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HP CEO Lores: Partners Should ‘Embrace And Drive’ New Printing Opportunities

With the hybrid workforce expected to continue into the future, ‘there is going to be an opportunity in connecting office printing and home printing,’ HP CEO Enrique Lores said.

While a rebound in demand for office printing is expected later this year, HP Inc.’s commercial channel partners have new opportunities in “connecting printing at home and connecting printing in the office” as businesses settle into a hybrid workforce model, HP CEO Enrique Lores said Thursday.

“I think it’s all about time. I think as offices will reopen, people will go back to the office, and then the commercial print business will go back to growth,” Lores said during a call with reporters and analysts, in response to a question from CRN. “And we think that it will be happening sometime after the summer, when the vaccines will have been administered and most of the people will start going back to the office.”

[Related: HP Printing President Tuan Tran On The ‘New Opportunity’ For Partners In WFH Print]

However, partners also have new opportunities that weren’t available prior to the COVID-19 crisis, because “we are going to be working in a hybrid way going forward,” Lores said. “I think we all have learned that we don‘t need to go five days to the office, that we don’t need our employees to come five days to the office.”

The current environment “is showing that there is going to be an opportunity in connecting office printing and home printing,” Lores said. “Our partners will have an opportunity in enabling these new ways of working, connecting printing at home and connecting printing in the office.”

Ultimately, “this is an opportunity that our partners should really embrace and drive,” Lores said.

Lores made the comments as HP reported better-than-expected results for its first quarter of fiscal 2021, ended Jan. 31--particularly in its print business, which saw revenue grow 7 percent year-over-year to reach $5.04 billion.

Fueling the print business growth was a 55-percent surge in consumer print revenue and 18-percent growth in consumer hardware units from the same period a year ago. Supplies revenue climbed 3 percent, year-over-year, and HP added 1 million new Instant Ink subscriptions during the quarter to reach 9 million subscribers in total.

During the company’s quarterly call with analysts on Thursday, Lores pointed to the opportunity for providers of managed print services to adapt their contracts with customers to include services for at-home printing.

With managed print services (MPS), “we see attractive opportunities to deliver services designed for the hybrid workforce of the future,” he said.

One example is HP’s Flexworker service, which “can be added to accompany existing MPS contracts, to help remote workers maintain their productivity,” Lores said. “This means being able to seamlessly print, scan and copy securely, all while working from home.”

Overall, HP’s printing business results for the latest quarter “showed the importance of having a balanced portfolio between home and office,” Lores said in the call with analysts and reporters on Thursday.

The company’s commercial printing business continued to struggle as office usage remained down. Commercial print revenue fell 11 percent during HP’s fiscal Q1, from the same period a year earlier, while commercial hardware units were flat.

The contrasting results between consumer and commercial were mirrored in HP’s personal systems business as well. During HP’s fiscal Q1, consumer personal systems revenue jumped 34 percent while revenue on the commercial side slipped by 6 percent.

All in all, HP’s personal systems revenue climbed 7 percent year-over-year, to $10.6 billion, during the company’s fiscal second quarter. The growth was driven by a 33-percent increase in sales of notebook units. Demand for desktop PCs continued to tumble, with unit sales dropping by 23 percent during the quarter.

Total first-quarter revenue for HP reached $15.64 billion, up 7 percent from the same quarter a year ago--representing “terrific results” for the company, said Harry Zarek, president and CEO of Richmond Hill, Ontario-based solution provider Compugen.

“Outstanding quarterly results, all on the back of consumer strength,” Zarek said in an email to CRN. “The commercial segment showed decreases across the board. We saw the same in the print business with office printing slowly returning, but saw strength across all notebook segments including education, and also [in point of sale].”

HP’s non-GAAP net earnings during the quarter jumped to $1.2 billion, or 92 cents per diluted share, up from $1 billion, or 65 cents per diluted share, during the same period a year earlier.

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