We interview the supermarket's buying manager for computing Kasia Kowalska

“We see ourselves as a more convenient retailer for the tech category” – Tesco

After the release of its Hudl2 last year, Tesco’s tech sales have continued to boom. Now laptops are becoming just as popular and there’s growth in desktops too, as Kasia Kowalska, buying manager for computing at Tesco, tells Jade Burke in this interview…

How have the PC and tech categories fared for Tesco?

In terms of the computing category, 2014 was a year of renewed focus and energy to ensure we have had the right customer proposition in our stores and online. We invested in sustainable working relationships with the right mix of brands. We have seen phenomenal growth in laptops, printers and software sales and delivered strong numbers on tablets and e-readers despite significant year-on-year declines in those markets.

Where does Tesco see itself in the PC category today?

We see ourselves as an even bigger and more convenient retailer for the PC and tech category because of our store footprint and our click and collect offer. We have leapt forward in the last year and are committed to grow in the current year and beyond.

Laptop sales were up this year, with analysts such as Context reporting that PC sales have increased by 19 per cent this January in the UK. Have you seen happen this at Tesco?

We certainly have. Laptop category performance throughout 2014 has been really strong – we more than doubled our share in the market. We have seen this strong performance extend into January 2015, which bodes really well for our plans to grow this year.

How has the Hudl tablet been selling?

I can’t talk too much in detail about the Hudl, however, I can share that customers responded phenomenally well to the Hudl1 and subsequently to the Hudl2. We have all seen incredibly enthusiastic reviews from technology experts following the launch of the Hudl2.

Do you have any plans to up your focus in the desktop computer space?

From relatively small base we have seen good year-on-year uplifts in desktop PC sales. We plan to continue our growth in this area.

Do you offer free Wi-Fi across all you stores?

We do offer free Wi-Fi access for our customers in all of our stores. It is an important part of the service for us. Many customers now expect free Wi-Fi access as part of their shopping experience.

How do you expect the tech retail market to evolve over the next 12 months? Will you be looking at stocking any wearables in the future?

There is a lot of excitement from hardware and software manufacturers around wearable technology and home automation, which has been and will continue to be strongly reflected at industry events this year. We are seeing stronger designs, improved functionality and better route to market campaigns. So the answer is, yes of course.

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