Time computers today announced the launch of its retail chain The Computer World, which will be focusing on the needs of older customers.

The firm will be employing specially trained staff from the age of fifty upwards to give customers non-techy advice, and more importantly enable them to converse with people of their own age.

"Elderly people are overwhelmed by techy speech. We have had cases where people as old as 80 have been worn down by sales staff, working on commission, and left the store with a £3,000 laptop that they don't want and can't even use," said Caroline Lambie, spokeswoman for Hairnet, a national training centre which specialises in working with people over 50.

The so-called silver surfers market is growing rapidly and more OAPs are getting online, emailing friends and family, downloading digital snaps and entertainment.

"Retailers need to realise that PCs aren't just for the young and that older people in many cases can use them just as well," added Lambie.

The new branded stores will be opening nationwide from the end of June and Time is looking to employ what it's termed, probably through a temporary loss of sense, "senior e-tizens" to demonstrate its products.

"Older customers have been baffled by retailer's techno-jargon for too long," said Colin Middlesmiss, Time spokesman. "We want to provide a friendly and comfortable shopping environment for everyone of our customers, no matter if they're 17 or 70."

Hairnet (www.hairnet.org) will be organising a Silver Surfer's Day on 17 May (www.silversurfersday.org) to bring the elderly online community together.

"There is a lack of awareness among retailers and users about the products that are available out there," said Lambie. "There are hundreds of things on the market which people aren't taking advantage of like large keyboards and trackball mice, which make surfing easier for the elderly."

According to Hairnet the most popular products among their elderly members are PCs, scanners and digital cameras.

"It's about time someone realised this market exists and took time to focus on its needs, it's not all about the young," said a spokesman at charity Age Concern, which is supporting the Silver Surfer's Day.

Hairnet is a government-backed centre which receives grants as well as external funding.