Rudd’s tech rebate receives mixed reactions from retailers

By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: The Labor government’s pre-election promise of an education-related technology rebate for primary and secondary school students will add growth to the already fast-expanding PC sector, according to Bing Lee general manager Phil Moujeas.

The rebate, which in its pre-election form promised $375 for primary school children and $750 for secondary school children to help purchase items such as computers, software, printers, internet connections and text books, would push sales of a growing category even further, Moujeas said.

“That category [personal computers] is doing very well already, and we’re already seeing some very good growth in the sales of notebooks in particular, so I think that [the rebate] will make it even better,” he said. 

BSR general manager Ian Brown was more cautious. He said while the retail group would, “Without a doubt … get some benefits from that”, he said he needed to “wait until we see what the volume of the rebate’s going to be.”

“They [the rebates] will make a difference, but once again, it’s all dependent on what the rebate is, and how it’s going to be paid and knowing Kevin Rudd, there’ll be a lot of requirements attached to the deal and whether or not the average consumer sees it as a big benefit.”

Brown said BSR would arrange package deals to cash-in on the rebate if it did go ahead.

However, Moujeas said it was “too early to say” if Bing Lee would create similar package deals targeting mums and dads.

Andrew McLennan, retail sector analyst at Credit Suisse, said the legislation could see sales spikes in January and June, leading up to the start of the school year and at tax time, if put through in it’s pre-election form.

“I imagine it [the rebate] would be paid [upon] finalisation of your tax accounts, so it’s not something that’s going to come through until at least the end of the financial year. So given that’s the case, I think households will leave it until the last minute to take advantage of it.”

He also said initial spending would probably focus on hardware, with focus later shifting to software, peripherals and upgrades.

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