Best Buy tells HP to take back its TouchPads

Hewlett-Packard logoBest Buy has managed to sell only 25,000 HP TouchPads across its retail stores and apparently wants to return unsold units to HP, according to a source who spoke to AllThingsD on Tuesday. The tablet which initially used the same pricing structure as the iPad (starting at $499 for a 16GB model) has failed to interest consumers even when prices were reduced by $100 for each model.

We faulted the HP TouchPad in our review for falling short in several metrics compared to the iPad, but at the same price. In recent weeks, many retailers carrying the TouchPad applied discounts of $50, then $100, in temporary flash sales that eventually became permanent as the tablets refused to budge. The biggest sale yet from flash sale site Woot, which sold the tablet for $120 off, got HP a meager 612 customers.

HP TouchPad

According to the same source, Best Buy took 270,000 TouchPads into inventory, and so far has managed to move less than ten percent of them—and that figure may not even take returned units into account. Best Buy reportedly no longer wants unsold TouchPads taking up space in its stores and warehouses, and is requesting that HP take the stock back.

Best Buy and Woot are not alone in their inability to move TouchPads, analyst Rich Doherty of the Envisioneering Group told AllThingsD; WalMart, Microcenter, and Fry's have all struck out. Though these stores will often give refunds on device price drops for a few weeks after purchase, Doherty says that the fluctuations so soon after release make customers hesitate to buy today, when the TouchPad could easily be another $50 or $100 off tomorrow.

Whatever unsold TouchPad stock Best Buy can't give back to HP will likely find itself bundled along with HP computers in back-to-school sales, according to Doherty.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: HP, tablets

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