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HP Inc records best PC sales growth since XP refresh

Notebooks defy decline, but business printer shipments fall 8%

A 10% boost in PC sales, against a backdrop of industry decline, helped HP Inc hit $12.7 billion in revenue for its first quarter of 2017.

Sales of HP Inc's notebooks, desktops and workstations pushed the firm's Personal Systems division to $8.22 billion in the three months to January 2017, up from $7.46 billion in the same period last year.

Notebooks jumped 16%, though desktop growth remained flat. However, the increase comes after analyst house Gartner recorded a fifth consecutive year of plummeting PC sales in 2016, when shipments fell by 6% compared to 2015.

HP Inc CEO Dion Weisler said in an earnings call, transcribed by Seeking Alpha: "As a more nimble company, we've been able to accelerate our strategy, and we're now firing on all cylinders.

"A perfect demonstration of this is in Personal Systems, where yet again for the third consecutive quarter the team delivered exceptional results."

He added: "The last time we saw this level of revenue growth was in 2014, triggered by the [Windows] XP refresh cycle."

However, Catherine Lesjak, HP Inc CFO, admitted that the strength of PC sales in Q1 (in part thanks to Black Friday and Christmas) could result in a "more than normal" decline come Q2.

She added: "The increased cost of components [for PCs] ... could have a more significant impact on demand that we've assumed."

HP Inc's other main source of revenue, printers, fell by 3% year-on-year to $4.5 billion.

Business printer hardware in particular saw a significant drop, falling 8% year-on-year and a huge 20% from the previous quarter.

However, Weisler said HP Inc's $1 billion acquisition of Samsung's printing business is "on track" to close in the second half of the year, which it expects will improve the state of its A3 printer division.

"We made great progress in stabilising the business," Weisler added, saying a focus on security, citing recent products like HP Sure Click, is helping customers deal with threats like malware.

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