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Gartner: Ricohs Buy of Sixth Dealer Shows Trend to Build Branch Networks

Press release from the issuing company

July 23, 2002 -- According to Gartner analyst, Lynn Ritter, Ricoh’s sixth dealer acquisition will help the company retain clients and provide better service. Ritter offered Gartner’s first take on the subject. Ricoh recently announced that it reached an agreement in principle to acquire one of its dealers, Copi-Quik, located in the greater Philadelphia area. The company does business under the name of CQI Document Solutions. “After Ricoh and CQI finalize this deal, CQI will become the sixth Ricoh direct location that was an acquired dealer. With these recent acquisitions, including Savin's direct operations (15 branches in 44 locations) and Lanier's 105 branches, Ricoh — if it consolidates all direct operations under its own name — could create a comprehensive nationwide branch network. “Ricoh is not alone in its desire to create a branch network. Many vendors such as Konica and Minolta have used a dual-distribution structure (dealer and direct) for years. Others, such as Canon and Toshiba, only recently started paying attention to the direct sales channel by opening new locations or acquiring dealers. Even companies that traditionally had direct operations are using other distribution channels; for example: * Xerox's primary channel is its own branch network (47 branches), but it also uses agents (around 700) and dealers (around 400) for certain products. * Oce has long used branches (around 50) in the United States, but recently began recruiting dealers as well (it now has around 13). “To compete effectively in this increasingly competitive industry, vendors must retain customers and ensure customer satisfaction. Using several distribution channels helps support that goal by reaching as many customers as possible. Vendors that use branches gain the added advantage of better knowledge about the customer — through customer feedback and direct servicing opportunities.” Gartner, Inc. is a research and advisory firm that helps more than 11,000 clients understand technology and drive business growth. Gartner's divisions consist of Gartner Research, Gartner Consulting, Gartner Measurement and Gartner Events. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, and consists of 4,300 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in more than 90 locations worldwide. The company achieved fiscal 2001 revenue of $952 million.