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THE GREEN ROOM Home Laundry & Garment Care: Manufacturers push the boundaries of laundry appliance technologies

DIGITAL RADIO George Cole provides an update on the Digital Radio market


Beko outlines the opportunities for retailers selling built-in appliances

ON TEST The Bosch Athlet cordless vacuum cleaner

BACKCHAT A 2-minute interview with Connect Distribution’s Martin Depper

NEW FOR 2015


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INSIDE... 04 06 16 18 17 Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33 Magazine Advertising Sales: Brian Shilling Telephone: 01892 677 741

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Advertisement Production Administration: Will Dobson Telephone: 01342 850 456

Editorial & Publishing Director: Terry Heath Telephone: 01420 886 33

Production and Print: Blackmore Press, Shaftesbury, Dorset

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the publisher. Get Connected is published by Mud Hut Publishing Ltd, Greyfriar Cottage, Winchester Road, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire GU34 1SB.

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Editorial Comment The Word In and around the industry

The Product Gallery The Knowledge Beko looks at the benefits of Built-in Appliances and provides ‘top tips’ for retailers

The Green Room Home Laundry & Garment Care: Things just keep getting better…

On Test GC’s hands-on experience with the powerful Bosch Athlet vacuum cleaner

Digital Radio Feature An update on the Digital Radio market from the industry’s main players

George Cole Gets Connected Get ready for the first Ultra HD Blu-ray products, says GC’s CE guru

Talking Retail The benefits of stocking a lesser known consumer brand

From the Bench Alan Bennett on innovations that could be good for dealers and customers

Backchat A 2-minute interview with Connect Distribution sales director Martin Depper SEPTEMBER 2015 GET CONNECTED





lbert Einstein knew a bit about the potential of new ideas, and that quote has a particularly current resonance in our industry, expressive as it is of the havoc that technology – both in the products and in the means of bringing them to market – can wreak in the wrong hands. We seem to have been dwelling a lot on change over the past few months, and it might appear that we are gloomily suggesting that technology has been seized by a mad axeman who is wildly hacking away all the certainties and values on which the electrical business was built. That’s not the intention, and spreading gloom and despondency through the industry is neither useful nor realistic for anyone who works in it (including the trade press.) But there is no getting away from the fact that change – and in particular the wholesale adoption of and addiction to technological development – is affecting livelihoods that ten or fifteen years ago looked settled and secure for life. The Internet, social media and the dominance of the smartphone as a constant companion, advisor, entertainer and – sadly – best friend, have changed the way we shop, because they’ve changed the way people see themselves and, crucially, the way they interact (or avoid interaction) with other real, living and breathing people. Since selling things is always, at some stage, about interaction, that means the theory and practice of “how to sell” has to change. Because, in the retail selling arena, “interaction” doesn’t any longer necessarily mean “human interaction.” That this is a preoccupation in the industry at the moment is clear: last month’s editorial comment on the subject triggered a bigger than usual reaction from the readership (see page 7). In any case, trying to ignore it, and carrying on with the old, tried and tested ways even when there’s evidence they’re no longer working, is not an option.

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Witness, for example, the way has grown rapidly to absorb an appreciable piece of the white goods market, and is currently running a TV ad campaign featuring the speed and convenience of internet mouse-clicking to get your distress purchase appliance at home, installed and working, within 24 hours. Who’d have thought that a process of buying major domestic appliances that involved no showroom visit, no looking at or touching any product, and no talking to any retail advisor, would ever be well on the way to becoming “normal”? Interestingly, the consumers depicted in the ads have some idea what they’re after (even mentioning a brand name, probably on the strength of an AO/ manufacturer deal that benefits both parties), and their main concern is to get the problem solved very quickly. Classic distress purchase, 21st century style. There are humans involved on the supply side of the process. The nice people at the warehouse who pick the appliance especially for the individual consumer; and the nice delivery people who call ahead in advance to say they’ll be arriving within the hour. All service. No sales – at least not sales in the traditional, accepted sense. So “gloom and doom” is not our intention. Gloom and doom awaits those who don’t talk about it, not those who face it. How we deal individually with the mad axeman who’s determined to use technological change as a murder weapon will always be an individual choice. But the objective will always be to keep the axe away from him, and use it to build the future.

”Gloom and doom awaits those who don’t talk about it, not those who face it.”



Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

Database independently audited by Firgrove Consultancy. Average net 10 issues: 5,927 Mar 2012 – Feb 2013

De Dietrich Core and Premium ranges are now available ex-stock and come with a free 3 year parts and labour warranty* * On all Dietrich domestic appliances registered within 30 days of purchase in the UK. Telephone: 0844 847 7641

In Warranty Repairs Telephone: 0844 847 7641

Call us on 0844 557 3750 for more information.

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“It is NOT all doom and gloom. There are challenges out there, and there are also opportunities. It’s a case of GOYA and take them!”

CAN ANYBODY DISAGREE? Sometimes GC’s editorial comment page touches a nerve in our industry, and last month’s provoked a particularly strong reaction. We’ve selected a couple of responses that illustrate the light and shade of the complex environment that is UK electrical retailing. John Reddington, director of Big Red Sales, writes: “In Eastbourne last week for a meeting I coincidentally parked outside ‘Pebbles’: 18 months old, clean, tidy and stocked to the gunnels with CDs and LPs, just like the old days. A specialist. “My eye was caught by the special speakers and cable he was using to play back the music. Discussions ensued. I spent £60 with him, asked what made him open the business and (after declaring my trade connection) enquired how he was doing. He was very positive and upbeat, and said he knew he could challenge the multiples (such as HMV, one of the better national stores.) He was set to double his first year’s turnover and was PROFITABLE. “In my Alphason days we enjoyed over 4,000 retail outlets selling our products, split almost exactly 50/50 between multiples and independents. I agree that a large percentage are now long gone from both sectors. But others have re-discovered their businesses and grown, changed and adapted to the new retail environment. We read about them in our trade magazines: Purewell; Stellisons; Woolacotts; Terry Dart;



E B Marsh; Lutterworth Sound & Vision; George Fry ... and of course I could name many more. “I must have been asked a hundred times why, since selling the Alphason business, did I bother to start up a completely new business in our notoriously low margin industry. The answers are simple: “I enjoy working in this industry and with the people that make up the various businesses. I particularly like to work with those who have an enthusiasm for swimming against the tidal flow and demonstrating that they know the business and retail sector. I find it very stimulating. Sadly, there are also a number who have ‘given up.’ “And in the case of Big Red Sales Ltd, whilst the various ‘accountants’ continue to downsize from the front end, reducing overhead and callage and increasing minimum turnover thresholds, Big Red has appointed well over 1,000 independent outlets (as well as some multiples) for manufacturers who know the value of face to face discussions, demonstrations and training. “It is NOT all doom and gloom. There are challenges out there, and there are also opportunities. It’s a case of GOYA and take them!”

these people are foregoing their John Lewis points, their credit card miles, their Visa wine tokens, just because they can save money. They have found parking spaces where normally Under the heading “Another they say there are none, they have one bites the dust,” Mike Swan sacrificed the experience of visiting of Leicester independent outlet Currys or John Lewis and talking to Around Sound writes: smart happy people who don’t really “Here I sit in my small but perfectly know and don’t really care, just to formed shop reading your small but save some money. superbly written magazine thinking “The fact is, most people don’t care ‘it’s not just me!’ Editorial Comment about us, service, tradition, aftersales page 4 August GC sums things up service; they just want a discount. I perfectly. have sold out of almost everything “We have been trading for 11 years and I have not stopped, but where and I guess I jumped on to the ride I published ‘we will close at the end just a little too late. No long-term TV of September’, it will actually be the rentals to line the nest, no service end of August because there will be staff to offer same day fixes, no prime nothing left. town centre position, just my wife and “Do you know what?, as they say, I, in a leafy suburb, offering a lifetime it’s great. The relief, not worrying of knowledge and enthusiastic service about the million and one things and recommendation for brands I love I did worry about to make sure and trust. my customers’ experiences and “And yes, we were appreciated. purchases perfect. Notawareness trying To leverage London Fashion Week inwere September to raise Whenever people wanted help, advice, to convince people to ‘do it properly’ of the campaign and encourage publication and sharing of the new service and coffee, they would come instead of trying to do it cheaply. logos. here. They love us, our small shop, our Knowing that I won’t have to check knowledge, our understanding ways, my Panasonic prices every week, first Create a ‘moment’ by hosting an exhibition event at The Hospital our patience to explain, sometimes against the Panasonic sell out sheet, gallery to unveil the Benthe Allen iconography to media, many times. The fact weClub could visit then Currys and JLP web sites. influencers onto theworry eve of about Londonhow Fashion Weekcolour SS16. them after hours, print out ‘hand and partners Not many written’ instructions, that it would options I need to stock on Bose cases be us if they came back next week or withand headphones, justartwork to make the Provide attendees a branded tote bag and postcards phoned next year. Yes, for sure, we 2 or 3 sales a month we picked up. as physical press materials, as well as digital press kits. were their favourites. Not to worry what new Sonos Play 1 “I have a superb page of they were going to sell ‘direct only’ to Opportunity to integrate LG laundry product into the event format testimonials and ‘we are so sorry’ stimulate the market. Not to worry... to ensure that the technology is central to guests’ experience and letters, following the publishing of our “I’m not sure what I’ll do next. partner. ‘We are leaving’ notices. aligning with any retailMy background is training and my “BUT, in the last 4 days since the experience is varied. I am deeply sorry Bensold Allenout andof a BFC spokesperson attend the event for notices went out, we have I will not betoenthusing to visitors to interviews,we and to be featured in the campaigninstalling video. almost everything, just because our shop or selling, and are discounting. delighting our customers, but as “I don’t believe for a minute all you ask at the end of your piece, can the sales are out of sympathy. No, anyone disagree?”


Why should your washing machine run the same wash for every load, when every load is different? Thanks to LG’s unique 6 Motion Washing Machines, consumers are able to care for their most delicate fabrics at home, from silk to woollens, and from sports wear to the luxury couture garments we see on the catwalks. This season LG has partnered with artist Ben Allen to make those laundry labels more memorable for consumers. For more information on LG’s 6 Motion Technology, visit




retail traffic dropped throughout August with figures 5.4% lower than in July, during which shopper numbers reached their summertime peak. Retailers in London felt the effect of tube strikes, with footfall in the capital and suburbs down 9.5% year on year in the first week of the month. Global retail and footfall consultant Ipsos Retail Performance, which compiles the Retail Traffic Index from the number of individual shoppers entering over 4,000 UK non-food retail stores, said more people heading abroad on holiday and a plateauing number of summer tourists also affected the figures. Ipsos is forecasting that footfall growth in quarter three of 2015 will stand at +1.1% year on year, in excess of the +0.1% figure achieved in quarter two. “The drop in footfall came as a surprise to us, especially following such a busy July,” commented Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance. “July brought with it the strongest year-on-year rise in any month for 11 years. A dip during August is always expected, with many people away on summer holiday, but not to the extent that we saw this month.” On a brighter note, Denison added: “I don’t believe that this month’s disappointing figures mean that retailing is returning to a state of volatility.”



ike-for-like retail sales fell 1.0% during August, compared to a 1.3% rise in the same month last year, while total sales grew 0.1% against a 2.7% rise in August 2014. The BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor showed that the Bank Holiday distorted the figures of sensitive back-to-school categories, but furniture and household appliances also experienced declines. Non-food sales

“The drop in footfall came as a surprise to us, especially following such a busy July...”

fell for the first time since August 2014. Online sales of non-food products grew 6.5% against 19.8% last year (the best performance of 2014). Growth was the slowest registered since April 2013, although the online non-food penetration rate rose to 17.2%, up from 16.3% in August last year. Helen Dickinson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium, said retailers will hope to recoup the sales deficit in September.


hop prices recorded deflation of 1.4% in August, unchanged from July and representing 28 consecutive months of declines. Non-food deflation accelerated further to 2.4% from 2.3% in July, marking the 29th month of falling prices in the sector, while food prices recorded annual inflation of 0.2%, up marginally from the 0.1% rise in the previous month. BRC Director General Helen Dickinson said the overall decline was a result of intense competition and falling commodity prices. Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight at Nielsen, said: "Consumer confidence continues to increase but many shoppers are still unable or unwilling to spend freely, so retailers are continuing to offer high levels of promotions and price cuts.” The underlying trend is for price deflation across both food and non-food retail. On a 12-month average basis, the Shop Price Index recorded deflation of 1.7%.


ales at Argos declined 0.4% to £897 million in the business’s second financial quarter covering the 13 weeks to 29 August 2015, with like-for-likes down 2.8% in the period. Sales of electrical products continued to decline, principally driven by TVs, tablets and white goods. Internet sales for the quarter represented 46% of total Argos sales, up from 44% for the same period last year. Within this, mobile commerce sales grew by 11% to represent 25% of total sales, up from 22% in the prior year. Net new space contributed 2.4%, with the store portfolio increasing by 52 shops to 840. The increase comprised 44 digital concessions within Homebase and 8 digital concessions within Sainsbury's.



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onsumer confidence in the UK gained momentum in August with the outlook for personal finances and the general economic situation bringing about a threepoint rise. GfK’s UK Consumer Confidence

Index increased to 7 during the month, with four of the measures used to calculate the Index rising. Joe Staton, Head of Market Dynamics at GfK, said: “Rising house price inflation and improving employment growth prospects,

combined with falling petrol prices and day-to-day living costs as well as low interest rates, are translating into high levels of confidence across all major measures. “Confidence in the future for both our personal financial and

general economic situation for the next 12 months remains strong – consumers now believe that UK economic recovery is robust, we’re in the black and that prospects for growth are fact and not fiction.”





ohn Lewis reported solid sales growth in the first half of its fiscal year, with gross sales of £1.94 billion and like-for-like sales up 3.0%, but operating profit fell by 16.3% to £47.1 million, impacted by restructuring costs, incremental costs for holiday pay and absorption of a greater share of centrally incurred functional costs. The figure also reflected costs associated with the ongoing shift in the channel and fulfilment mix due to omnichannel operations. The retailer said it continued to outperform both the BRC


and IMRG. The results were also achieved against a strong spring/summer season last year, with 2014 boosted by its 150-year anniversary promotions and exceptional demand for Electricals & Home Technology (EHT) products in the run up to the FIFA World Cup. EHT sales fell 0.7% against strong figures in the same period last year and were also impacted by a lack of new product launches in the home technology market. Gross sales at grew by 17.1% to £647 million.

for the stories behind the news...

ixons Carphone reported Group like-for-like revenues up 8% for its first fiscal quarter ended 1st August 2015, with the UK & Ireland posting a strong rise of 10% during the period. Revenues in the Nordics rose 4%, and while sales in Southern Europe were flat, the retailer reported improving trading conditions in Spain and growth in Greece, despite challenging markets. Sebastian James, Group Chief Executive, said: “Overall, a very good start to the trading year but I am aware that there is plenty of the year left to go.”

AREA SALES MANAGERS NORTH EAST AND NORTH WEST MIDLANDS Exciting career opportunities available with leading appliance and brown goods brands De Dietrich and NordMende. We are looking for experienced sales managers to join our expanding team in the U.K. You will be responsible for building relationships and developing major accounts in your region. These roles offer great career opportunities and the right people will progress very quickly. We offer a very competitive tailored renumeration package including additional benefits to attract the right high-calibre candidates. If you have what it takes to build brands and exceed sales targets then apply by

 Review your customer contracts ahead of Consumer

Rights Act 2015, warns law firm

 Cash on its way out?  Retail candidates pickier than ever  UK Warranty to extend insurer network

emailing your C.V. in confidence to: Wendy Judge Administration Manager AB Distributors Ltd. The home of De Dietrich and NordMende Appliances

 Britannia launches Partner scheme for indies  Apple chasing Fitbit for top position in wearables  Kick-starting the “world’s smallest” phone charger







G Sony has unveiled a ‘Made for Bond’ adve rtising campaign

starring Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, ahead of the release of the film SPECTRE. The ad follows a chase across London’s South Bank as Moneypenny fights off villains to deliver Bond’s Xperia Z5 phone, using tools including Sony’s compact RX100 IV Cyber-shot camera for surveillance. The campaign officially launches with the TV commercial airing in the UK on 1st October to 8th November 2015.


The promotion of ’s brand themes ‘Care’, centred on laundry, and ‘Taste’, centred on cooking, continues with the launch of a major Digital and Social Media campaign on the brand’s Grassroots Rugby activity. The campaign relates AEG Grassroots heroes’ stories, told via a series of webisodes narrated by AEG brand ambassador 2003 Rugby World Cup team member Will Greenwood. It will run on the AEG’s Facebook page until 31st October this year.

Beko has introduced an incentive offering customers up to

£200 cash back and a 2-year warranty with purchases of built-in appliances and American-style fridge freezers. The promotion runs until 31st October and is supported by a major TV advertising campaign airing until 18th October during prime time slots on ITV, Channel 4 and Film 4.

Hotpoint is running a ‘Love Your Food’ online

promotional campaign to celebrate the launch of its Ultima DAY 1 refrigeration platform, which maintains ‘day one’ food freshness for up to two weeks. The campaign will run until 14th October, during which time Hotpoint is offering a free small appliance worth up to £169.99 with the purchase of selected cooling and cooking appliances.



lobal e-commerce consultant Salmon is predicting that 27th November will be the UK’s first £1bn online shopping day. Four times as many UK shoppers plan to buy online during this year's Black Friday compared to the 2014 event, according to Salmon, whose experts also predict demand to “surge” before 27th November as shoppers have become wise to retailers listing sale items early. But the e-commerce firm warns that while Black Friday should be a positive day for retailers, they must ensure their businesses are prepared from the back end to front end. Last year a number of retailers were caught out when their systems failed to cope with the demand.

Salmon is urging retailers to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Estimate the volume of orders and site visitors Undergo capacity testing in advance Communicate full marketing plans across the business Agree operational roles and responsibilities Develop contingencies for volume surges



new study has shown that pop-up retail is worth £2.3 billion to the UK economy, and now accounts for 0.76% of total UK retail turnover, up from 0.6% last year, bringing an increase of more than £200 million in sales. Britain’s Pop-Up Retail Economy, the second annual report on the sector from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), commissioned by communications company EE, found that pop-up is growing much faster than predicted, with 12.3% more revenue this year versus 8.4% last year. According to the report, well established retailers and online-only brands are using

the retail format to test and expand into new locations and product lines. Britain is now host to an estimated 10,000-plus pop-ups and the sector employs more than 26,000 people. Ross Bailey, Founder and CEO of Appear Here, an online marketplace for short-term retail space, said the report highlights how important the pop-up sector is becoming to the UK economy. “With so many traditional retailers using pop-up shops and so many pop-up retailers moving onto long-term rents, we should no longer be looking to draw a line between traditional retail and pop-up retail – it is all just retail.”




olish appliance manufacturer Amica Group reported that its 2014 sales revenue increased 22% year on year to PLN 2,028,295,000 (c. £350 million). EBITDA and profitability grew in line with the main increases in revenue recorded in its home market of Poland, Germany and in the markets of southern Europe. The UK contributed some of the most dynamic growth, the company said – up more than 50% over the period. Simon Freear, Country Manager for the UK & Ireland, commented: “Consumer

awareness is growing, and with the new extended range of induction hobs, hoods and a new suite of cooking products, including double ovens in all fuels, the brand is poised to achieve great things in the UK and Ireland.” Significant growth of built-in categories and freestanding cooking was a key factor for growth in all markets. Amica said this was in spite of extremely variable macroeconomic circumstances in Eastern European markets and Russian currency depreciation.


esign consultancy Green Room has designed and delivered a multifunctional brand experience centre for BSH Home Appliances, bringing together its Siemens, Bosch and Neff brands into one ‘Home of Innovation’.

Green Room transformed 455 square metres of the BSH two-storey building in Milton Keynes into a versatile space showcasing the three brands and incorporating a state-of-the-art training facility and conference suite with

accompanying breakout areas for up to 100 candidates. The design demonstrates how the brands can be differentiated when presented side by side and sports a selfcontained gallery-style area to reflect each brand’s personality. The space is enhanced by integrated technology which instantly updates and delivers content to any screen throughout the showroom. A key feature of the technology is a motion-activated story-telling wall presenting brand features and narrative. Andrew Jones, Marketing Director at BSH Home Appliances, said: “The final execution brings to life our vision of creating a hands-on environment that empowers retail staff to know, understand and therefore sell the BSH home appliance brands more successfully.” Read the full story at



hares in Aga Rangemaster have been temporarily suspended as an agreement has been reached for the recommended offer tabled by US company Middleby. The news comes less than a week after Whirlpool withdrew its interest in the Leamington Spa-based business, following confirmation on 1st September that it had made an approach regarding a possible offer. Middleby Corporation offered a cash sum of £129.2 million for the range cooker specialist in July 2015. The acquisition follows Middleby’s 2013 purchase of the premium US brand Viking and is said to further strengthen its global reach and enhance its position as a leader in the premium segment for residential kitchen equipment. For Aga Rangemaster, the acquisition gets it out of a hole with regard to its pension obligations, which are said to have become a “significant constraint” on the progress of the Group.



ubscription-free satellite TV service Freesat has announced a “solid” half year, with in excess of 19,000 new homes added since January. Its Freetime connected TV service experienced 200% yearon-year growth in new customers, with increased awareness and understanding of the service resulting in sales rising 48% year on year in the first six months of 2015.

Moves Wiebo Vaartjes (pictured) has stepped down from his role as CEO of Gibson Innovations and will continue in a transitional role as a consultant with the company through to the end of the year. Gibson Brands CEO Henry Juszkiewicz will assume all responsibilities associated with the role on an interim basis. The John Lewis Partnership has announced a number of senior management changes and appointed Retail Director Andrew Murphy to the newly created role of Group Productivity Director. Murphy is succeeded by Online Director Mark Lewis, who takes on the role of Retail Director with responsibility for store and online operations. Dino Rocos, who has been with the Partnership since 1976, will assume responsibility for omnichannel customer ordering, contact handling and Health & Safety in addition to his current responsibilities for Supply Chain and Merchandising. Buying and Brand Director Paula Nickolds will become Commercial Director, and Marketing Director Craig Inglis will take up the new role of Customer Director.



Side-by-Side by Liebherr: the complete food preservation centre for the home Liebherr lead the World in home food preservation with the spacious Side-by-Side freshness centre incorporating BioFresh and NoFrost technology. Liebherr is committed to supporting electrical retailers and we offer a huge range of benefits including: Competitive display rates and display partner buying prices.

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eridian Audio’s co-founder Bob Stuart is to receive the CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. It will be presented to him at CEDIA EXPO 2015, which takes place October 14-17 in Dallas, Texas. He will be the first Briton to receive the accolade.

Bob Stuart at MQA Munich


his 1950s Electrolux vacuum cleaner, photographed in its original box and flanked by two new AEG models, has been located in Bedfordshire after a couple from Wheathampstead contacted AEG to announce they had the original LUX 1 Electrolux still in working order. Ian Ferguson and his wife Maggie said the appliance was bought in Ghana in 1959 by Mr Ferguson’s parents. It was shipped and stored in the Harrods repository until the couple moved back to the UK in 1960 and has been kept in the family since.



rescot-based Glen Dimplex Home Appliances bade farewell to one of its longest standing employees after fifty years of loyal service. Senior Sales Order Processing Representative Colin Short joined Stoves PLC on 31st August 1965 aged just sixteen and continued to work at the Prescot site after the brand was acquired by Glen Dimplex Home Appliances in 2001. “We are sorry to see Colin go, but he deserves to take things easy after 50 loyal years,” said Denver Hewlett, CEO of GDHA. Short (left) is pictured with GDHA Managing Director Jonathan Casley.


 SHORTCUTS Freeview and Digital UK have announced that the new Freeview Play connected TV service will launch in October 2015. The subscription-free service combines catch-up TV from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, on-demand services and live television, and works with all existing broadband services. Freeview will be supporting the launch with its all-time biggest TV advertising campaign.




Humax has partnered with internet TV network Netflix to provide easy access to the TV service across its range of set-top boxes in the coming months. The agreement will give Humax customers a greater choice of programming including immediate access to a wide variety of TV series, films, documentaries and kids’ titles. Electrolux has been named Industry Leader in the Household Durables category in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) for the ninth consecutive year. Miele has launched interactive ‘Taste for Design’ consultations, which replace the brand’s Let’s Do Lunch programme. The sessions have been developed to showcase the signature features of Miele appliances. They are available for kitchen studios and independent retailers to take advantage of with prospective customers. Currys PC World has appointed Luis Troyano, a former finalist of The Great British Bake Off, as its new ambassador. Connect Distribution has introduced a new retailers’ catalogue for 2016. The 376-page, full colour publication contains sections on Floorcare, Home Appliances, Heating & Cooling, Electrical, Lighting, Hardware and Multimedia. Buying and marketing group Euronics has added three exclusive iRobot vacuum cleaners to the Euronics Agency line up, courtesy of Danish company Witt, which distributes the products in the UK market. Gorenje has invested in the CRM system Salesforce to streamline its UK service. The new system will allow the team to access a broad range of information about its customers in order to provide enhanced service and targeted support. Britannia Living has appointed JJO plc as exclusive distribution partner for its Britannia, Bertazzoni and BEST Designer Cooker Hoods brands. Amica UK & Ireland has appointed Dublin-based distributor Origo to supply its products in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Roth AV has appointed Milton Keynes-based distribution group Bright Red Ltd as its exclusive distribution partner for the UK retail sector. Smeg has opened a new 30,000 sq ft warehouse in the Midlands to complement its existing 120,000 sq ft logistics base in Portsmouth. The Coventry complex includes plans for further expansion in 2016.





Compact yet powerful, the LG MUSICflow P7 is a lightweight portable Bluetooth® speaker. It can be controlled via the MUSICflow Bluetooth® player app from up to 3 devices and paired with another P7 for extra sound! You can also currently get a free coloured bumper case on promotion. Contact your LG sales representative today and get hold of this summer sizzler.


GORENJE BY STARCK COLLECTION BOUND FOR UK MARKET Gorenje has unveiled a new design line in collaboration with renowned French designer Philippe Starck. The reflective glass and stainless steel finished collection incorporates cooking and cooling appliances and will be available in the UK later this year.

WHIRLPOOL ABSOLUTE DESIGN COOKER HOOD Whirlpool’s Absolute design 90cm AKR 759 IX cooker hood uses the brand’s 6th Sense® technology to automatically detect and monitor air quality. Smart control selects the required setting according to the cooking mode and senses and removes air pollutants from the room. Whirlpool’s iXelium™ nanotechnology coating provides durability and ease of maintenance. j

HISENSE LAUNCHES SUB-£450 4K TV Hisense is to launch a range of three 4K TVs in the UK with prices starting under £450 for a 40-inch model. The K321 LED series provides the features found on higher priced Smart TVs, including access to 4K content via on board apps such as Netflix with the use of the latest generation 4K and video streaming codecs HEVC H.265 and the open source VP9 format.

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MINISTRY OF SOUND INTRODUCES AUDIO M SPEAKER Ministry of Sound’s new Audio M Wireless Speaker comes in two versions: The Audio M, offering apt-X Bluetooth, a True Wireless Stereo mode in which two units can be paired to play tunes in high-quality real stereo, battery power for portability and the ability to remember the last seven devices it was paired with. The Audio M Plus is a unit that adds full Wi-Fi and multi-room functionality to the Audio M’s list of attributes. j




SMEG BURGHLEY RANGE COOKER Smeg’s Burghley range cooker, exclusive to independent retailers, is a dual fuel 3-cavity model with 5-burner gas hob and automatic electronic ignition. The appliance is manufactured from premium materials and offers multiple cooking levels, closed door grilling and an easy-clean enamel interior. It is available in a choice of black, cream or silver. j | 0844 557 0070

BENQ INTRODUCES “WORLD’S FIRST” PORTABLE ELECTROSTATIC SPEAKER The BenQ treVolo portable speaker is built with the latest electrostatic speaker technology to deliver premium audio quality from Bluetooth®-enabled smartphones, tablets or computers with reproduction accuracy for the original audio source. With a single charge, music can be enjoyed non-stop for 12 hours. j

“DESIGNED AND ENGINEERED FOR 21ST CENTURY LIVING” Ruark Audio’s new R4 IMS comprises an enhanced multi-format CD player, aptX Bluetooth receiver, USB playback port, DAB/DAB+/ FM tuners and auxiliary inputs united with a powerful 2.1 audio grade amplifier/speaker system. Every key component of this third-generation R4 is said to be completely new and the unit reengineered from the ground up. j

“CARE AND CONFIDENCE WITH EVERY WASH…” AEG’s 9kg Woolmark Blue accredited washing machine is A+++ rated for energy and features AutoSense technology, which automatically adjusts time, water and energy usage to either 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 of a full load in accordance with the amount of laundry loaded. The large ProTex drum cares for fabrics, and bulky items such as duvets are easy to load due to the extra-large door opening. j

03445 614614 | SEPTEMBER 2015 GET CONNECTED





he change coincides with a move away from freestanding appliances and the growth of the built-in sector, which has seen a 12% increase over the past year1 and now accounts for 34% of the market. Whether homeowners are refurbishing their kitchen or moving house, built-in appliances are now top of the list. Beko’s new built-in range is now available to retailers and taps into this expanding market. The unique selection of premium integrated appliances are energy efficient and come with two-year warranty as standard. Our new design means homeowners can achieve a premium and streamlined look, without compromising on energy efficiency, with a full range of features and programmes. 18



FOR RETAILERS Appliances are bought infrequently, so even features that have been around for some time are worth explaining Point of sale is an extremely effective way to start informing consumers while they browse in-store Display stickers or signs are great at highlighting desirable features When promoting appliances for design and functionality, a showroom display offers a key opportunity to demonstrate how these stylish products could look in consumers’ own homes



Retailers will probably already have noticed that more and more customers are coming in-store with a predisposition to buying a builtin appliance. To help, it’s important to highlight key benefits of built-in appliances such as noise levels and premium design finishes, such as touch control LED displays. We’re always thinking of compelling ways to assist our retailers and from 10th September we will be launching a cashback promotion to support sales of built-in appliances and American Style Fridge Freezers.


NEW FROM BEKO Beko split and cook oven – BVM34500BM Our latest oven has a special internal divider that creates two separate ovens, so you can cook at different temperatures at the same time. This function enables you to cook dishes such as a cake and a lasagne at the same time, whilst ensuring there is no transfer of odours.  Massive 82-litre oven capacity  EcoSmart – this model will use around 21% less energy every year compared to B-rated ovens  2-level telescopic shelf system  Nano coating in the inner glass door and catalytic back wall  Maximum oven visibility – large viewing window and interior light  Full size enamel cooking tray with internal grill rack

OF GAS, ELECTRIC OR INDUCTION Whilst both gas and electric hobs have their advantages, there are a number of benefits for homeowners choosing electric, and in particular induction hobs. Make sure you are able to explain the key differences so your customers feel confident in their decision – remember: this may be the first time they have heard of induction hobs. Our Beko HII64400AT Induction Hob is 36% faster and 56% more energy efficient than a standard gas hob and includes a function to quickly bring it up to the required level of heat, so no time is wasted. The intelligent surface-area recognition technology automatically detects pan size and only generates heat to cover the pan, preventing food from burning or sticking, so it is extremely easy to clean and saves time and energy in busy households. When the pot is removed from the Beko HII64400AT, the current is broken and the hob automatically switches off. It has an automatic stop system that kicks in when something has been left on the hob for too long, as well as a child lock function, which prevents children from changing the cooking settings.


Amdea YTD 2014


GkK Apr 14 – Mar 15

*On selected built-in appliances and American Style Fridge Freezers from 10th September 31st October 2015. T&Cs apply.

Beko Pyrolytic Oven BIM32400XP This model has an impressive 14 cooking functions such as baking, roasting, grilling and even defrosting. It also has a selfcleaning programme – great for customers with busy lives.  Multi-function oven with touch control LED display  Massive 82-litre oven capacity  EcoSmart – this model will use around 10% less energy every year compared to standard A-rated ovens  Self-cleaning programme  Full width variable grill with recessed grill element  Telescopic shelf system and wire shelf with stop position system  High quality easy-clean enamel oven interior  Full size enamel cooking tray with internal grill rack

Beko Induction Hob HII64400AT Beko's induction hob has a sleek design and is easy to clean. It also saves energy by only heating the surface of the pan, not the surrounding area.       

Easy wipe-clean hob surface Frameless sleek look 1 - 9 adjustable power levels per zone Child lock Timer and buzzer On and off indicator light Booster function for quick heating

Find out more… Contact the Beko trade team on 01923 818 121 or visit:




Hoover’s Wizard WiFi-enabled washing machine



or retailers, such advancements provide the basis of a great story at the point of sale and the opportunity to add value by trading customers up after establishing which benefits offered by these evolving technologies appeal Sian Bailey, to them most. For laundry category manager consumers, they bring at Miele greater time and resource savings, better care for fabrics and the choice and convenience of when and how much to wash according to household and lifestyle demands. They also reduce the margin for error, provide a more aurally-comfortable home environment and contribute significantly to lessen the prospect of ‘washday blues’. Jennifer Spragg, Brand & Digital Marketing Manager for Whirlpool, draws our attention to a qualitative study conducted by Memethic Lab and the ODC & Research Plus Institute, which interviewed 4,000 consumers

The market is improving, especially in the over £1,000 price bracket”



and found that 80% of Europeans felt that doing the laundry is no longer an annoying chore. On the contrary, over half of those surveyed said they gained real satisfaction at the end of the wash cycle when they opened the door to find “freshly and beautifully” laundered clothes. The study also showed that 73% are willing to pay a premium price for a washing machine that guarantees better care for their garments. Spragg refers to the laundry appliance as “one of the great cornerstones of British life.” She notes that 96% of homes have a washing machine and 56% a tumble dryer, and believes that consumers now have the appetite to invest in products: “One good thing about the recession has been the fact that it has sharpened the focus of most consumers, who now regard buying a washing machine as much more of a long-term investment. “Whilst many people will still have a specific laundry day fixed in their minds through force of habit, when and how often

we do our laundry has become as flexible as the great new technology we now enjoy. However, with the modern family wishing to spend more time with friends and the family, as many more are time challenged with jobs and daily life in general, the importance of investing in a washing machine that can reduce the time spent laundering is considered a bonus. Larger capacity is a key sales driver, with the ability to wash more in fewer loads meaning less time spent with the appliance. In addition, greater versatility and faster washing times mean that we can load our clothes whenever necessary, press a button and get on with our lives.”


Hotpoint Brand Communications Director Ian Moverley says the laundry market is performing “relatively” well in 2015, with appliance sales either remaining flat or increasing and more consumers choosing to invest in washer dryers – a point also noted by Owain Harrison, UK head of sales and marketing for Hoover Candy Baumatic (Built-in), who quotes AMDEA figures showing that the market for builtin washing machines and washer dryers has demonstrated very positive volume growth year on year, with a combined increase of 14.5%. And while the figures show a rise for built-in washing machines, he says the big story in the category is built-in washer dryers, which are up by 17.8% in volume terms. Harrison states that today’s built-in washer dryers differ greatly from what was

r u o y f o e r a Taking c 1 1 9 1 e c in denim s


ip with In partnersh enes G r fo s an Je

Miele Denim Laundrette in association with Jeans for Genes Day We have teamed up with leading charity Jeans for Genes to launch Carnaby’s first ever pop up denim launderette. Free of charge, visitors can ensure their denim is pristine ahead of Jeans for Genes day – the annual fundraising event supporting people with genetic disorders – on Friday 18th September. There will be Jeans for Genes merchandise available to purchase and all donations to the charity are welcomed. To sign up to get your business involved in supporting Jeans for Genes day please visit

The launderette will be open to the public from 11th – 14th Sep 2015

8 Newburgh St, next to Carnaby St


on offer even as little as five years ago, when such machines were considered as the poorer performing alternative to a separate washing machine and tumble dryer. He asserts that these newer models, which are both energy and water efficient, often feature similar if not better wash programmes than a standard washing machine and also believes that the drying cycles can be better energy rated than some more traditional integrated tumble dryers on the market.

Hotpoint’s Ultima S-Line with stain- removal technology

FAMILY FRIENDLY: NEW WASHER DRYER FROM AMICA Amica’s AWDS914DJ washer dryer has a 9kg wash capacity and drying capacity of 6kg with a top spin speed of 1400 rpm (variable) and a choice of wash temperatures starting at just 20°C. It provides a choice of 15 programmes including settings for cotton, delicate and synthetic items, and a number of thoughtful special features such as an anti-allergic rinse that removes all traces of detergent to protect people with skin problems. The 29-min/60-min Wash & Dry programme is the shortest on the market and the dryer offers a choice of settings including iron dry and cupboard dry. 01425 461600

The tumble dryer market has improved, however, rising 9.1% year to date, according to Hotpoint’s Moverley, who says: “Consumers are finally beginning to understand that the tumble dryer is no longer the energy-hungry appliance it once was – it is now a quick, efficient and safe way to dry clothes.” Miele’s laundry category manager Sian Bailey also comments on the public’s perception of tumble dryers. In her opinion: “Consumers definitely have a better understanding of the benefits that heat pump tumble dryers can offer and as a result the market has seen an increase in customers investing in this area.”


Steve Macdonald, Marketing Director of Hoover Candy UK’s Freestanding Division, highlights a recent report published by Mintel which states that washers, washer dryers and tumble dryers currently make up the majority of the entire white goods market value, accounting for 39%. “Our own sales further support this research and as such we have invested heavily in our laundry offering in the last 12 months,” he says, noting that the brand is launching

Our research tells us that customers wash on average 220 loads of laundry over the course of a year, equivalent to more than 330 hours’ washing time Twarita Arya, Product & Marketing Specialist, Haier UK & Ireland

the world’s first 13kg washing machine with standard dimensions. The A+++ rated model forms part of Hoover’s Wizard WiFi-enabled range of appliances, which has previously been well documented in GC magazine and online at www.gcmagazine. The washing machine incorporates Hoover’s All in One technology, which enables coloured and white fabrics to be washed together without the risk of colours running, and can be remotely controlled via a single app. Users can also monitor energy consumption, receive notifications – for example: if they have forgotten washing tablets – and service

Talk about AEG’s OKOMix washing machine mixes detergents before dispersal onto garments, avoiding the risk of soap residue and allowing items to be washed effectively at lower temperatures. Beko’s new range of washer dryers

offers a selection of new programmes including Wash & Wear, which



washes and dries 1kg of laundry in 60 minutes; a Daily Quick Wash that takes 28 minutes to wash a full load and a Super Short programme that washes 2kg in 14 minutes.

Ebac is bringing to market Dual

Fill washing machines that use both hot and cold water feeds, mixing the optimum ratio of each for every wash

and monitoring the temperature to protect delicate clothes and provide a faster, more economical wash. The shorter wash times and lower energy consumption, compared to traditional cold fill machines, will result in lower bills for users.

Baumatic’s BWDI126N 6kg

integrated washer dryer has an

ECO 20º programme that safely washes different fabrics and colours together, while delivering “excellent” cleaning performance. Consumption is around 40% of a conventional 40°C cotton wash using this function. An energy-efficient cold wash allows programmes to be transformed into a cold wash without changing any other elements of the cycle.


DESIGNED TO MATCH YOUR KITCHEN STYLE The ingenious Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer™ can be placed anywhere within your kitchen and seamlessly fit into your cabinetry. Powered by SmartDrive™ intelligent technology with load sensing and 9 wash programmes, the DishDrawer™ dishwasher provides up to 9 place settings with flexible racking system, adjustable cup racks and folding tines that can accommodate long stemmed wine glasses. The DishDrawer™ comes with a 5 year parts and labour warranty for your total peace of mind.*, facebook/FisherPaykel/UK, 08000 886 601,

*T&Cs apply. Visit for more information


The Haier Duo dual-drum washing machine

messages. “Consumer expectations will always drive innovation in the appliance sector, and WiFi is the next step in this evolution,” Macdonald asserts. Connectivity was a major theme for white goods brands at this year’s IFA in Berlin, with the majority of big players displaying ‘smart’ products, including AEG, whose My AEG app guides users through the jungle of care symbols while providing laundry advice to suit the fabric type of each garment; Miele, with its TwinDos dispensing system which automatically sends a message via the internet to the user’s smartphone or tablet when the washing machine runs short of detergent and prompts them to order more; LG Electronics, whose new

SmartThinQ sensor will turn existing appliances into connected products, and Whirlpool with its 6th Sense Live technology, a major feature of the brand’s recently launched Supreme Care range, which can link a washer, dryer, refrigerator and dishwasher so that all communicate direct with the user and interact with each other. The 6TH Sense Live app allows users to personalise the way they use their appliances with customisable functions that aren’t included as a preset on the user interface, thereby providing wash cycles tailored to requirements. “These technologies from Whirlpool are soon to be available and will evolve to exciting new levels in the years ahead,” says Whirlpool’s Spragg. While on the subject of IFA, Haier broke the mould in washing machine design with a dual-drum model (upper drum 4kg, lower drum 8kg) 128cm in height which will run different cycles in each drum simultaneously, allowing colours and whites or a selection of different fabrics such as wools and cottons to be washed at the same time.


The move towards enhanced garment care in washing machines and tumble dryers has considerably reduced the household ironing pile and removed much of the effort and monotony from the chore. But the progress in these areas has not stemmed the flow of technology in ironing appliances, which offers increased performance and convenience for consumers as manufacturers continue to develop products that will tackle the task with much more effectiveness and ease. Natasha Norman, category consumer manager for Garment Care at Morphy Richards says the company continually monitors consumer attitude towards the garment care sector to produce innovative products that meet demands.

BRAUN CARESTYLE 5 IRONING SYSTEMS The new award-winning Braun CareStyle 5 ironing systems are bringing true innovation to the laundry category and are designed to cut consumers’ ironing time in half. They feature the world’s first Eloxal 3D BackGlide soleplate, which is twice as hard as stainless steel and provides 360° superior glideability over embellishments. The premium stations incorporate Braun’s innovative iCare technology, which uses smart textile protection to set the right temperature, regardless of the fabric type. Highly compact and easy to store, these slim and stylish units fit easily on the end of a standard ironing board, whilst the 1.4L tank allows up to two hours of continuous ironing. Braun CareStyle 5 IS5043 RRP: £229.99, 0239 239 2392

Talk about Haier’s Intelius 2.0 laundry range with Smart Dosing incorporates a Quick Glance System that uses energy-efficient LED lighting to illuminate the door ring, acting as a visual indicator of cycle status. When the circle is complete, the cycle has ended. Indesit’s EWD 81482 W UK MyTime washing machine is claimed to be the first on the market to complete six of the most common washing cycles in under an hour.



The user simply chooses one of the Everyday Fast programmes from the menu. The Mixed Colours, Cotton and Synthetic cycles take 59 minutes to complete; a second cotton option takes 45 minutes; the Mixed wash cycle can be done in half an hour and the Express option takes 20 minutes.

Hoover’s 3D dynamic wash

system uses increased water pressure, curved paddles and a raised dome system to move

laundry in a 3- dimensional manner, for the optimum wash performance.

Miele’s TMV 840WP Prestige

Tumble Dryer has an A+++ energy rating and 9kg drum. It uses a powerful heat pump to achieve a reduction in energy consumption of up to 46% (compared to a Miele condenser dryer). It also offers energy consumption forecasts and information about filter saturation, so users can keep it working to maximum efficiency. The PerfectDry

system automatically sets optimum drying times based on the mineral and moisture levels in garments to avoid over or under drying.

Hotpoint’s Direct Injection Technology, introduced on the brand’s new Ultima S-Line collection, removes more than 100 stains at just 20˚C via a pre-mix of water and detergent that creates a foam which is injected direct into the wash to deliver a deeper clean at lower temperatures.


Awarded as the best. New iCare technology sets THE perfect temperature for EVERY fabric. For smart textile protection and faster, easier ironing. The CareStyle 5 ironing system combines excellent performance with smart technologies: iCare technology works for you with smart textile protection by setting THE right temperature regardless of the type of fabric, from delicate to robust, to make your ironing experiences quicker and easier. The World‘s first Eloxal 3D BackGlide soleplate with rounded and bevelled edges, helps the iron glide effortlessly – even backwards – over any fabric, any obstacle. For fast and perfect results. Find out more at

The new Braun CareStyle 5 ironing system with iCare technology. Designed to make a difference.


BRILLIANT WASHING PERFORMANCE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY The CDA CI261 freestanding washing machine is available in either black or white and comes with a range of convenient wash functions, as well as energy- and time-saving essentials.

“Recently we have realised that although It has an A+++ energy rating and is consumers are cash rich, they are also packed with features that include twin time poor, resulting in a need for products jets for improved wash performance, a that have value added features to make 12-minute quick wash, Ecologic, which ironing as quick and easy as possible. As on a half load consumes only 50% of the consumers become savvier to functions that offer maximum convenience, steam generator features such as bar pressure and steam outputs have become highly competitive in resulting in a 23% increase in the past year. “This strong the market.” Manufacturers performance highlights Morphy Richards says continue to develop that Morphy Richards’ its priority is to develop appliances with unbeatable approach to introducing innovation that makes higher spec products is ironing easier, although cleaning results and continue to being received well by the brand is responding make improvements to energy consumers,” Norman in particular to an efficiency to reflect the needs remarks. increasing requirement of the consumer, ultimately Commenting for higher wattage models. making life easier specifically on the According to Norman: garment care market “There is a demand for Danny Lay, products that offer quicker and throughout 2014, Emmanuel sales director, Caple more effective heat up, which has Couppey, Marketing Manager been highlighted by recent data that for Linencare at Groupe SEB shows 2200-3000W steam generator UK, says: “We have seen a steady models account for 93% of value sales.” growth in both the steam irons and steam generators categories. On a year-on-year Morphy Richards lays claim to being basis, the total Linen Care market has the brand leader in steam generators, increased by 6% in value. Total steam with a market volume over 18.7K units irons have increased by 4% in value and,

energy used during a normal cycle, a 9kg capacity and electronic control with a clear LCD display.

significantly, steam generators have increased by a whopping 11% by value. Tefal is proud to report that it is the fastest growing brand by value in the market,” he asserts. Couppey says the introduction of consumer-friendly innovations such as cordless steam irons and steam generators with automatic settings have directly contributed to that growth, and he believes that retailers are clearly showing a will to try new things to attract new customers. “Groupe SEB and Tefal are all about developing and bringing to market products that take the hassle out of garment care and deliver outstanding results. We see an exceptionally bright future for this market, with new advanced technologies and thinking coming on stream which will bring real consumer benefits and generate incremental retail sales.”

Talk about Sharp is introducing a new washing machine mechanic which it says saves time and money by heating the water before it enters the drum, with the bonus being that the desired temperature is more likely to have been reached by the time the wash cycle is in full swing. Hotpoint’s Optimal Soleplate

Temperature Technology makes ironing less of a hassle as it optimises the temperature for each type of fabric, from cottons, to silk



and wool. The Vertical Steam option, incorporated on the IIDC60AA0 compact steam generator, offers a powerful continuous rate of steam, so consumers can quickly refresh curtains or garments on hangers with ease.

Morphy Richards’ Redefine ATOMiST Vapour Iron uses patented thermoglass and vapour mist technology which eliminates the need for steam, guaranteeing no lime scale and resulting in a product

that lasts longer than other models. The appliance carries a 5-year guarantee.

Tefal’s Instant Control IS8360

Garment Steamer has 1700W of power with a steam output of 35g/ minute and a 45-second heat-up time. It has four variable steam settings and a patented Press & Steam vertical support panel with a glass fibre and PTFE fabric coating which holds clothes firmly in place to make pressing garments easier.

The appliance also comes with a fabric brush and lint pad.

Whirlpool’s new Supreme Care washing machines are equipped with the brand’s new ZenTechnology. The energy saving A+++ (-50%) appliances have gained Quiet Mark accreditation as they will spin a load of up to 10kg at 1400rpm with an operating noise level of just 67dB(A), which is claimed to be the quietest on the market.




hen cordless vacuum cleaners first appeared on the UK market there was a widespread perception – often justified – that they did not have the power, the performance or the endurance to take on the day in, day out cleaning duties required in a domestic environment. That perception has been largely overtaken, as battery power and longevity, good design and advanced technology have elevated the best cordless cleaners not only to useful, convenient everyday tools but also, in some circumstances, to the level of credible contenders for the “first choice” vacuum slot against their corded rivals.


The Bosch Athlet range is this prestigious brand’s first serious entry into the cordless market, so it’s appropriate to examine whether it can stand comparison with the best of its cordless competitors in the tough, demanding setting of 21st century domestic life. We put the midnight blue model (25.2v lithium-ion battery and exclusive to independents, but representative of a range that includes the white 25.2v model, the red 25.2v “Pet” version and the black 18v model) into a 2-bed 2-reception home with mixed flooring comprising floor tiles, laminates and thick pile carpeting. The brief was to use it as “first resort” vacuum cleaner and assess how it stood up to the realities of a couple of months’ hard service


The Athlet is unobtrusively stylish, compact and weighs in at a light 3.3kg. Being freestanding, it needs no dockingstation when on charge and can be “parked” anywhere, saving on space and adding to convenience. Charging is via a simple three-pin transformer plugged into any mains socket, and connected to the machine with a small jack plug. Full charging from flat takes a creditably short 3 hours, and the blue LED light gives a clear

indication of the state of charge. It can be left plugged in as the charger shuts down automatically when full charge is reached. Because it’s so light, convenient and ready to hand, the Athlet was used every day for a “quick clean” on the tiling in the kitchen/diner, and the usefulness of the 3-speed facility was immediately obvious. On many cleaners with more than one speed, the tendency is to put it straight onto “full” every time. But on the first setting, which gives a full hour of continuous use, the Athlet was easily capable of lifting daily dust and dirt from tiling and laminates. The middle setting had the power to deal with heavier dust and granular dirt (for example the builders’ sand that got trodden in from works in the garden), and there was none of that “running away” of granular dirt that can, with some cleaners, skitter away from the cleaning head on hard flooring. Edge cleaning performance on all kinds of hard flooring was excellent. On thick pile carpet, the third setting (“turbo”), which activates the electrically powered brush bar, was highly effective, finally laying to rest the idea that only a corded vacuum can really do the carpets. The trade-off for this full-power performance is a reduction in battery life to just under a quarter of an hour. But this time was more than adequate for a thorough carpet vacuuming, though edge cleaning on this surface was slightly less effective than on hard floors.


As the Athlet got down to the daily routine over a period of eight weeks, it proved its worth as an effective and convenient fulltime vacuum cleaner that could handle all the tasks generally expected of a “main” cleaner. There may be cordless cleaners that claim more suction power, but quite honestly, unless you want use your vacuum cleaner to take up your floorboards or rip out

“On thick pile carpet, the third setting (“turbo”), which activates the electrically powered brush bar, was highly effective, finally laying to rest the idea that only a corded vacuum can really do the carpets.“

your old carpet, the Athlet is easily powerful enough. It is also agile and precise, with positive “steering” through the pivoting head controlled by turning the handle left or right (though this could be a touch heavy until you get used to it), and the handle lays flat for cleaning under low furniture. Hair (mostly human in this home) proved not to be a problem on carpets, and the brush bar can be slid out for easy cleaning and hair removal. However, the cleaner’s efficiency meant that the dust container (just under a litre in capacity) had to be emptied every couple of days (or daily following whole-house cleaning). On the plus side, detaching and emptying was simple and intuitive, and there’s a warning light to indicate when the filter needs a clean. The washable filter appears to be very robust, and looks set to last a very long time, meaning maintenance is economical as well as easy. Another Athlet benefit that became more and more appreciated over the weeks was its quietness. On the lowest setting it’s barely audible, and even on “turbo” will not drown out normal conversation or interfere with TV or radio.


After eight weeks of continuous use, the Athlet became an integral part of the household cleaning routine, had power to spare for all the usual cleaning tasks, and its lightness and manoeuvrability, coupled with the fact that it’s always to hand, meant that the corded cleaner never came out of the cupboard. Is it a cleaner that retailers could confidently recommend to customers? Our verdict is that most would be delighted to welcome it into their homes, and would find it excellent value. SEPTEMBER 2015 GET CONNECTED



Ruark’s R4 MK3 music system



he latest Q2 2015 figures from radio research group Rajar reveal that almost 40% of consumers (39.9%) now listen to radio on digital platforms such as DAB and online. DAB radio accounts for more than a quarter of radio listening (26.7%) and more than half of adults (50.9%) have access to digital radio. In fact, more people have access to a digital radio at home than Sky or Freeview. According to Richard McKinney, sales director Ruark Audio, the UK consumer is without doubt fully behind digital radio. “We are a nation of radio listeners, and with the ever growing content on the digital platform this is likely to continue.” Nick Hucker, senior director of global marketing at Pure, notes that DAB continues to be a strong performer, growing as a percentage of total radio sales, “a trend which we believe is set to continue,” he says. And Roberts CEO Owen Watters points out that spring/summer 2015 sales have shown a positive trend, and a number of stores are reporting to be busier than they have been in previous months. Watters adds that the market now offers a strong selection of DAB portable radios in a variety of designs, colours and price



points, so there is a far greater choice for all tastes and budgets. “We are finding that sales of internet models are particularly strong as the consumer becomes far more aware of the added benefits.” “Digital radio is growing nicely,” opines Simon Cole, chief executive of digital music and radio services provider 7Digital. “It may be lower than the much-heralded 50% target, but it’s getting there – the growth is on track.” Hampshire-based View Quest says it is experiencing “fantastic growth” in digital radios, with a groundswell of support from CIH Members and other independent retailers. “We’re very happy with the market and our growth within it,” adds CEO and creative director Jonathan Merricks.


According to Digital Radio UK, two new developments should significantly boost the digital radio market. By mid 2016, both local and national DAB coverage should be equivalent to FM – almost 400 new national and local DAB transmitters will be rolled out before the end of next year. The new national commercial DAB multiplex D2 will

bring at least 18 new digital-only radio stations, and DRUK says DAB now provides most radio listeners with more than 20 additional digital stations. “The continuing launch of new radio stations, new content and new multiplexes bringing DAB to new areas is significant in driving demand for DAB products,” comments Roberts Watters. “Internet radio has seen a boost in the market, with consumers realising they can listen to radio stations from all over the world as well as having the ability to stream music. Radio is definitely coming of age!” Another boost to the market is the raft of new DAB products. Roberts’ recent offerings include the Stream 207 portable, which includes DAB/DAB+/FM/WiFi internet and music streaming from a PC. It’s also compatible with Spotify Premium. The brand’s Revival Mini range offers a compact retro design, while the Revival DAB Dove Grey reflects the growing popularity of this particular colour. Pure’s new products include the Bluetooth-enabled Evoke F3 and the Evoke Mio D2 and D4, which feature prints by fabrics and wallpaper manufacturer Sanderson.


Sony’s XDT-S400DBP portable radio is available in three colours and its XDRS600DBP model includes a 4-line scrolling display, while View Quest’s Retro Mini offers DAB/DAB+/FM, Bluetooth, dual Alarms and USB charging for smart devices, and its Christie model includes DAB, DAB+, FM radio with Bluetooth and NFC connectivity.


Manufacturers’ response to the Digital Radio Certification Mark is mixed, according to the comments received. “We fully back the tick scheme and have already put our products through certification. In terms of impact, cast your mind back to the TV switchover and ask any retailer how this affected sales – Christmas came early for many during that period,” says Ruark’s Richard McKinney. “As a premium brand we’re absolutely supporters of the Digital Tick – it will help make very clear to consumers the products that will stand the test of time and those products that meet the rigorous standard required to attain the award,” states View Quest’s Merricks. “At the moment, I think the Digital Tick has yet to enter public consciousness, without the support of a definitive digital switchover statement from the government. When that comes, the certification will be absolutely invaluable.” Pure’s Hucker says a key reason why the digital radio tick mark is so important is that DAB+ is a part of the scheme’s minimum specification. But Roberts’ Watters has some words of caution: “We are supportive of this scheme, but only when the time is right, and we are not there yet as there are still areas in the UK where you cannot receive a DAB signal. The tick is designed to give the consumer assurance that their device will work through switchover although some parties are now stating that it shows that a product is ‘future proof’. We also think it’s reasonable to expect a future-proof product to work now! If you happen to live in a region that does not yet get a good DAB signal and you purchase a radio with the tick displayed, you will be pretty disappointed if it doesn’t work, and if this is your first engagement with DAB it doesn’t send a very positive message. It also reflects badly on the retailer and manufacturer.”

“Whether or not the service gets switched off is not the driver for the future of the radio industry or digital”

Sony’s XDR S40DBP portable radio

going digital so what’s the point of delaying the inevitable.” View Quest’s Merrick agrees: “With every announcement of the latest digital listening figures, we see ourselves moving closer and closer to digital switchover. There is no need for anyone to panic about switchover; yes, we’d love to get there quick, but it’s now a question of when, not if.” “The road to switchover is on track with clear plans in place to achieve the required criteria,” maintains Pure’s Hucker. “With Norway announcing its 2017 switchover date, there is certainly impetus for other countries to move faster.” Roberts’ Watters says the major challenges to switchover include the 30 million cars that do not have digital radio and areas where the DAB signal is poor or nonexistent. He adds: “We are fully supportive of a digital switchover, but the industry has a responsibility to ensure this happens when the nation is in a DAB-ready state. The majority of car manufacturers are now installing new models with DAB as standard, so there is definitely progress.”

But 7Digital’s Simon Cole controversially states that the industry should forget about the digital switchover: “It’s an entire white elephant now,” he remarks. “Whether or not the service gets switched off is not the driver for the future of the radio industry or digital. The future is quite clearly digital and very few devices are being made without connectivity. On the same device you can listen to digital radio, digital music and analogue radio. “Whether in the end some devices don’t have an FM chip is irrelevant. If any manufacturer seriously thinks that a great product is a loudspeaker and an FM chip, they should wake up and smell the coffee. If you go into any responsible retailer, you won’t see a fantastic display of analogue devices anymore because it’s not what consumers want. They want a device that is more than a radio – they want a digital entertainment device. That is the future.”


Commenting on the digital radio switchover, Ruark’s McKinney says he thinks it’s definitely heading in the right direction, “but we need commitment from the government,” he adds. “The world is SEPTEMBER 2015 GET CONNECTED





24 August, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) started licensing the Ultra HD Blu-ray format, opening the way for the first Ultra HD players and discs arriving before Christmas. Whether they reach the UK by then remains to be seen, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Ultra HD Blu-ray appeared in the US and Japan markets in time for Santa to deliver the first new players and discs. But whenever the first Ultra HD Blu-ray products arrive, retailers will need to be on their mettle when it comes to guiding consumers through the maze of features, specifications and technologies that come with the new format. The first thing to check is whether the customer has a television that can take advantage of the higher resolution, higher frame rate and improved contrast and brightness offered by “The BDA Ultra HD Blu-ray. This has only released isn’t as simple as it sketchy details about seems, because not all televisions are the the Ultra HD Blu-ray same, including 4K spec, but we do know that (Ultra HD) sets. the new players will be One crucial backwards compatible component is the with existing Blu-ray HDMI standard the set discs.� supports. Early adopters who purchased the first 4K sets are likely to be in for a huge disappointment, because many of these sets had HDMI 1.4 sockets. Fine for HD and 3D, but not good enough for Ultra HD. More recent sets offer HDMI 2.0 sockets and these are suitable for Ultra HD resolution and frame rate. However, Ultra HD Blu-ray also offers a feature called High Dynamic Range or HDR, which boosts image contrast and brightness, and for this you need an HDMI 2.0a connection.

The HDMI 2.0a standard was only released last spring, so many of this year’s sets will not offer this type of connectivity. However, manufacturers have known for some time that this standard was coming, so many should be able to offer a firmware upgrade to their 4K HDMI 2.0sets, but check first before telling the customer that this is possible. On a brighter note, customers will be able to use their existing HDMI cables with the new standard. The BDA has only released sketchy details about the Ultra HD Blu-ray spec, but we do know that the new players will be backwards compatible with existing Blu-ray discs. However, manufacturers don’t have to make Ultra HD Blu-ray players backwards compatible with DVDs and CDs, although it’s a fair bet that they almost certainly will – but again, take nothing for granted. Some have speculated that Ultra HD decks will also play SACD and DVDAudio discs, but not all manufacturers are likely to offer this, so if your customer has a collection of SACDs or DVD-As, and this

feature matters to them, check whether this is possible on the player they’ve chosen. Ultra HD can also offer a digital bridge feature, but this is optional and how manufacturers interpret the specification is up to them. There are two components to digital bridge: copy and export. The copy feature lets you (surprise, surprise) copy the Blu-ray title in full quality onto an external drive for backup or playing the content without an Ultra HD player. Export lets you transfer a digital copy (i.e. lower resolution version) of the Ultra HD title to another device such as a tablet. It’s possible that some manufacturers will offer both features, and others none of them. Some might offer the export feature but not the copy facility. Some might place restrictions on the copy facility, such as limiting users to making a single copy, while other manufacturers may offer multiple copying. As you can see from above, selling Ultra HD players and discs will not be about simply handing the customer a box and then taking their money.


e’re all used to getting nuisance phone calls from companies trying to sell us solar heating or promising to settle an insurance claim for an accident we never had. We’ve all had spam emails and nuisance text messages (when



one arrived on my phone from a betting company, I had a hard time convincing my wife that I didn’t have a secret gambling habit...). Now comes the news that some smart TV viewers have had spam adverts on their screens. The manufacturer is

investigating how they got there, but it’s another example of how there is no escape from advertisers and marketers in today’s connected world.




rand is everything, or so the saying goes. Consumers are discovering new brands all the time while old ones fall away through lack of investment, stewardship and a changing market, and the CE industry is an incredible example of this. Consumers want choice, products they love and an authentic brand. The big names that remain have reduced the range of television sizes available to consumers and focused innovation in very large screens. Linsar has been able to innovate in these abandoned areas of the market and is now gaining speed in larger screens as it brings 50” 4K UHD sets to the marketplace for the coming season. Retailers need to be confident and understand that consumers love to discover new brands. But just why would you want to sell a brand that many consumers have yet to discover? I asked a few retailers who are already selling Linsar and this is what they said… Richard Putland, director of Williams of Woodseale, Sheffield has been selling Linsar for 5 years. He commented: “The 5-year warranty is definitely a big draw, plus Linsar prices are very competitive. Customers like the fact that they are a British company and this, combined with the 5-year warranty, is great for closing the sale. “Quality and margin come into the equation too. They certainly compete well with Samsung on picture quality, plus we make a good margin.” Clare Foxhall of LW Foxhall in Bridgnorth is a recent convert. She first saw the brand at this year’s Euronics Show. “Euronics’ endorsement of the brand coupled with a recommendation from my Big Red Sales agent Tracy West made me want to try it.” And these recommendations have proved good. “The 5-year warranty is a big 32


“We also like the fact that the service backup is good because we do a lot of rental, so this aspect is very important to us”

Ian Griffiths, owner of Purewell Electrical in Dorset

advantage as it makes the customer feel happy about a relatively unknown brand. They also like the fact that they [Linsar] are British.” Matthew Todd of Herbert Todd & Sons in York was introduced to Linsar by Big Red Sales’ Richard Popple about two years ago when some of the larger manufacturers dropped out of small screen TVs. “We like the warranty, which allays any fears a consumer might have,” said Todd. “We also like the fact that Linsar listens to retailers. When we said the remotes weren’t very strong, Linsar changed them, and this is more than some of the larger manufacturers do.” Chris Hull, brown goods buyer at Fords and Son in Sidmouth, Devon has been stocking Linsar since Panasonic began reducing supply of its small screens. He commented: “We could have gone the Samsung or Toshiba route but decided it might be nice to buy from a British company, and now sales are going in leaps and bounds.” More recently the store has been selling larger screens up to 50” from Linsar. “At this end of the market the 5-year warranty helps make the product more attractive than better known models of a similar size,” said Hull. Ralph Stephens of Truevision, with 4 stores in West Sussex, got on board with Linsar about six months ago. “Being a British company makes it an easier sale to consumers who have never heard of them;

backed, of course, by the 5-year warranty. Linsar seems to be better at listening to retailers than a lot of other manufacturers and that’s half the battle. “We also like the fact that the service backup is good because we do a lot of rental, so this aspect is very important to us.” Stephens added that he recently dropped a major player because of reliability issues. Roy Mundy of Thames View, Leigh on Sea started stocking the brand about a year ago and now has one of the biggest displays in his area. It all started when Big Red Salesman Stuart Hoad called on Thames View with a 20” model and persuaded them to try it. Soon after, they met the directors of Linsar at the 2014 Euronics show. “Being a relatively unknown brand to the consumer, the fact that they [the products] come with a 5-year warranty really wins them [the customer] over. We’ve sold lots of Linsar because our customers take our word that it’s an excellent brand and a British one at that. And the best thing is you can actually make a good margin on the product.” And last but not least, Purewell Electrical in Dorset recently gave Linsar a prominent spot in its new 15,000 sq ft super store in Christchurch. Owner Ian Griffiths (pictured) said: “I very much like the product, the backup and the fact that the company is local to us. And that is an excellent selling point to consumers, alongside the 5-year warranty, of course.”




present our industry, having seen the failure of 3D TV to fulfil expectations, and awaiting the advent of mainstream broadcast UHD TV, is in need of new product innovations to stimulate sales. I think I could sell these if they were available:

for each of them, not requiring glasses. For this there could be manual set up of direction or even automatic image-angle adjustment based on integrated peopledetectors. It’s been done! In all consumer products, price is paramount, and a dual-view TV based on current 3D technology need DUAL-VIEW TV not be much more expensive Marriage savers! In many than the 3D models available now. It would not have living rooms there is a “How about outdoor to incorporate 4K/UHD nightly battle between capability or a fancy members of the freezers and tumble curved screen, and could family about what dryers? Virtually all be produced in a range to watch on TV now houses and many flats and of sizes and features that they can choose which would appeal to between hundreds of apartments have some a wide market, including programmes, and it is by outdoor space in the form TV games aficionados no means entirely settled of a garden, yard, patio who would each get by ‘+’ systems which a separate image in facilitate recording. How or balcony.“ about a reasonably-priced TV competitive ones like warfare, screen which allows two or more racing etc. people to simultaneously watch two In 2013 LG, Samsung and others different programmes? The lady of the demonstrated dual-view screens of a sort, some aimed at the gaming market, house could enjoy her Coronation Street, Eastenders or Bake Off while her man but they incorporated many advanced immerses himself in football, motoring or features not conducive to mass marketing. whatever floats his boat. At the right price I think dual-view screens Each would get their own zapper and could really go. one of them at least a pair of ear-buds or OUTDOOR APPLIANCES headphones, perhaps the noise-cancelling Modern homes are getting smaller and type which would facilitate the use of it can be difficult to find space for the loudspeakers by the other. The TV set kitchen appliances which are considered would have two tuners and a special essential to modern living, whether or not screen capable of displaying two images. the kitchen and dining room are combined. This would be based on the techniques I have a 1930s house with a large separate currently used for 3D viewing, with glasses kitchen, currently sporting a washing – either passive or active – to sort out the machine, fridge, freezer and slimline separate pictures, perhaps incorporating dishwasher, all under worktops. I could not headphones: it would be easy to do. easily find room there for a tumble dryer 3DTV has taught us that people don’t like and I do not want to impinge on the garage wearing glasses to watch TV; maybe they space because this would prevent my car would for this purpose. from going in. In many smaller houses and For others, an alternative (but more flats – and static caravans – the situation is expensive) variant could be made, using much worse, with purchase of white goods the principles embodied by Toshiba in its inhibited by sheer lack of space. 55ZL2 3D model, in which the two separate How about outdoor freezers and tumble images are beamed away from the screen dryers? Virtually all houses and many at different angles, creating ‘sweet-spots’

Could it be ruggedized?

flats and apartments have some outdoor space in the form of a garden, yard, patio or balcony. Couldn’t appliances be made to live and work out there? A car is designed to stand outdoors for many years so maybe freezers and tumble dryers could be made with similar materials and finish for this environment, using well-protected steel or even the tough plastic which forms the bumpers and fenders of cars these days. There would be special requirements of course: sloping tops rimmed for toploading freezers to let the rain run off; earth leakage protection against electric shocks; high-grade insulation; protection of delicate parts against damp and condensation; secure fixing to walls with security locks or chains of the sort used to tether motorcycles; and lockable doors/lids and electrical sockets. This list is not, perhaps, as onerous as it sounds! In addition to these, an outdoor freezer would need to have a wider ambient temperature rating than an indoor type – it sounds crazy but ordinary freezers can get into trouble (and spoil food) in low or freezing temperatures, and even in very hot conditions. All these requirements may sound daunting, but most have been met in outdoor air-conditioning units and cars, incorporating increasingly delicate and complex components for many years. This shows that it can be done, perhaps still at a price which would appeal to a diverse market; I believe that many people living in small spaces would pay a premium for an appliance that does not encroach on their precious living space.


Whatever role you play in the industry, be it retailer, designer, manufacturer or user, I would be grateful to have your views or comments on these suggestions. Maybe you’ll shoot me down in flames! Maybe there is some fundamental reason, technical or economic, why they are impractical. Do you think they would sell? See page 3 for contact details. SEPTEMBER 2015 GET CONNECTED






Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry? I didn’t, I was born into it! Who in the industry would you like to spend time with? Anyone who wants to make our domestic appliance service better What makes you laugh? The silly things people do What was the greatest turning point in your life? When I left school Hobbies? Motorsport… I’m a BTCC driver

What surprises you? Nothing any more

What do you daydream about?

Favourite cuisine? Fillet steak

Favourite holiday destination?

You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice. What character would you like to play? Bond You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day. What would be the first change you would make? Feed everyone.

Greatest regret? Not going fast enough!

Do you have any hidden talents? I can sing and some say dance!

What historic figure do you identify with most, and why? Churchill... Determination

Do you have any particular fetishes? Racing

Pet hate? Things not happening fast enough Any bad habits? I speed If you weren’t in your present position, what job would you choose to do? Accountancy


Name your poison

Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change? No

How do you think others see you? You’ll have to ask them



Favourite TV programme? The Apprentice

What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told? That Father Christmas is real!

How would you describe yourself? Able


Who would you put into Room 101? Those that resist business change What’s your greatest achievement? I’m lucky, I have a few. But I’m sure the greatest is still to come!

A Cosmo

Continued Improvement

USA What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you? Being put into a barrier at 90mph and having to be cut out of the car What’s the best kind of punishment… The one that makes the most sense for the crime …and who deserves it? Those that commit it

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Older and wiser, with a few more achievements What’s your greatest fear? Lack of knowledge Whom (from any walk of life) do you most admire? Lord Alan Sugar Favourite piece of kit?

What sort of music do you like? All

Connections (our software programme for customers). It really is very good!

Favourite quote? “We’re a Team”

What motto do you live by?.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? There isn’t one person. The world’s full of great people when you look

Life is…

You/We Can!

…Meaningful… so make it mean something to you, yours and as many others as possible.

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Get Connected Magazine - September 2015  

04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word In and around the industry 16 The Product Gallery 18 The Knowledge Beko looks at the benefits of Built-in A...

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