In the first quarter of 2012, we combined our consumer and small office/home office (“SOHO”) sales company with our small- and medium-sized business (SMB) segment. In order to facilitate comparison with current period results, 2011 revenues and gross margins for the SMB segment have been restated to include consumer and SOHO sales.
Quarterly Sales by Segment:
- Net sales for the SMB business segment were $228.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Sales to small and medium businesses were up slightly year over year. However, when combined with lower consumer sales, sales for this segment decreased by 5.2%. Gross margin increased year over year by 60 basis points as we continue to provide advanced technologies and solutions to our customers.
- Net sales for the Large Account segment increased by 2.7% to $202.3 million compared to sales in the fourth quarter of 2011. The increase was due to higher notebook and software sales which have increased year over year on a quarterly basis for three straight years. Gross profit increased to $22.6 million due to a 40 basis-point margin improvement which we attribute to our strategic focus on higher-margin solution sales.
- Net sales to government and education customers (Public Sector segment) increased year over year by 9.1% to $125.5 million. We gained market share during the quarter in a challenging public-sector environment. Sales to state and local government and educational institutions increased by 7.5%, and sales to the federal government grew by 10.7% year over year.
Quarterly Sales by Product Mix:
- Notebook sales, the Company’s largest product category, increased by 8.3% year over year and accounted for 19% of net sales in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to 17% of net sales in the fourth quarter of 2011. The growth was attributable to increased unit sales, as average selling prices decreased by single digits on a rate basis.
- Software sales increased by 7.4% year over year, accounting for 16% of net sales in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to 15% of net sales in the fourth quarter of 2011. Software sales increased in Large Account due to higher demand in virtualization and security.
- Desktop/server sales decreased by 6.7% year over year, accounting for 14% of net sales in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to 16% of net sales in the fourth quarter of 2011. The decline was primarily a result of lower unit sales and average selling prices for servers.
Consolidated gross margin, as a percentage of net sales, increased year over year by 50 basis points to 12.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012. As our customers migrate to data center and advanced technology solutions, we have experienced increased sales of higher margin products and services.