War Is Hell For Europe's Pc Makers

Growth is slowing, and the Asians are coming

Last year, German computer maker and retailer Escom launched a bold expansion across Europe. Buoyed by growth in its home market, Escom already had become Europe's second-largest computer retail chain, with $1.6 billion in sales. But just as Chief Executive Manfred Schmitt snapped up British computer retailer Rumbalows' 235 stores in April, 1995, the German market tanked, wiping out Escom's razor-thin profit margin. Battered by losses of more than $120 million, the former highflier filed on July 1 for protection from its creditors.

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