq has 10.5 weeks inventory with retailers, while Toshiba is reported to have 6.6 weeks. ®

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