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World’s first HP Experience store for SA

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South Africa has been selected as the location for the world’s first HP Experience store. HP, in partnership with Digital Planet, announced yesterday that it will launch the first concept retail store of its kind in one of the country’s premier shopping malls in the next five weeks. What will it look like? Read on for a closer view …

South Africa has been selected as the location for the opening of the flagship HP Experience store – the first in the world. The store will officially open on 1 April 2008 in Sandton City, one of the country’s premier shopping malls.

Operated and owned by Digital Planet, the store will sell HP’s entire portfolio of consumer products – from personal computing to imaging and printing products. In addition, consumers will be able to view and experience the latest HP technology in the store.

An artist’s impression of the new HP Experience store

No one is mentioning the inspration provided by Apple stores, but it appears that a key difference will be in a hi-tech ambience created in the store, as opposed to the bare-bones approach in most Apple stores, where the focus is exclusively on product at the expense of shop fittings, decor, and the like.

“As the store name implies, it will be all about the experience. We want to entice consumers and provide them with an opportunity to engage with the latest and most exciting HP technology,” said Neil Watson, Director and co-founder of Digital Planet.

The launch of HP Experience marks another step in HP’s move into the consumer market. Following the introduction of the HP Pavilion Entertainment Notebook PC range about 18 months ago, it has grown to become one of the top-selling consumer notebook brands in South Africa.

HP has previously shown its commitment to operating in South Africa through its efforts to improve its Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) rating. In 2007, HP became the first multinational IT vendor to complete external verification confirming a Level 2 B-BBEE company, indicating a stronger commitment to employment equity.

“Everything is becoming digital and broadband is becoming pervasive. HP has the technologies that make it easy for consumers to game, view, listen, work and share when and where they want,” said Paul Boshoff, General Manager of the Personal Systems Group, HP South Africa.

“HP Experience is another way to take the personal digital entertainment experience even broader. We are confident in the future of South Africa and will continue to invest in broadening our footprint in all market segments.”

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