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Happy Holidays! Misco axes ONE IN FIVE UK sales peeps: sources

Cutting cloth to counter sales drop... but it's cold outside

Shape shifting Misco spread the cheer among its workforce in the run-up to Christmas by distributing P45s, with sources estimating that up to 20 per cent of UK sales heads rolled.

The parent of the web tech bazaar, Systemax, which is trying to deal more with mid-market corporate enterprises and sell services, is cutting costs following shrinking sales.

Sources told El Chan that one in five staffers were shown the door on the last Friday before Christmas. “The sales force is being reduced massively,” one insider told us.

The former employee said the only reason given to staff was cost cutting. Reducing expenses is also behind a change in commission plans for the remaining sales staff, unveiled to them this week.

“[The commission changes have] gone down like a horse shit sandwich,” said a person close to the matter. “I think more sales people will be on their way [of their own volition]”.

In the last set of calendar Q3 financials, the tin peddler called out “weakness across much of Europe and particularly the UK”.

Turnover in EMEA was up to $279.2m in the three months, but only due to the acquisition of SCC’s Dutch ops.

UK exec veep Gary Withington left last Autumn with company veteran Sue Keywood replacing him. At the same time, Richard Logan exited his position as enterprise sales director.

A wave of staff have been pushed or quit Misco - Systemax's European trading brand - since regional boss Pim Dale came onboard with plans to build the largest reseller in Europe.

He initiated a Shared Services Centre in Budapest and moved back office functions, also centralising marketing and customer services to the same city. A previous change to commission plans saw numerous veteran sales staff head for door in 2013.

Offshoring has caused sales people at Misco no end of issues, with one ex-employee saying, “Sales people are putting out fires, not selling”.

Dale is now celebrating a three-year anniversary, guiding European sales to $1.12bn in 2012, up 2.4 per cent on the prior year, before they slipped to $1.095bn in 2013, slightly below the $1.099bn achieved in the year before he joined the company.

In that period, some of the largest resellers in the region have all added to their top lines, with Computacenter and Bechtle reporting expanding waistlines.

Transformations don’t happen overnight - as HP CEO Meg Whitman keeps reminding the industry. The changes at Misco will take time to bed down but US execs are getting concerned they are not seeing a higher return on the multi-million dollar investment to set up central Euro ops. Improving morale on the salefloor might be a good starting point.

Misco has yet to respond to communication we sent days ago. ®

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