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September 2009

THINKING KITCHEN‌? Home Goods Retailer

THINK Quality Home Appliances for more than 60 years


Oslo DRS

Manhattan BRS

CAREBA DESIGNS

TEL: FAX:

012 734 1171 086 504 4941

CELL: CELL:

082 926 3576 (ABLY) 082 860 4696 (REHAAN)

E MAIL: ably@yebo.co.za E MAIL: rehaantm@vodamail.co.za


Contents

September 2009 Newsline

Product Showcase

Geen & Richards celebrates 100 years of distinctive quality Andre Schoultz Final countdown for Furnex All things Wunder-ful launches in Cape Town in November New IT partner to improve Lewis relationships Court provides clarity on debt review process Massmart growth declines, but management remains bullish Wetherlys opens in Woodhill 400 disabled learners become mobile Pleasing SDA sales for Amap, but total revenue drops

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Talking Points Aussie prof exposes the great climate change con trick

Tefal Quick Cup for hot and cold water 16 Slim and shiny Nespresso CitiZ range delivers on all fronts 16 Mellerware, Caturra partnership brings Arezzo capsule coffee machine 16 Who can resist a good looking Italian? 17 Kenwood all set for summer sun fun 18 Thinking Kitchens? Think Kenwood! 19 Tefal toaster also boils or poaches eggs 20 Tefal Actifry a must for all kitchens 20 Philips provides freshly squeezed juice in an instant 20 LG bakes bread in the home 20 Vitacuisine provides a nutritional meal every night of the week 20 Creative Housewares appointed Morphy Richards distributor 21 New look for earth-friendly SA favourite, Sodastream21

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Technology Focus Presenting a solution to soaring retail connectivity costs

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Gallery 14

Small Domestic Appliances

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Lexmark Web-connected touch screen inkjets for SMBs a world first LG’s ultimate wide screen phone creates a new mobile experience Acer SA unleashes TravelMate 8000 Timeline series Hisense continues to fly high Livescribe SmartPen never misses a word eMachines offer simple, affordable solution for home computing Philips extends Bikini Perfect range to keep women looking gorgeous

Ascot Bedding and Furniture adds freshness to fusion at Decorex People on the move

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Diary imm Cologne – Germany’s top international furniture platform Grand Designs Live coming to SA

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Furniture Traders’ Association of South Africa Meubelhandelaarsvereniging van Suid‑Afrika (011) 789 6770 The FTA supports HGR but is in no official way associated with the magazine.

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Editor’s Desk

HGR Team Publisher & Editor‑in‑Chief Ian Hughes Email: ian@hgr.co.za

Home Goods Retailer

A centenary celebration, all about Furnex, and coffee is good for you A hearty congratulations to furniture retailer Geen & Richards, which celebrates its centenary this year. Originally founded in Johannesburg by Thomas Richards and Herbert Henry Geen, the retailer today boasts no fewer than 65 stores countrywide, testimony that distinctive styling and exclusivity remains the cornerstone of product selection at G&R. Still on the news front, HGR is pleased to finally be able to bring its readers the long-awaited story on the closure of buying group Furnex, no thanks to managing director Andy Simaan who, at the time of going to print, had still not kept his promise of providing comment or answers to the numerous questions I had put to him – in writing, at his request. Our Talking Point this month is climate change, and the viewpoint expressed by Prof Ian Simler that it is nothing but a “con trick” is intriguing and bears thinking about, especially as more and more manufacturers and suppliers – the home goods industry not excluded – go all out to ensure their systems and processes are not endangering or harming the planet in any way. I eagerly await readers’ comments on this issue. As the world economy starts to ease out of recession, indications are that Christmas will certainly be, at least, a little less dismal than last year. Our Small Domestic Appliances feature is jam-packed with the latest products on offer by suppliers, from smoothie makers for summer to a toaster that prepares eggs and toast simultaneously. While preparing the feature, I could not help noticing the increasing array of coffee machines available on the market. Perhaps this is owing to new research conducted by Harvard, which shows that drinking moderate amounts of caffeinated coffee regularly may actually have positive health benefits, including lowering the risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and colon cancer. There’s also some evidence that coffee may help manage asthma and even control attacks when medication is unavailable, stop a headache, boost mood, and even prevent cavities. I’d say that calls for another cup.

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Editor Aurette Bowes Email: editor@hgr.co.za

National sales manager Frances Venter Cell: 072 607 5134 Email: sales@hgr.co.za

Marketing consultant Cherry Swanson Cell: 082 780 7976 Email: cearecruit@mweb.co.za

Design & Layout Bianca Keenan‑Smith Email: dtp@hgr.co.za

Special Projects Kerryn McMurray Email: kerryn@hgr.co.za

Administration & Subscriptions Sameera Hoosein Email: sameera@hgr.co.za

Office 203 Melrose Place (formerly Willowbrook) Willowbrook Close, Melrose North PO Box 41632 Craighall 2024 Tel: (011) 447 9326, Fax: (011) 447 9838 Email: info@hgr.co.za www.hgr.co.za

Printing

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Join the Facebook community and become a fan of Home Goods Retailer. Stay up to date with the latest developments in the household goods retail industry, plus keep track of what the HGR team gets up to.

Copyright on all editorial in Home Goods Retailer is owned by the publisher and reproduction without permission is prohibited. The opinions expressed in Home Goods Retailer are not necessarily the views held by the editor or publisher. We reserve the right to edit – for purposes of space and clarity – all editorial material and letters submitted for publication.

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Home Goods Retailer – September 2009


Newsline: Geen & Richards

celebrates 100 years of distinctive quality Serving the aspirant upper end of the furniture market since 1909, Geen & Richards has become synonymous with products of distinction, hence its positioning statement “Your Distinctive Choice”, which is reinforced by a reputation of excellent customer service.

One of the original Geen & Richards stores. Home Goods Retailer – September 2009 

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Newsline: Geen & Richards Providing great, distinctive and exclusive furniture to their customers for 100 years and still ranking as one of the leaders in the furniture industry is certainly something for Geen & Richards (G&R) to boast about. The furniture store was established in 1909 after an association was formed between Thomas Richards and Herbert Henry Geen, who were well experienced in the furniture retail industry and ventured into their own business. The gentlemen opened their first store on the ground floor of 113 President Street in Johannesburg, selling locally produced furniture of great quality and exclusive to G&R. Within a year they were forced to move to larger premises on Market Street because the business was doing so well. As fashion trends changed, G&R evolved from exclusively traditional solid wood designs to the modern features of today’s mode, making it a store that caters for a selection of tastes. Today there are about 65 Geen & Richards stores countrywide, with another three scheduled to open soon in the Western Cape. The criteria for selecting furniture remain the same, however, and the company has kept to the values that Thomas Richards and Herbert Geen established from the outset. The century of growth and success celebrated by the current G&R team is a direct result of the legacy left behind by the founders, who are sadly no longer here to enjoy the fruits

of their labour and celebrate this milestone. Marketing executive Heidi Iori says, “G&R has always been a top quality brand in both furniture and customer service. Today, we continue to try to uphold and even improve on that standard so that the brand may live on and grow further. “Customers shop with us because we strive to offer a product that differs from our competitors. In store we create

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Geen & Richards – providing distinctive quality furniture since 1909.

The Ultimate in Fabric Protection MasterGuard+ has been operating in the fabric protection industry for over 20 years. We offer the finest fabric protection available. With people always on the go these days the last thing they need to worry about is the appearance of their upholstered or leather furniture, cushions, curtains, etc. With our specially formulated fabric protection, now you won't have to. This amazing protection prevents oil and water based stains from penetrating into the upholstery and fabrics, guaranteeing ease of cleaning and giving you peace of mind. Proud supplier to

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GHOORS INTERIORS salutes

on reaching an astonishing 100 years. We congratulate the management and staff on this massive milestone and look forward to helping them achieve another 100 years of success and growth.

Ghoors Interiors stocks an exclusive selection of beautifully crafted imported furniture that appeals to discerning buyers who understand style and quality.

GHOORS INTERIORS • 36 Western Boulevard, City West, Johannesburg, South Africa Tel: 011 492 2064 • 011 834 2540 • Fax: 011 833 4649 • E-mail: ghoorsint@telkomsa.net • smcg@worldonline.co.za


Newsline: Geen & Richards ◄

page 4  |  Geen & Richards

a complete image of a distinctive lifestyle to which our customers can relate and replicate in their own homes.” Customer service remains a major focus point at G&R, as management strives to continue improving service levels to meet ever-increasing consumer demands and expectations. “We have a dedicated management team that is committed and results-driven, while our staff are passionate about ensuring that G&R remains a premium brand by providing the best service available,” says Iori. Despite being part of the larger furniture retail group Ellerine Holdings Limited, Iori says the G&R brand continues to maintain and improve on the exclusive identity it has established over the last 100 years. “Our focus on differentiation through product design, quality and service, together with a progressive marketing strategy, has enabled us to avoid overlapping strategies within the merged group. “Additionally, a consistent internal and external communication strategy on the brand essence, together with supplier relationships and their understanding of the brand is crucial to retaining the identity’s uniqueness. “We realise and appreciate that there are many people out there looking for something different for their homes and we take pride in being able to offer styles of furniture that are unique in design and exclusive to us.”

The corporate identity may have changed, but Geen & Richards’ distinctive quality and excellent customer service remain the same.

92 Snapper Rd Wadeville Ext 2 Germiston 1401

& DESIGNERS

Turn key store development Design Project management Shopfitting Drywall partitioning Ceilings Display & exhibition stands Painting specialists Cabinet making Interior & exterior signage TEL:

(011) 827-0626

FAX:

(011) 827-0661

E-Mail: ishraaq@shopfittersanddesigners.co.za devon@shopfittersanddesigners.co.za


RM

RIEGUT MARKETING and

A partnership of creating a new dimension in furniture design and innovation Riegut Marketing congratulates Geen & Richards on 100 years of unparalleled leadership and success in furniture retailing in South Africa. Riegut Marketing are honoured and privileged for having been granted the opportunity to expose and market our niche products through your chain.

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Riegut Marketing boasts an unmatched and most consistent performance in providing the best sellers in Geen & Richards, year after year after …

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RIEGUT MARKETING www.riegut.com

SHOWROOM / FACTORY

Corner Kelvin & Bunsen Street, Industria, Johannesburg P O Box 39338, Bramley, 2018 Tel: +27 (0) 11 474 6738 • 0861 RIEGUT (743488) Fax: +27 (0) 11 474 9590 • E-mail: sales@riegut.com


Newsline: Geen & Richards

Andre Schoultz There’s a new man at the helm of Geen & Richards, but he’s no newcomer to furniture retail or the Ellerines group. HGR questioned managing executive Andre Schoultz about his plans for the store.

What business and retail expertise do you bring to G&R? I have been in the furniture retail industry for more than 15 years, during which time I have been involved at all levels of management, learning a great deal from my subordinates, colleagus and superiors. I have been part of Ellerine Holdings’ executive team for the last six years.

Andre Schoultz – finding new ways of doing business while running a tight ship.

How would you describe your management and leadership style? I believe as a leader I have an understanding of myself and


Newsline: Geen & Richards

my strengths and limitations. This, together with a belief that almost anything is achievable through people, drives my team dynamics. As a leader I believe in challenging the “now” to create and build a better future. I am committed to the ongoing development of my team’s abilities and talents and persuading staff to go beyond the call of duty by obtaining their buy-in to the company strategy. Encouraging staff to achieve their goals is best done by finding innovative ways to create excitement and positive energy; as it is said, “leadership never happens in isolation”. What, if any, new strategies will you be implementing as managing executive? There are a set number of new strategies that the executive and management teams will implement. Increasing our store base is definitely one of them as we are continuously looking for new opportunities. Building on current strategies in respect of human capital, merchandise and marketing will remain a high priority. Our customer value proposition will focus on personalised distinctive service and style. Specific focus on implementation is key for the team.

Direct To Home Distribution, Impact Marketing and Promotions DIRECT MARKETING ASSOCIATION OF SA

Congratulations to Geen & Richards on 100 years in business! TEL: (031) 569 1017 • FACSIMILE: (031) 569 1086 E-MAIL: caroline@vibrantdirect.co.za www.vibrantdirect.co.za UNIT 1, 30 MORELAND DRIVE, REDHILL INDUSTRIAL PARK P.O. BOX 201800, DURBAN NORTH, 4016

How do you rate G&R’s performance in the current recessionary climate? Like many retailers, G&R has been affected by the recessionary climate. The brand has preformed acceptably given the current trading environment and will continue to focus on its strategy of growing the business. What, if anything, can furniture retailers learn from this recession? Perhaps the greatest competitive challenge companies face is adjusting to, and even embracing continuous change. Constant change means we must create a healthy discomfort with the status quo and an ability to detect emerging trends quicker than the competition. The recessionary climate has also shown us that we are capable of influencing events and finding new ways of doing business while running a tight ship on the cost side. How do you intend improving awareness of the G&R brand and increasing market share? Consistency will be key in our marketing this year, ensuring that our current and paid-up customers are exposed to our marketing offers on a regular basis. Database direct marketing will be a major focus, and we have identified a particular market segment to which we will be directing targeted marketing to build awareness and increase market share. These prospective customers will be reached through niche publications. We will continue with our print and catalogue distribution strategies as the majority of our consumers are still triggered by a visual range representation. What sets G&R apart from its competitors? Distinctive styling and exclusivity is the cornerstone of product selection at G&R. Passionate sales personnel who are more pedantic about quality than our customers raise the benchmark on finding quality imported products that are not available from our competitors. Highly impressive store displays create an environment that makes it easy for customers to visualise the product in their own homes. What can G&R customers look forward to in the coming year? A larger selection of contemporary furniture and lounge that caters for the smaller home, and a fresh approach to making accessory selections and occasional and accent pieces with the same attention to detail and quality that G&R is renowned for. The rollout of our new store concept will be extended to more stores and, judging from the response we have received from our customers so far, they enjoying a world-class shopping experience unmatched in our competitive environment.

Home Goods Retailer – September 2009 

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Newsline

Final countdown for Furnex Buying group Furnex has been granted a Section 311 of the Companies Act allowing it to offer a reduced compromise with its creditors of their claims, on the basis that the payment they will receive is more than they would receive on liquidation. This follows Furnex’s sudden announcement in June that it was ceasing to trade. The “announcement” took the form of a letter emailed to suppliers and members and, under the subject line “Furnex Restructure” stated that discussions were underway with “various interested parties regarding taking over the business of Furnex”. The move caught most suppliers and members by surprise, to say the least, and left many retailers unable to trade. Ascot Bedding and Furniture managing director Des Dussing says he received a call from someone in the Bravo Group, warning him that Furnex was having “computer problems”. “We were in the middle of a promotion at the time and couldn’t understand why we were unable to process payments. I immediately phoned Furnex, but no one would give me a straight answer. Then the letter arrived.”

Dussing says he is disappointed with the unprofessional manner in which the matter was handled. “I have had a long relationship with Furnex, and feel they haven’t played the game fairly.” Dussing was able to open direct accounts fairly quickly with larger suppliers and was soon conducting business as usual. Appliances for U managing director Danny Daniels was not so lucky. He says he made a mistake by committing to one buying group – Furnex – only. “We had no inkling that the company was in trouble. In fact, we received a visit from one of the Furnex directors just before the closure notice was sent, who said he was happy with our figures. He didn’t say a word about the company being in trouble or that closure was imminent.” Daniels says he was unable to make alternative arrangements with his company’s creditors, who are unwilling to do cash deals or open a direct account. “We have been struggling to trade and losing rebates as a result.” He strongly advises other retailers not to be a member of one buying group only. “Some suppliers have been helpful, but our

All things Wunder-ful launches in Cape Town in November Purveyors of luxury decor and design will experience pure shopping bliss with the launch of the new Wunders showroom in De Waterkant. Established in 1983, the family-owned business, which produces and manufactures only the finest quality upholstered furniture in South Africa, will complement its new decor emporium with premium, internationally sourced contemporary accessories. Emulating the iconic image of summer in the Riviera through the use of fresh vibrant turquoise, earthy tones in clean lines and varying natural textures, the new Wunders concept store will be refreshed seasonally to provide customers with current trends and inspiring designer pieces. The 200 square metres of exhibition space will form the backdrop of its seasonal showcase of new furniture collections. 10

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Home Goods Retailer – September 2009

Wunders produces fine-quality upholstered furniture.

bottom line has been severely affected.” HGR has been in constant contact with Furnex managing director Andy Simaan, who promised to provide an official statement once everything had been finalised. “I am still trying to save the company,” he said during one of numerous phone calls, and to this end had applied to the high court for a Section 311 of the Companies Act, which essentially is a scheme of compromise between a company and its creditors, where the creditors are asked to accept a reduced compromise of their claims on the basis that the payment they will receive is more than they would receive on liquidation. The court then calls a meeting of creditors to explain the scheme to them and to put the scheme to their vote. Should the compromise be approved by the creditors and sanctioned by the court, the winding-up order will be set aside and the company reinstated. The order was granted on 10 September. Despite repeated promises by Simaan to provide answers to HGR’s written list of questions, at the time of going to print he had still not responded.

New IT partner to improve Lewis relationships Lewis Group has partnered with IT Naledi to improve its game in service provider relationships. IT Naledi is to service the group’s 560 branches nationally to boost staff proficiency and meet stringent timetables. Lewis Bellville store manager Edroy Lewis says he welcomes a system that will enable him to work faster. IT Naledi dispatches one multiskilled technician to solve myriad technical problems. The partnership will also enable the furniture retailer to better manage its overheads. “There are no hidden costs in the monthly invoice,” says Lewis information technology manager Gareth Hawkey.


Newsline

Court provides clarity on debt review process

Dick Behrens – retail credit providers now have clarity The North Gauteng High Court has ruled in favour of an application by the Furniture Traders Association (FTA) and eleven other respondents, including the “big four” banks, that debt review applications require a formal hearing and argument in a magistrate’s court. The ruling comes after the National Credit Regulator (NCR) brought an

application before the court to resolve continued uncertainty over how debt review requests are brought before the Magistrate’s Courts. The NCR argued that applications to restructure repayment obligations for an over-indebted person should be a cheaper and simpler admini­ strative process than going to court. In his judgment, Judge Du Plessis ruled that the debt review process requires certainty and should be dealt with in terms of the Magistrate’s Court Rules applicable to formal application procedures. The court also ruled that penalties and interest accrued by a person defaulting on debt could not exceed the amount owing. FTA executive director Dick Behrens says that this ruling has provided much-need clarity for credit providers, specifically those in the retail industry. “In the past, a consumer who owed R5 000, for example, ended up paying

R35 000 because of interest and other extra charges. The new ruling effectively caps other charges at the original R5 000.” Eric Levenstein, an attorney for the four big banks, believes all credit providers will welcome the judgment. He agrees that the process specified by Judge Du Plessis – that applications should be dealt with in terms of the Magistrate’s Court Rules – is technical, but says applicants will now have ensure they cross all the Ts and dot all the Is. “I think credit providers have started to realise it’s not in their interest to challenge debt counselling applications on the strength of technicalities,” says NCR’s senior manager for Education and Strategy Peter Setou. The ruling will give the legal process a kick start and strengthen efforts to eliminate the backlog, which will mean less finger pointing from credit providers.

Massmart growth declines, but management remains bullish Massmart remains optimistic about growth prospects in South Africa and other African countries, despite posting posted a 4.6 per cent decline in headline earnings for the year to June. Comparable sales growth for the company was also lower, from 11.9 per cent in the first half to 4.5 per cent in the second, but operating profit grew in both halves, rising 5.1 per cent to R2 billion before foreign exchange movements. Total sales rose 10.7 per cent to R43 billion, while comparable store sales increased by 8.2 per cent. CEO Grant Pattison is “satisfied” with the company’s performance, considering that this is the first recession South Africa has had to go through in 17 years. “We are weathering the economic storm with our strategic, operational and long-term growth prospects intact, and we have gained market share in all our divisions. “We are responding to the short- term environment challenges, but remain confident in the underlying strengths of the

group and are excited about the medium to long-term potential in our markets, both in South Africa and the rest of Africa.” The company plans to open ten stores in Africa in six to seven years at a cost of about R100 million each. The group has about 20 stores in 13 African countries, but these operations have the potential to grow to 50 per cent the size of its South African operations. Currently, 91 per cent of Massmart’s revenue is earned in South Africa.

who is stealing from us, but hardened, well orchestrated criminals.” “Despite the economic downturn, Game stores are continuing to grow not only in store numbers, but also in profitability,” Pattison points out. “Our Game shops are doing well, both in South Africa and outside the country.

Crime dents profits Pattison says the recession has sparked an increase in crime at its operations, marked by an uptick in fraud, store robberies and shrinkage, which has also negatively affected profits. “The recession has emboldened criminals. Not only has crime escalated, but we have also seen a pattern in the type of crime that is hitting our stores. It is not your average Joe Block on the streets

Grant Pattison – satisfied with results. Home Goods Retailer – September 2009 

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Newsline

The new Wetherlys outlet in Woodhill, Pretoria offers the very best in home design. Residents of Woodhill in Pretoria are in for a treat following the opening of a new Wetherlys flagship store at the Parkview Shopping Centre.

Wetherlys opens in Woodhill Boasting an impressive 2 929 square metres of floor space, the store is split into two well-laid out levels, filled with a plethora of beautiful and exclusive furniture, accessories, curtaining, linen and gifts. The outlet caters for every decorating mood, from contemporary to classical, to the very stylish Osiers cane furniture. “The store has huge windows which provide beautiful views of the Woodhill Golf Estate, making our patio section extremely eye-catching and creating the feeling of being outside,” says store manager Sean Weimann. “We’re also excited to be one of the first Wetherlys stores to offer a new and exclusive range of toys specially imported from Paris, France. Additionally, our kiddies section has a wide range of furniture and accessories designed to grow with the child as they move from babyhood into their teens.” Wetherlys managing executive Eugene Beukes says the brand offers one of the most recognisable and unique styles in

South Africa. “At Wetherlys we constantly focus on the needs of the market and the brand has become synonymous with innovative quality furniture and accessories. Pretoria customers can visit our new store knowing that all their décor requirements will be satisfied. “We also have specialist staff on hand, such as in-store decorator Stephan du Plessis, who will assist them in coming up with wonderful ideas to decorate their homes.”

Megan van der Westhuizen, Miems Coetzee and Top Billing’s Hayden Sortman at the opening of Wetherly’s new store in Woodhill, Pretoria.

400 disabled learners become mobile The lives of 400 children with physical disability changed recently when they received brand-new wheelchairs worth a total R1.2 million from Game Stores and Vodacom. Over the last eleven years more than 4200 wheelchairs worth R8.4 million have been handed to deserving school children as part of the Game and Vodacom wheelchair drive. The funds are derived from the donation of an equal percentage of the profit on every Vodacom cellphone contract sold and every prepaid activation at all Game stores. The National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa is also a partner in this ongoing initiative. Its role is to identify youngsters with the greatest need for a wheelchair with the help of their provincial offices around the country, giving priority to disadvantaged schoolchildren. The SABS-approved wheelchairs are custom-made to suit the needs of each child from specifications provided by their therapists. This means they provide more support for the child than a standard wheelchair, which gives them greater freedom of movement and helps prevent further deterioration in their posture. All are folding models and some have special 12

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Home Goods Retailer – September 2009

features like elevating leg rests, adjustable back and arm rests, wide front castors and tray straps. The conditions where the children live are also taken into account by the manufacturers. This is particularly important in rural areas where the terrain is uneven. “It is a constant challenge to provide support for people with disability throughout the country with the limited resources available to us, particularly during an economic downturn,” says the council’s national director Johan Viljoen. “These annual donations are an enormous boost to our organisation, and for each individual child who receives their own new wheelchair it is a wonderful gift.” ‘We are thrilled that we have been able to offer this life-changing experience to so many youngsters once again, especially in the current economic climate,’ says Game managing director Jan Potgieter. “We appreciate how difficult it is for those unable to walk to attend school without a wheelchair and it is heartwarming to know that hundreds more youngsters are now equipped to obtain the same benefits from their education as their non-disabled classmates.” Vodacom Foundation CEO Mthobi Tyamzashe says, “We are specially privileged to be part of improving the lives of people

Among the 400 school children who received a brand-new wheelchair from Game and Vodacom were Preston Naidoo (AM Moolla Special School), Zama Khanyezi (Ethembeni School) and Cameron Eyles (Children with a Challenge). Celebrating with them are (back left to right) Wanda Matandela (Vodacom), Tyrone Vieira and Ann Hansen (Game) and PB Singh ( KZN Association for Persons with Disabilities). with disability through these wheelchairs. We trust that they will make a significant contribution to the efforts of the recipients to reach their full potential. We also thank Vodacom customers for their purchase of cellphones through our national chain Game, which has enabled us to make this donation.”


Newsline

Pleasing SDA sales for Amap, but total revenue drops Alan Coward – hopeful for 2010. Amalgamated Appliances is “pleased” with its small domestic appliances sales for the year to June 2009. Whilst year-on-year revenue was slightly lower, gross profits grew marginally and the brands maintained their respective market shares. The launch in May 2009 of housewares under the Russell Hobbs brand generated good feedback from consumers and the retail trade and all indications are that the introduction of this new product category bodes well for the future. Despite these achievements, the company posted a 35 per cent reduction in revenue, down from R1.6 billion to R1 billion, which it attributes to changing the method for the sale of consumer electronic goods. Additionally, operating loss increased to R71 million from R7.3 million in 2008. “The need to discount the Intellipower power inverter range of products had the most significant impact on the business,” says CEO Alan Coward. “The downturn resulted in reduced demand on the national electricity grid and power outages ceased. Consequently, gross margin declined from 18.3 to 14.7 per cent for the year.” Fierce competition forced Amap to change its model of selling consumer electronic products to the retail trade. The company no longer procures and warehouses product based on market research or demand, but now only places orders on a back-toback basis. This change resulted in substantial short time, layoffs and retrenchments at the group’s appliance factory in Pinetown and electronics factory in Atlantis, stock clearance sales and forex losses. Restructuring costs incurred amounted to R7.8 million. Negotiations with various interested parties were initiated for the sale of the Tedelex Manufacturing, Tedelex Properties (Atlantis) and the Atlantis TV factory operation, a division of Tedelex Trading. Amap has also embarked on a programme to outsource its electronics service operations. In spite of the trading conditions Amap was able to generate R230.7 million through working capital improvements. Cash generated by operations amounted to R152.9 million. “We are confident that the business will continue to generate cash through inventory control, overhead savings and the benefits of improved product category selection that has been implemented,” says Coward. Although trading continues to be tough, Coward is positive about the future. “Restructuring has resulted in a lower overhead base, positive cash generation and a virtually ungeared balance sheet. Significant inroads have been made with new product categories and initial indications of an export drive into Africa have been encouraging. “The prospect of lower interest rates will have a positive impact on consumer spending in the categories of goods in which we trade and the 2010 Soccer World Cup is also expected to increase general demand for consumer durable goods. In light of this, we expect to improve operational performance in the new year.”

CEA Recruitment CON SUMER ELECTRONICS & APPLIANCES We invite candidates interested in the positions listed below or looking for a career move to submit their CV in confidence.

MARKETING MANAGERS, PRODUCT/ BRAND MANAGERS, MARKETING CO-ORDINATORS • Diploma/degree in marketing • Must have relevant proven experience • Understanding of marketing, advertising and media related functions • Sales and promotion planning and implementation • Candidates must be articulate, analytical and have strong presentation skills • Product procurement and relevant administration • Consumer electronics industry experience an advantage

SALES MANAGERS, REGIONAL MANAGERS, KEY ACCOUNTS, SALES REPRESENTATIVES • Relevant sales and marketing experience/qualification • Successful sales background • Customer orientated, shop front support • Industry experience an advantage • Strong negotiation and communication skills • Must be able to identify new business opportunities and expand on customer base • Product knowledge training • Good administration, planning and organisational skills • Computer literacy (MS Office)

ADMINISTRATIVE POSITIONS Office/Sales Administrators, Data Capturers, PA’s / Secretaries Credit Controllers, Debtors Clerks Shipping Clerks, Warehouse/Stock Controllers Using a specialist recruitment agency that understands the market and which will dedicate itself to discussing your needs and searching for suitable candidates is of importance. With CEA as your partner, you will have taken the first step towards a successful recruitment drive. Enquiries: Cherry Swanson Cell: 082 780 7976 Tel: (011) 463 1177, Fax: 086 501 5059 e-mail: cearecruit@mweb.co.za PO Box 71876 Bryanston 2021


Talking Points

Aussie prof exposes the  Across the globe, companies large and small are scurrying to make their operations and products “greener” in an attempt to reverse global warming and thus help save the planet that experts tell us we are so rapidly destroying. But not everyone is panicking. Ian Plimer, professor of mining geology at Adelaide University in Australia strongly believes that humans are being taken in by the biggest con trick in history and sets out to prove it in his book, Heaven And Earth. The following excerpt from an article by James Delingpole, published in UK publication Spectator (11 July 2009), outlines why Plimer’s arguments are garnering so much worldwide attention.

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Home Goods Retailer – September 2009

“The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archaeology and geology,” says Plimer, and while his thesis is not new, you’re unlikely to have heard it expressed with quite such vigour, certitude or wide-ranging scientific authority. Where fellow skeptics like Bjorn Lomborg or Lord Lawson of Blaby are prepared cautiously to endorse the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) more modest predictions, Plimer will cede no ground whatsoever. Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory, he argues, is the biggest, most dangerous and ruinously expensive con trick in history. “I’m a geologist. We geologists have always recognised that climate changes over time. Where we differ from a lot of people pushing AGW is in our understanding of scale. They’re only interested in the last 150 years. Our time frame is 4,567 million years. So what they’re doing is the equivalent of trying to extrapolate the plot of Casablanca from one tiny bit of the love scene. And you can’t. It doesn’t work.” What Heaven And Earth set out to do is restore a sense of scientific perspective to a debate which has been hijacked by “politicians, environmental activists and opportunists”. It points out, for example, that polar ice has been present on earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time; that extinctions of life are normal; that climate changes are cyclical and random; that the CO2 in the atmosphere –

to which human activity contributes the tiniest fraction – is only 0.001 per cent of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life; that CO2 is not a pollutant but a plant food; that the earth’s warmer periods – such as when the Romans grew grapes and citrus trees as far north as Hadrian’s Wall – were times of wealth and plenty. All this is scientific fact – which is more than you can say for any of the computer models turning out doomsday scenarios about inexorably rising temperatures, sinking islands and collapsing ice shelves. Plimer doesn’t trust them because they seem to have little if any basis in observed reality. “I’m a natural scientist. I’m out there every day, collecting raw data. And that’s why I’m so skeptical of these models, which have nothing to do with science or empiricism but are about torturing the data till if finally confesses. None of them predicted this current period we’re in of global cooling. There is no problem with global warming. It stopped in 1998. The last two years of global cooling have erased nearly 30 years of temperature increase.” One of the things that so irks [Plimer] about modern environmentalism is that it is driven by people who are “too wealthy”. “When I try explaining ‘global warming’ to people in Iran or Turkey they have no idea what I’m talking about. Their life is about getting through to the next day, finding their next meal. Eco-guilt is a first-world luxury. It’s the new religion for urban populations which have lost their faith in


Talking Points

  great climate change con trick Christianity. The IPCC report is their Bible. Al Gore and Lord Stern are their prophets.” Heaven And Earth is the offspring of a pop science book Plimer published in 2001 called A Short History of Planet Earth. It was based on ten years’ worth of broadcasts for ABC radio aimed mainly at people in rural areas. Though the book was a bestseller and won a Eureka prize, ABC refused to publish the follow-up; so did all the other major publishers he approached: “There’s a lot of fear out there. No one wants to go against the popular paradigm.” Then someone put him in touch with a tiny publishing outfit in the middle of the bush – “husband, wife, three kids, so poor they didn’t even have curtains” – and they said yes. Plimer couldn’t bring himself to accept an advance they clearly couldn’t afford. But then something remarkable happened. In just two days, the book sold out its 5000 print run. Five further editions followed in swift succession. It has now sold 26 500 copies in Australia alone – with similarly exciting prospects in Britain and the US. There’s even an edition coming out in ultra-green Germany. Reading Plimer’s Heaven And Earth is at once an enlightening and terrifying experience. Enlightening because, after 500 pages of heavily annotated prose (the fruit of five years’ research), you are left in no doubt that man’s contribution to the thing they now call “climate change” was, is and probably always will negligible. Terrifying, because you cannot but be appalled by how much money has been wasted, how much unnecessary

regulation drafted because of a “problem” that doesn’t actually exist. Has it come in time to save the day, though? If there’s any justice, Heaven And Earth will do for the cause of climate change realism what Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth did for climate change alarmism. But as Plimer well knows, there is no a powerful and very extensive body of vested interests up against him: governments like President Obama’s, which intend to use “global warming” as an excuse for greater taxation, regulation and protectionism; energy companies and investors who stand to make a fortune from scams like carbon trading; charitable bodies like Greenpeace which depend for their funding on public anxiety; environmental correspondents who need constantly to talk up the threat to justify their jobs. Does he really believe his message will ever get through? Plimer smiles. “If you’d asked any scientist or doctor 30 years ago where stomach ulcers come from, they would all have given the same answer: obviously it comes from the acid brought on by too much stress. All of them apart from two scientists who were pilloried for the crazy, whacko theory that it was caused by a bacteria. In 2005 they won the Nobel prize. The ‘consensus’ was wrong.”

Prof Ian Plimer – expressing an alternative view on climate change.

Home Goods Retailer – September 2009 

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Small Domestic Appliances

Tefal Quick Cup for hot and cold water

Slim and shiny Nespresso CitiZ range delivers on all fronts

Within three seconds of the press of a button, the Tefal Quick Cup draws up 220ml of water (about the capacity of a mug) through an integrated filter, heats it (saving up to 65 per cent compared to a standard kettle) and dispenses it directly into a cup. Not only is just enough water heated for each cup, but it passes through a filter to ensure it contains less chlorine and lead. The Quick Cup also produces a glass of cool water at the touch of a button and is safe enough for children to use. The energy efficient Tefal Quick Cup.

The Nespresso CitiZ&Milk includes a built-in fresh milk frother.

The Nespresso CitiZ is a single-head automatic espresso machine.

The new Nespresso CitiZ machine range takes its inspiration from the streets of major cities. The colours of well-known focal points and objects, the design and shapes of buildings and landmarks, and the urban vibe and attitude of cities have fused together in the minds of Nespresso machine designers and given way to the birth of CitiZ. For the first time, Nespresso is launching a range of machines simultaneously, which include the Nespresso CitiZ – a singlehead automatic espresso machine, and the Nespresso CitiZ&Milk – a single-head

automatic espresso machine with a built-in fresh milk frother. Designed in a slim format to easily fit into smaller urban spaces, the machines evoke an urban vibe and have a daring style. Like all Nespresso machines, the range contains the technologically advanced Nespresso patented extraction and brewing system, which controls all the elements needed to create the perfect coffee. Additionally, the entire CitiZ range is equipped with an automatic standby mode to reduce energy consumption.

Mellerware, Caturra partnership brings Arezzo capsule coffee machine The Arezzo capsule coffee machine from Mellerware, in association with Caturra Coffee, uses the coffee motion system of closed capsules to make perfect espressos in seconds. “The operation is quick and easy,” says Steve Stewart of Mellerware distributor Creative Housewares. “Simply click open the top of the coffee machine and insert a Caturra capsule, close the lid and press the button. The result is an espresso with a perfect crema that would satisfy the most discerning coffee connoisseur. For those who prefer a weaker espresso, allow the machine to run a bit longer for an Americano. “When making another cup, simply open the lid and the previous capsule conveniently slides into the back and drops into an extractable tray,” he continues. “The tray discreetly holds the empty capsules 16

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Home Goods Retailer – September 2009

which can be thrown away later for plastic recycling. The capsule system ensures exact quantities, making wastage and mess a problem of the past.” The Caturra capsules are individually hermetically sealed to ensure the coffee stays as fresh as the day it was ground. “Consumers may wonder how to obtain a stronger or weaker blend with a capsule system,” says Stewart. Caturra has addressed this with its range of three blends with 14 capsules per box.” Intenso is blended from Guatemala, Brazil and India, and is the recommended blend for a full-bodied, strong coffee. With a hint of acidity it has a lingering taste with a dense and strong aroma. Largo offers a delicious blend of coffee from Mexico, Brazil and India, with a cereal hint and a smooth texture. Mellow in the mouth, its character is reinforced by a hint

The Arezzo capsule coffee machine is available with three blends of coffee. of acidity. If prepared with milk it is a perfect combination. Descafeinado is 100 per cent decaffeinated coffee from Colombia, Brazil and Vietnam, made guaranteeing that the coffee maintains its main characteristics, while obtaining a creamy full-tasting cup of coffee. Capsules are available from most major retailers and online at www.caturracoffee. co.za and www.edreams.co.za.


Small Domestic Appliances

Who can resist a good looking Italian? The name De’Longhi is synonymous with great coffee! Made with the best of Italian technology, De’Longhi offers a range of automatic coffee machines to produce the best cups of filter coffee, espresso and cappuccino to be found. With De’Longhi coffee makers, it’s possible to tailor a cup of coffee to suit each individual taste. De’Longhi Single Touch Digital Magnifica, Model ESAM6600 A digital programmable menu allows adjustment of coffee strength and temperature and even size of cup. Patented auto-cappuccino system gives perfect cappuccino, Latte or even Italian Macchiato with a single touch. Features: Quiet burr grinder, cup warmer, removable water reservoir, removable milk container, removable used coffee container, one to three hour automatic shut-off.

De’Longhi Magnifica Pronto Automatic Coffee Maker, Model ESAM3500 The Pronto makes it possible to personalize every cup, with size of cup, strength of coffee and even temperature. The Automatic Cappuccino system gives perfect cappuccino at the touch of a button. Features: Quiet burr coffee grinder, 15 bar pump, cup warmer, uses coffee beans or ground coffee, detachable milk container, one to three hour shutoff.

De’Longhi Combi Coffee Maker, Model BCO 261 This three-in-one De’Longhi coffee maker produces perfect filter coffee, excellent espresso and with a unique De’Longhi ‘cappuccino system’, gives great cappuccino. Features: 10 cup filter coffee capacity, 15 bar pump, stainless steel boiler, flavour selector. De’Longhi, combining Italian reliability with style, is imported by Kenwood Appliances. For more information, phone 011 474 1053. Home Goods Retailer – September 2009 

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Small Domestic Appliances

Kenwood all set for summer sun fun After a cold, not to mention financially challenging winter, consumers are looking forward to enjoying a little fun in the warm summer sun, which in South Africa usually means entertaining at home with friends. “Because most consumers’ budgets are still tight, when it comes to purchasing food appliances in tough economic times, they tend to stick with brands they know they can trust,” says Kenwood managing director John Irving. “The fact that Kenwood is the number one food preparation brand in Europe, and ranks at the top end of the scale in South Africa clearly shows that our kitchen appliances are viewed as being synonymous with quality and reliability.” In addition to the company’s long standing leadership position in the kitchen machine, food processor and blender categories in South Africa, with many Kenwood Chefs still working after several decades, and some even being passed on from mother to daughter, Kenwood also offers numerous solutions for fun food preparation this summer with its range of smoothie makers, ice cream makers, juicers, water filters, bread makers, coffee machines and more. A good example is the Smoothie2Go, a compact smoothie maker that comes with two 500ml plastic goblets, complete with dispensing lids that turn the goblets into handy travel mugs.

smoothie immediately at the breakfast table, take it to work, or store it in the fridge to enjoy later. It’s great for those keen to stay healthy while leading a busy lifestyle.” Healthy eating is increasingly important to today’s consumers, who are becoming more discerning about the ingredients contained in the food they purchase. “Which is why our breadmaker is so great,” says Irving. “Not only does it give consumers total control over what goes into their loaf, but it also means a healthy cost saving, as the average home-baked loaf of bread costs almost half of a storebought one, and tastes better too.

Kenwood’s Disney singing toaster sings the Disney theme when the toast pops up. Another fabulous appliance that will excite and appeal to any Disney fan is the popcorn maker, which prepares a delicious bowl of popcorn in just a few minutes. “What better way to enjoy family time together than over a bowl of fresh, hot popcorn and a Disney movie?” says Irving.

The Kenwood breadmaker provides fresh, healthy bread in less than an hour. “Simply pop the ingredients into the breadmaker, press the button and follow the easy steps on the LCD display for fresh, healthy bread, in less than an hour,” he explains. “A choice of 15 programmes gives users an array of possibilities, including a light, medium or dark crust. Setting the timer will enable the breadmaker to start making the bread in the early hours, so users can wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread. Additionally, the one hour ‘keep warm’ setting keeps the bread warm, should they decide to have a lie-in.” 

Not forgetting the children The Kenwood Smoothie2Go makes nutritious smoothies for people on the run. “The Smoothie2Go makes refreshing, healthy smoothies quickly and conveniently,” says Irving. “Pour a nutritious 18

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Home Goods Retailer – September 2009

breakfasts, parties or fun desserts, this brilliant appliance will be loved by both adults and children. Kids can also wake up to Mickey’s face on their toast with the Disney toaster.

Kenwood’s range of Disney themed products ensures lots of fun for kids during summer. The Disney waffle maker is subtly embossed with the classic Mickey Mouse, and transforms ordinary waffles into the charming face of everyone’s favourite mouse. Perfect for magical family

No oil is needed when using the Kenwood popcorn maker. The cute Disney Ice Cream Maker also features a Mickey Mouse-themed design and can make up to 1.5 litres of ice cream in 30-40 minutes, while the Disney smoothie maker only needs a few seconds to provide a delicious, refreshing milkshake on a hot summer day. “Thinking about the kitchen means thinking Kenwood, suppliers of quality food preparation appliances for more than 60 years,” Irving concludes.


Small Domestic Appliances

Thinking Kitchens? Think Kenwood! For over 60 years, Kenwood appliances have been the preferred kitchen machines for thousands of homemakers, world wide. Kenwood, a leader in the small appliance field, has produced innovative, efficient and easy-to-use kitchen appliances to ensure that time spent in the kitchen is shortened. With Kenwood, food preparation becomes a pleasure.

THREE OF THE BEST THE ULTIMATE KENWOOD The KENWOOD TITANIUM MAJOR, MODEL KM020, is the ultimate mixing machine. The Major has a 1500 watt motor that can handle every mixing task from beating egg whites, to mixing bread dough and fruit cakes. The 6,7 liter stainless steel bowl has twin handles for ease of use. Stainless steel mixing tools include a K-beater for general mixing, a Whisk for light, fluffy mixtures and a Dough Hook designed especially to handle yeast mixtures, and a flexi-beater that scrapes down the sides of the bowl during mixing. A 1,5 liter glass liquidiser is included with The Titanium Major, and there are other optional attachments available to turn the Major into a complete food preparation centre. TOP-OF-THE-RANGE FOOD PROCESSOR The Kenwood legend of excellence in food preparation continues with the top-of-the-range KENWOOD MULTIPRO LIBRA FOOD PROCESSOR, MODEL FP950. An upright design means all attachments operate directly from the motor, and this processor takes up little space on the work surface. With the 1000 watt motor and large capacity bowl, chopping, slicing, shredding, mixing and mincing are made easy. An outstanding feature is the built‑in ‘easy weigh’ digital scale that allows

ingredients to be weighed directly into the work bowl. The scale can also be used to pre-weigh ingredients. The Kenwood Libra has all the bits and pieces needed to simplify your life in the kitchen, including a 1,5 liter glass liquidiser, mini bowl, multi mill, maxiblend canopy, citrus press, centrifugal juicer, and more. KENWOOD PROSPERO HAS IT ALL The KENWOOD PROSPERO, MODEL KM264, is a domestic kitchen machine for family use. It is ideal for a variety of simple food preparation tasks. The Kenwood Prospero has compact design, 900 watt motor, variable speed, 4 liter stainless steel bowl, planetary action for thorough mixing and three mixing tools to perform every mixing need. While attachments vary from model to model, the range of attachments included with the KM264 include a 1,5 liter acrylic liquidiser, a 1,4 liter food processor with citrus juicer accessory and a centrifugal juicer. Also included are a splash guard and a CD ROM with 90 recipes. For more information about Kenwood Appliances, phone 011 474 0153 and speak to the Kenwood Brand Manager, or go to www.kenwoodworld.com and click on South Africa.

Kenwood Multipro Libra Food Processor, Model FP950

Kenwood Titanium Major, Model KM020

Kenwood Prospero, Model KM264 Home Goods Retailer – September 2009 

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Small Domestic Appliances

Tefal toaster also boils or poaches eggs

The Tefal Toast ‘n Egg prepares a wholesome breakfast in four minutes. The Tefal Toast ‘n Egg needs only four minutes to prepare eggs and toast, while keeping bacon in the warmer for precooked meats. The versatile design of the Tefal Toast ‘n Egg features an egg poaching tray

for muffin-sized cooked eggs, a steamer tray for cooking hard boiled eggs, two wide slots for toast, muffins, croissants or even bagels, and a warming tray for heating pre-cooked meats. The all-in-one countertop appliance comes equipped with a crumb tray, measuring beaker, an egg piercing pick for boiled eggs and convenient cord storage. The Tefal Toast ‘n Egg is perfect for moms who want to send children off to school with a proper breakfast every morning, or for the busy professional on the go with no time to fuss. Either way, it’s a must-have kitchen appliance that will change the way breakfast is prepared in the morning, dispelling the myth that it requires hours of slaving over a hot stove.

Philips provides freshly squeezed juice in an instant

The Philips citrus press is compact and dishwasher-safe.

Vitacuisine provides a nutritional meal ever y night of the week

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Home Goods Retailer – September 2009

Simple to use, easy to run and dishwasher safe, the Actifry cooks an entire meal – be it meat, vegetables or fish – all at once with a single spoonful of oil. Light fluffy chips for the whole family can be made quickly and efficiently, with no pre-heat time required. Using only a fraction of the oil, the chips are cooked to perfection with merely three per cent fat.

The Tefal Actifry is billed as the next-generation fryer.

LG bakes bread in the home

Delicious homemade citrus juice are quickly and easily prepared with the Philips citrus press. Thanks to its compact design the citrus press can easily be stored and all parts are dishwasher safe, thereby saving time washing up.

Besides offering a healthy way to steam the Vitacuisine from Tefal features the added function of a vitamin booster, allowing users to cook a meal within minutes, while retaining 50 per cent more of the nutrients compared to conventional cooking methods and 20 per cent more than other steamers. New tri-steam technology enables the three-in-one steamer to use all three stations simultaneously without compromising or mixing flavours. For example, mussels, vegetables and fruit – perhaps pears with a warm chocolate sauce – can be cooked at the same time. Additionally, the ‘automatic keep warm’ function keeps the food heated until serving time.

Tefal Actifry a must for all kitchens

The Vitacuisine is perfect for consumers who lead busy lives but want to prepare healthy family meals.

LG Electronics’ all new breadmaker brings deliciously warm, fresh bread straight to consumers’ homes. Compact and lightweight the breadmaker is stylish enough to keep on the countertop. It offers a number of settings from which to choose with varied cooking times, making it possible to bake anything from basic bread to speciality breads and even cakes.

The LG breadmaker


Small Domestic Appliances

Creative Housewares appointed Morphy Richards distributor Small appliances manufacturer, supplier and distributor Creative Housewares has been appointed official South African distributor of the Morphy Richards appliance brand. Sold in more than 40 countries, the 70-year-old Morphy Richards brand is owned by the Glen Dimplex group, the world’s largest manufacturer of electric heating appliances. “After 15 years in the South African market Morphy Richards has developed a reputation for exceptional products and outstanding quality,” says Creative Housewares managing director Justin Fenn. “The brand’s innovative designs and high manufacturing standards have established it as a market leader. “The product’s user-friendly appeal is coupled with a stylish and contemporary look,” he continues. “From irons, kettles, toasters and coffee makers Morphy Richards constantly aims to provide products that make everyday tasks easier. Each product is carefully designed to provide exactly the right combination of

functions to get the job done.” Creative Housewares also distributes in-house brands Mellerware, Monix and Mallory as well as international labels Dyson, Aqua Optima and GreenPan. Mallory is positioned to the price-sensitive consumer while the Mellerware contemporary and executive ranges offer a high-quality product at an affordable price. Fenn says the inclusion of the aspirational Morphy Richards now completes the Creative Housewares offering, ensuring a full spectrum of life-enhancing products to the market. “The premium market in appliances has had few offerings of true excellence, but this will change with Morphy Richards’ quality, design and innovation. It is our intention to bring these missing aspects back into the premium market. “The two-year guarantee on the product range is not only a high reflection of the Morphy Richards brand, but also of the high quality expectation Creative Housewares places on its products,” he adds.

Justin Fenn – looking to appoint Morphy Richards retailers. Creative Housewares will be looking for key retail partners to distribute the brand which, says Fenn, “need to have the same passion and vision for the brand as we do”.

New look for ear th-friendly SA favourite, Sod

The Sodastream Jet Machine Sodastream, the home soda system that has been a staple in South African kitchens for many years, is making a comeback with funky new machines and a greater range of drinks that is set to provide consumers with a better and more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional bottled beverages. As the world turns green and focuses its attention on pressing environmental issues, Sodastream has repositioned itself as an earth-friendly brand, dedicated to reducing, reusing, recovering and recycling through its innovative soda

system that ultimately saves energy and limits the number of bottles in the environment. Gone is the old-fashioned Sodastream machine and in its place is a range of elegant, new drinks-makers, featuring the most advanced technology and stylish, modern designs that make these machines at home in any contemporary kitchen. The Sodastream system is easy and fun to use, especially for youngsters. It offers a variety of 18 healthy and natural flavours, including ten family favourites, three sugar-free flavours, two isotonic sport varieties, two ice tea variants, the Xstream flavour (with guarana and vitamins to refresh and revitalise body and mind) as well as the option of the ever-versatile soda water. The Sodastream system is a costeffective alternative to commercial beverages in that it can be used anywhere, anytime in the comfort of the home and provides unbeatable value-formoney, costing just R1.55 per litre of soda water and as little as R3.42 per litre of fizzy

astream

drink. One 500ml bottle of syrup makes 12 litres of cold drink.

The Sodastream Red Genesis Machine

The Sodastream Pure Machine Home Goods Retailer – September 2009 

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Product Showcase

Lexmark Web -connected touch screen inkjets for SMBs a wor Lexmark’s 2009 inkjet all-in-one (AIO) printer range represents seven new printers ideal for the home office and small to medium-sized businesses. The professional series includes a five-year guarantee and consists of four models: • Platinum – top-of-the-line wireless four-in-one with 4.3 inch Webconnected LCD touch screen equipped with SmartSolutions, dual paper trays, automatic document feeder, energysaving Eco Mode button, integrated Business Card Scan solution and lowest black ink cost in the inkjet industry. • Prestige – wireless three-in-one with SmartSolutions touch screen and lowest black ink cost in the inkjet industry.

Three models make up the home office series, which comes with a three-year guarantee: • Interact – wireless three-in-one with SmartSolutions touch screen.

Interpret – compact wireless four-inone for office productivity.

Impact – compact wireless three-in-one for everyday tasks.

Prevail – wireless four-in-one with advanced networking capability.

Prospect – wireless four-in-one with integrated business card scanner.

customisable productivity features such as group faxing, scan to e-mail templates and more. ID card copy – scan the ID card and print both sides on a single sheet of paper; cuts up to 50 per cent paper usage of this everyday task. RSS feeds – business, weather, sports news, a company intranet, or whatever else the user wants to access via RSS is available directly on the touch screen and can even be emailed directly from the printer.

The entire line of products features the patented Vizix print technology which includes separate ink cartridges, fast speed and impressive quality. With the Vizix system, users replace only what ink needs replacing. Across the range customers can select high-yield black cartridges to extend the life of the ink. •

ld first

Lexmark’s myTouch capacitive 4.3-inch touch screen technology incorporates easy-to-read graphical icons for basic functions and as-needed navigation for a more user-friendly experience. Lexmark has also introduced its awardwinning enterprise workflow solutions, SmartSolutions, to SMB customers at more affordable price points to save them time and money and enhance efficiency. Examples of current widget-like, customised solutions include: • Shortcuts and workflows – time-saving

New features take print further While all products in the range share the same print speed, quality and wireless capability, there are a host of additional features that users can choose from: Eco Mode automates two-sided printing, faxing and copying, saving businesses up to 50 per cent of their paper usage and lowering overall costs. Business card scan automatically uploads contact information to the most commonly used address book applications, ideal for business users looking to save time, eliminate clutter and organise their desks. Low cost-per-page delivers the inkjet industry’s best mono printing cost. Since SMBs typically print black and white documents, professionals can purchase the lowest black printing cost in the industry, with high-yield black cartridge replacements and enjoy long-life ink performance.


Product Showcase

LG’s ultimate wide screen phone creates a new mobile experien The highly anticipated new Chocolate mobile phone from LG Electronics, the LG-BL40, has been released to retailers worldwide. With the introduction of its bold new shape, the new Chocolate is essentially reinventing the way consumers view and use mobile phones. Designed with sleek sophistication, the strikingly unconventional four-inch wide screen opens up an enlarged and more optimal space for on-the-go computing, allowing for an entirely new mobile experience that raises the bar of innovation. Users will see things differently with the widened 21:9 panoramic display that establishes a new level of visual comfort for the reading of web pages and e-mail, and dramatically brings videos and games

ce

to life with cinematic flair. Going wide also and we are confident that the new Chocolate will create its own legacy allows for the dual screen era to finally and further enhance our standing in be brought to handsets for enhanced the market.” usability which, when combined with LG’s upgraded and intuitive S-Class UI, brings a whole new meaning to the words “user-friendly”. “The new LG Chocolate will dramatically change the way we interact with our phones,” says LG Electronics South Africa marketing director Dr Michelle Potgieter. “The phone reflects the originality and sophistication of the Black Label Series Give consumers a taste of new chocolate with the LG-BL40.

Acer SA unleashes TravelMate 8000 Timeline series

Acer South Africa’s new TravelMate 8000 Timeline series, a line-up of ultra-thin professional notebooks designed to offer up to eight hours of battery life with no compromise to performance, are now available locally. “With these new TravelMate models, users can experience the optimal balance of performance, mobility, productivity and energy consumption,” says Acer South Africa business development manager John Geypen. “These notebooks can keep busy professionals productive for an entire working day on a single battery charge, thanks to the combination of low energy consuming components on which they are built.” The notebooks are based on the recently introduced Intel ultra-low voltage (ULV) processors - the Intel Core 2 Duo processor and Intel Core 2 Solo processor - and LED-backlit displays to

offer incredibly long battery life and the same performance offered by standard notebooks. In addition, users can simply press the Acer PowerSmart key to enable Acer PowerSmart Management and apply advanced settings to extend battery life or boost performance, according to their needs at any given time. Even the power adapter in the TravelMate 8000 is more energy efficient than other notebooks - its adaptive charging mode automatically stops consuming power when the battery is fully charged, saving energy and reducing heat. The TravelMate 8000 Timeline series is available in three formats: 13.3, 14 and 15.6 inches. Irrespective of the screen size, each model in the range presents razor-sharp images and enhanced readability thanks to the WXGA LED backlit display with 16:9 aspect ratio, 1366X768 HD resolution and high brightness. Depending on the model, the TravelMate 8000 notebooks come with dedicated or integrated graphics solutions. The TravelMate 8000 notebooks are just about one inch thick and ultra-light, with weight ranging from 1.6kg of the 13.3inch model to just over two kilogrammes for the 15.6-inch model. Acer’s Thermal

Comfort cooling technology, which uses Intel Laminar Wall Jet technology, means the new TravelMates can be used on one’s lap for as long as is needed without overheating. 3G, Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth connectivity options are available, depending on the configuration one opts for. The Acer Video Conference solution, including the Acer Crystal Eye high-def webcam and built-in microphone enables high-quality video conferences so that users can stay in touch with contacts. The TravelMate 8000 notebooks address security concerns with a range integrated features designed to protect the valuable data they house. The Acer Backup key makes it quick and simple to duplicate data to a location of the user’s choice, while Acer Bio-Protection fingerprint solution secures the system from unauthorised access. Enhanced Acer DASP (Disk Anti-Shock Protection) technology insulates the hard disk, providing protection from the wear and tear of usage on the go. The TravelMate 8000 series comes preinstalled with Microsoft Windows Vista Business; it will also be available with Windows 7 Professional when released by Microsoft. Home Goods Retailer – September 2009 

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Product Showcase

Hisense

continues to fly high One of numerous branches located worldwide, TV and household appliances supplier Hisense South Africa’s vision is to pursue the study of consumer electronics for the development and advancement of current and future technology. “There are exciting times ahead for Hisense South Africa as we prepare to launch the all-new Ultra slim LED TV in January 2010,” says director Jerry Gu. “Hisense is a leading consumer electronics brand in China and the South African Team is working very hard to communicate the benefits of our products to the South African market.” Acknowledged for its superb quality and precision, Hisense is also one of the only brands to receive the prestigious quality control award in China in 2001. “This advantage helps keep our product returns to a minimum,” says Gu.

According to a recent report in Business Day, Hisense South Africa is projecting growth and profits of up to US$100 million this year – half of which will be from southern Africa. The company’s projections for business could double compared to last year. Almost eight months into the year, the volume of business has reached $65 million, while for the whole of last year it totaled $60 million. “We are very encouraged by this trend and we believe that as we grow and find partners to work with, we will be able to grow into other regions on the continent,” says Hisense manager for the Africa division Robert Si. “The South African operation is growing particularly well in Africa because it serves a huge Southern African Development Community market.

Jerry Gu – “exciting times ahead”.

Air conditioning, LED televisions and refrigerators are just some of the products supplied by Hisense South Africa.


Product Showcase

Livescribe SmartPen never misses a word Anyone who has ever been in a situation where note taking is required will appreciate everything that the Livescribe can do. Using dotted paper technology that allows the pen to track its own motion, the SmartPen The Livescribe smartpen records gives the user the abileverything the user hears and writes. ity to record audio from a meeting, lecture or interview while taking notes. When the notes are reviewed by touching the pen to any word, symbol or marking made on the page, the SmartPen will play the audio that was recorded at the exact moment that text was written. So if a lecturer says something important, all the user

need do is write a note or even just make a squiggle on the page, and the SmartPen will bookmark and play back what was said the exact moment the mark was made. Users need not worry about a meeting dragging on for hours, as 1GB equals 100 hour’s worth of recoding time. When the Livescribe is plugged into a USB port on a Mac or PC all pages are instantly uploaded where they can be viewed as visual interactive documents in which the hand-written text can be searched for keywords, notes shared online and even converted PDFs or Flash movies. The pen also has the ability to draw a sketch and make verbal notes or instructions while this is being done. When uploaded to a PC, the sketch will be drawn live on screen with voice (or audio notes) overlaying the picture as it is redrawn in real time. OCR software from Vision Objects allows the handwritten notes to be converted directly to text without wasting time recapturing electronically what has already been written.

eMachines offer simple, affordable solution for home computi The eMachines EZ1600 PC is a perfect entry-level solution for users looking for a simple, compact and ergonomic computer that caters for Internet applications and basic home computing tasks. This family-friendly all-in-one PC takes up far less desk space and looks more elegant than a traditional PC plus monitor solution, yet offers good enough performance to cater for most home computing Internet and productivity applications. Acer South Africa business development manager Eric Blom says: “Whether users are into the Internet (social networking, VoIP, emailing, browsing and other online activities) or basic computing (word processing, photo/video viewing), the eMachines EZ1600 is the perfect solution for their needs. The blend of affordability, simplicity and ergonomics makes it a great second computer for the home, or an ideal first computer for an entry-level user.” The all-in-one EZ Series fits the desktop PC and an 18.5inch widescreen LCD monitor into a gorgeous and spacesaving package with the convenience of one-cable setup. The eMachines EZ1600 PC features an Intel Atom N270 processor, Windows XP Home, up to 2GB DDR2 memory, and a 160GB SATA hard disc drive. The integrated LCD screen is an 18.5inch widescreen display with 16:9 aspect ratio and 720p HD resolution. The machine also features a SuperMulti DVD-ROM, multi-

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in-one card reader and embedded high-definition audio. The full-size keyboard slides under the easel-styled PC to save space when the eMachines EZ1600 is not in use. Thanks to the ultra-low-power Intel Atom processor, optimised component placement, and a mechanical and fanless design, the eMachines EZ1600 runs whisper-quiet at all times and consumes minimal power. Built-in Gigabit Ethernet or Wi-Fi 802.11b/g connectivity makes connecting to the Internet a snap.

The eMachines EZ1600 PC’s blend of affordability, simplicity and ergonomics makes it a great computer for the home.


Product Showcase

Philips extends

Bikini Perfect range to keep women looking gorgeous

Following the success of the original Bikini Perfect, Philips has extended the range to include two new models, the Body Perfect (HP6379) and the Satinelle Soft Total (HP6509). The Body Perfect is an all-in-one personal grooming set that combines all the benefits of other grooming products in one to offer a flexible and precise hair removal appliance. Featuring an ergonomic design for easy handling, the Philips Body Perfect comprises six grooming attachments to keep brows, face, underarms and bikini line fuzz-free: • Precision trimmer for the perfect bikini line • Bikini comb for styling and sculpting the bikini line • Precision shaver for quick, on-thespot hair removal • Epilation head for long-lasting hair removal • Micro trimmer or fine hairs on the face or brow line • Eyebrow comb for the perfect brushed-through brow

Satinelle Soft Total

The Philips Body Perfect offers all-in-one personal grooming.

The Philips Satinelle Soft Total leaves skin silky smooth for weeks.

This new system removes hairs from the root, leaving skin silky smooth for weeks, not days. The Satinelle Soft Total comes with a unique set of first-time user attachments to help users achieve the best results and is the perfect epilation starter set for the whole body with a two-speed setting and washable eplilation head. Its hair lifting attachment ensures that hairs are first lifted, even the short ones for an extra close epilation. The wavy massage system relaxes the skin for a gentle hair removal. The extra shaving head and comb attachment perfectly fits the contours of the bikini line or underarms for a close and smooth shave.

interchangeable heads are small and easily manoeuvrable, allowing for great results and creativity in hard-to-reach areas. The Bikini Perfect can be used wet or dry and is rechargeable with onehour use. All three products in the range are equipped with Philips’ patented Mini-trim technology to provide highly flexible, precise and visible, yet gentle hair removal. New Mini-trim is a patented solution that uses only four (instead of six) parts magnetically rather than spring-mounted. The new technology offers more precision and control and increased visibility throughout the hair removal process.

Bikini Perfect (HP6371) Featuring an ergonomic design for easy handling and two grooming attachments – the Bikini precise and gentle trimmer and the Bikini hygienic trimming comb – users can trim, shape and style the bikini area, as the

The Philips Bikini Perfect trims, shapes and styles. Home Goods Retailer – September 2009 

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Technology Focus

Presenting a solution to soaring retail connectivity costs As retailers with several branches continue to pay considerable sums for their telecommunications, recent technological innovations such as least cost routing and voice over IP have not delivered the expected savings. Graeme Victor of voicebased telecommunications solutions company Du Pont Telecoms explains why this is so and suggests solutions.

The advent of least cost routing (LCR) and VOIP (Voice over IP) heralded an era of significantly reduced connectivity costs for multibranch retail stores that need to connect each store not only to their customers and suppliers, but also to their head office and other branches. But, says Victor, the benefits of these advanced LCR and VOIP technologies often come at an unexpected price in terms of connectivity quality and actual savings achieved. LCR takes advantage of the fact that landline-to-cell phone calls are expensive while cell-to-cell calls are considerably cheaper. By installing an LCR solution, calls to cell phones are automatically routed via a SIM in the LCR box over the least expensive connectivity option.

“That’s the theory and it works well in environments with high call volumes because charges for LCR solutions are usually based on bundles of minutes negotiated with a cellular network operator,” Victor explains. “But if a branch doesn’t utilise sufficient minutes to qualify for bundle rates, LCR might not be as costeffective as expected or desired.” Consequently, growing numbers of retailers have turned to VOIP solutions. They direct their branches’ voice traffic over their IP network to the head officebased LCR router so as to benefit from call economies of scale – higher call volumes translate into lower per minute bundle charges. Victor points out, however, that the quality of VOIP calls is seldom comparable to that of landline telephony calls. “Throw in the suspect quality of cell phone calls and the VOIP solution could result in degraded call quality. Additionally, the volume of voice traffic over the retailer’s IP network may lead to severe bandwidth congestion, negatively affecting data traffic as well. Investing in more bandwidth is expensive and could well wipe out any savings achieved from the LCR solution.” The answer, he maintains, is the implementation of a virtual LCR SIM solution. In a conventional LCR set-up, the LCR device or router with the cellular network provider SIM is housed at the premises from where the calls are made. In the VOIP scenario, the SIMs are hosted centrally, and the calls are routed over the IP network to the centralised LCRs in what is

Graeme Victor – a virtual LCR SIM solution the answer for retailers. often referred to as a “SIM farm”. The virtual LCR SIM scenario is similar in that the SIMs are hosted centrally. That’s where the similarity ends, however. “Effectively what happens in the virtual solution is that data about the SIM is transmitted over the IP network, rather than the voice call itself. The actual voice call breaks out to the cellular network from the location where the call originated, rather than from the centralised site. “Retailers therefore benefit from economy of scale savings on call volumes without suffering any degradation of call quality or the problems associated with a congested IP network.”


Gallery

Ascot Bedding and Furniture adds freshness to fusion at Decorex Ascot Bedding and Furniture embraced the challenge of thinking along linear and lustrous lines when it came to establishing an exhibit concept for Decorex 2009. Focusing on the “new fusion” theme depicting the exotic yet homely, old world entangled within a new world genre, the retailer set out to deliver a picture-perfect setting. “Appreciating the target market that frequents Decorex, we wanted to create an experiential stand that captivated all the elements of the fushion theme,” explains Ascot Bedding and Furniture CEO Leopold Dussing. Considering the concept of a room with a view, the Ascot team created a picture frame showcasing the latest mattress and furniture for a bedroom that served as the

focal point in marketing and promoting the brand. Attention to detail was key, as each facet required in making up the eyecatching stand was thoroughly researched to communicate a message to Decorex visitors. Although the expo only ran over a fourday period, the interest and popularity of the stand was well received by visitors and exhibitors. In line with the theme of the Ascot stand, each client was handed an Ascot presentation DVD that clearly outlined the company’s services and product offerings. While the economic situation in South Africa dictates that customers hold tightly on to their purse strings, Ascot Bedding and Furniture has maintained a consistent and steady growth in revenue, says

People on the move New sales director at Creative Housewares

Aidan de Vos – new sales director at Creative Housewares. In recognition of his consistent hard work over the years Creative Housewares has appointed Aidan de Vos sales director of the company. De Vos joined the small appliances manufacturer, supplier and distributor in February 2005, when its stable consisted

of little more than one brand and 35 products. Today this number has grown to seven brands and just under 200 products. “De Vos’s relentless drive has been a significant contributor to this success,” says CEO Justin Fenn. De Vos modestly emphasises that his achievements are the result of teamwork and successful relationships with Creative Housewares’ customer base. His persistence, which he describes as “doggedness, like a little bull terrier that grabs at your ankle and never lets go”, has certainly sniffed out growth opportunities for the company, resulting in exponential growth year on year. De Vos’s professional career began in the hardware retail industry, from where he moved on to wholesale within the power tool sector. After eight years he felt it was time for a change and joined Creative Housewares as regional sales manager for Gauteng and surrounding areas. De Vos believes there are three pillars to ensuring future growth within Creative Housewares: “Surrounding ourselves with dynamic out-the-box thinkers, striving to do things differently in the market, and maintaining the group’s energetic approach to product, category and brand expansion programs. This will ensure that Creative Housewares continues to

Ascot Bedding and Furniture’s stand at Decorex 2009. Dussing. “Our recipe is to focus on service deliverables, which often leads to repeat business. We also align our company to opportunities such as Decorex where we know our product offering will meet our target market’s needs.”

provide stylish yet affordable lifestyle enhancing products that add value to consumers’ lives. “My hope is for Creative Housewares to excel at a growth rate that exceeds our current plan,” he continues. “I would like to see the staff grow with the company – and have fun while doing so – and I want to ensure that we, at any given time, have a staff complement with the necessary skills and tools in place to continue with the expansion programme should any one of our team move on.”

LG appoints new CE director LG Electronics has welcomed Ryan Hooker to the company as its consumer electronics director. Hooker was previously with PepsiCo Ryan Hooker – International, LG’s new consumer where he electronics director. worked for 14 years. He brings with him a wealth of experience gained particularly from the beverage industry with portfolios that included sales, marketing and special projects. Home Goods Retailer – September 2009 

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Diary

imm Cologne – Germany ’s top international furniture platform

As the first event on the global trade fair calendar, imm Cologne offers the best prerequisites for introducing new products to an international audience. Life in the home is changing. The distinctions between kitchen and living room and bathroom and bedroom are becoming increasingly fluid. Factors such as lighting, textiles and accessories are becoming more significant in the new furnishing worlds. As a furnishings trade fair, imm cologne 2010 will impressively present these

trend themes from 19-24 January and all indications are pointing to a successful trade fair. Registration is looking good despite the difficult situation in the industry. “We are currently assuming that we will again have around 1000 exhibitors from over 45 countries,“ says Koelnmesse CEO Gerald Böse. “Germany needs a strong leading trade fair and that is imm Cologne, which in the coming years is set to be Europe’s most cutting-edge furnishings and interior design trade fair. By fulfilling all market-oriented criteria, it offers optimum prerequisites for business and networking on an international scale.“ Visitors will find a completely new accentuation of the design theme in Pure Village in hall 3.2. Here the trade fair is creating a stage where exclusive design objects and creative interior design

concepts will be presented with equal impact. In hall 3.2 the highlights from the trade ranges, including lamps and textiles, will come together in the direct vicinity of the furniture in the Pure segment (hall 11) and the ideas of the Forum d3 Design Talents (hall 3.1). Hall 9 has grown continuously in recent years with the “sleep” area. Important new exhibitors have been gained in mattress manufacturers Houben, Bico and Swissflex. A central component of the hall is again the presentation of the Trade Association of the Mattress Industry, which will declare the “Year of Good Sleep” at imm cologne. In halls 5, 6 and 10 imm Cologne will show the entire range of upholstered furniture in comfort. For the first time, the entire Steinhoff group will be presented at the event. Particularly in the consumer-oriented area of the trade fair, visitors will see new marketing concepts that will give the right impetus even at the point of sale.

Grand Designs Live coming to SA As a TV show, Grand Designs brings stylish yet accessible home renovation and design solutions to viewers around the world. A massive international hit, millions of enthusiasts tune in to watch some of the most impressive and ambitious household projects come to life. Now the magic of this series is coming to Johannesburg – Grand Designs Live is an exhilarating exhibition that covers it all. Built on the success of the multi-award winning UK consumer event, Grand Designs Live takes place at the Coca-Cola Dome from 21-23 May 2010. The event promises to give South Africans the opportunity to be inspired, amazed and intrigued by the vast number of ways to turn a house into a home. “Grand Designs is not only a longrunning TV programme, it’s become a formidable international brand recognised by people all over the globe,” explains Grand Designs Live exhibition director Ben Gannon. “This initiative will make the exhibition something truly special and will spark some great ideas for visitors to create unique improvements in their own homes.” Featuring hundreds of South Africa’s 30

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Grand Designs Live has made an indelible mark on the hundreds of thousands of people who visited the show in London and Birmingham. Now it’s Johannesburg’s turn. leading companies, a comprehensive seminar programme, advice clinics hosted by leading industry organisations and fantastic features, Grand Designs Live will be so much more than a décor and design exhibition; it will set a new standard for innovation and inspiration. A comprehensive guide through the ins-and-outs of household improvement, Grand Designs Live will have a host of different shows under one roof, with six dedicated areas showcasing the best in interiors, technology, build/DIY, kitchens,

bathrooms and gardens. “Exhibition space is only available to participants with exceptional products or who are established leaders in the fields being exhibited,” Gannon continues. “This is to ensure that a superior experience is enjoyed by both exhibitors and visitors to the event.” “Grand Designs Live is going to be something totally fresh,” promises Gannon. “Expect a whole range of new opportunities, designs, innovations and concepts. And expect it to be the best.”


Publisher's Comment

Value for money must be the mantra It’s been a long, hard, bitter grind these last months. The recession, which we were once assured by the local ‘experts’ would be ‘shallow’ and not too destructive, has proven almost intractable. Unemployment figures continue to rise and despite the slashing of interest rates over successive monetary policy meetings, consumers have stubbornly refused to bite. Once bitten and all that …. So retailers have had to endure some of the toughest economic conditions for many, many years. Even such industry stalwarts as Furnex, one of the top buying groups, has been a sad casualty. Recessions however, and this one is no exception, offers opportunities to those who are simply more cost efficient and marketing orientated. Value for money – that is, and has been, the name of the game. And those retailers which have demonstrated awareness of this fundamental requisite, have stood out over the competition. In general consumers want to buy the best they can afford. However, as the belt tightening process has increased in tempo, so consumers have been forced to look for products which although not the most desirable brand, yet which offers genuine quality at a competitive price. And backed up by the best service possible. Aspirational products have been put on the back burner – temporarily we would hope – and those retailers who have understood this trend, and acted on it, have been the most successful. Nevertheless, the nature of the beast remains market share, and South African retailers have been obsessed with this forever. Today this cannot be pursued at all costs. Not if a retailer wishes to remain viable. Durable goods sales have declined substantially, so now is the time for focused marketing and value for money. Deals with stressed suppliers can be made for the benefit of the consumer, the retailer and the supplier. It can and should be done. Nevertheless, there are comforting signs that the rate of decline is slowing quite rapidly. Salaries have been increased by between 8 and 10%, lower inflation and interest rate cuts augur well for Christmas. Looking globally there is every reason to feel we are slowly, very slowly pulling out of the recession. Our economy is tied in with consumer spend, so Christmas is a good time for retailers and suppliers to combine to offer deals which consumers find impossible to refuse. Ian Hughes

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HGR - September 2009