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Archive to Enter Retail Market With Latest Tape Drive

March 03, 1987|CARLA LAZZARESCHI | Times Staff Writer

In an effort to boost the sales potential of its newest tape drive, Archive Corp. has launched its first-ever retail sales effort, the Costa Mesa-based company announced Monday.

The move into the retail market is expected to add about $20 million to $30 million to Archive's annual sales, according to company officials. Last fiscal year, ended June 30, sales were nearly $80 million for the 6 1/2-year-old maker of computer tape drives.

Archive entered the retail market by signing a distribution agreement with Microamerica, one of the nation's largest wholesalers of personal computers and accessories.

Analysts generally supported Archive's new strategy of trying to exploit the full potential of its products. Archive products allow personal computer users to copy information from their primary disk storage systems to magnetic tape, similar to that used for audio cassettes. By copying the information on tape, users are protected in the event their primary storage system fails.

"Archive is trying to increase their share of the market and that's wise," said Ray Freeman, president of Freeman Associates Inc., a Santa Barbara high-tech management-consulting firm specializing in computer memory devices.

Freeman said the Archive product entering the retail market will join one of the most competitive segments of the tape drive market and one of the fastest growing.

According to Freeman's Computer Tape Outlook research report, the total wholesale market for "mini cartridge" systems, similar to that made by Archive, will reach $131 million this year, about double the $65 million sold last year. Sales are expected to hit $351 million by 1992, Freeman said.

The retail segment of market has been among the most exciting for tape drive makers because it gives them direct access to the nearly 10 million personal computers sold over the last five years that are not equipped with the latest and most sophisticated devices.

Typically, manufacturers such as Archive sell their products directly to computer makers, which then include them in their machines. However, in the last 18 months, several manufacturers have moved to open a retail distribution channel as well for some of their most advanced products, in hopes of capturing additional sales from owners of older machines.

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