CDW Among '100 Most Influential'

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CDW Computer Centers Inc., a direct marketer of computer products, was named one of the "100 Most Influential Companies" of 1998 by PC Magazine.

The annual listing, which is compiled by the magazine's editors, identifies companies that have the largest impact on the personal computer industry, based on criteria such as annual revenue, key product lines and market share.

CDW earned a spot on the list because of its growth and leadership in direct marketing through its Web site,, which contains more than 27,000 brand name products and peripherals. A company spokeswoman said unassisted sales through the site totaled about $25 million in CDW's most recent quarter, or about 6 percent of CDW's total quarterly revenue.

Though CDW primarily targets small- to medium-size businesses, it has seen increased consumer use of the site, the spokeswoman said.

To sharpen its focus on the government and education workplaces, CDW also formed CDW Government Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary that will focus exclusively on customers in those markets. The unit will serve all the government and education accounts previously handled by CDW -- currently worth $100 million in annual sales.

CDW Government will operate with a combination of a field sales force and contract bid team, headquartered at a national sales office in Chantilly, VA, along with inside sales account managers in Vernon Hills, IL.

Separately, CDW announced that its board of directors has authorized the repurchase of up to 1 million shares of its common stock, or slightly less than 5 percent of its total outstanding shares. The buyback program begins immediately and is expected to remain effective for a year unless terminated earlier by the board.

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