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THE GREEN ROOM Home Laundry & Garment Care: A positive outlook as a shift in conventional purchasing trends helps lift the market

Dirt has nowhere to hide

DIGITAL RADIO A sector reaching new heights as listening figures increase

Does not apply to all models

The NEW SEBO AIRBELT E Range SPOTLIGHT ON… Nailsea Electrical

GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED The question of the ‘digital tick’

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Editorial Comment


The Green Room

The Word

In and around the industry

Home Laundry & Garment Care: A marked increase in sales of washer dryers is adding value to the market


Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33 marlinda@gcmagazine.co.uk Magazine Advertising Sales: Brian Shilling Telephone: 01892 677 741 brian@gcmagazine.co.uk

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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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Spotlight on…

West Country retailer Nailsea Electrical

The Product Gallery Digital Radio Feature

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


George Cole Gets Connected

Not all digital tick marks are equal….


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From the Bench

Alan Bennett reports on the UK’s first UHD TV service






ack in March this year we called upon the industry as a whole to unite and address the fire hazard problem with some 5 million faulty tumble dryers in UK homes, involving the Indesit, Hotpoint and Creda brands owned by Whirlpool. Careful not to isolate and pillory Whirlpool for product safety issues that have affected – and continue to affect - other brands from time to time, we called for “decisive, intelligent, and – above all – unifying leadership to mobilise the resources of the entire UK white goods industry, including manufacturers, retailers and third party service organisations.” A call that, despite the exposure of the product recall system as drastically inadequate, and the apparent inability of any one manufacturer to deal with a crisis of this magnitude on its own, has not so far produced any leaders in the industry prepared to step up to the challenge. An Indesit tumble dryer caught fire in an 18-storey block of flats in Shepherd’s Bush on August 19th (see page 8 of this issue). It spread over five floors and led to the evacuation of more than 100 families, some of whom were still unable to return to their homes up to a month later. The London Fire Brigade subsequently called on Whirlpool to change its advice to customers, which states they can continue to use their appliances whilst waiting for the safety modification, provided they are not left unattended. As we were going to press, Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith, in whose constituency the fire occurred, called an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on September 13th. He wanted, specifically, to get answers from Margot James, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on what is being done and could be done to safeguard the public. We recommend this debate as absolutely required reading for anyone who makes, sells, services or is otherwise involved in White Goods in the UK. It can be found in Handsard at: http://goo.gl/N1XopW It raises fundamental questions, and exposes some of the shortcomings of Government when faced with powerful commercial interests. Part of Margot James’ reply read like a press release issued on behalf of Whirlpool. Whirlpool has not, at time of GC going to press, indicated that it will change its advice



to customers. The debate points out that the existing advice is inadequate on two major counts. First, the owner of the Shepherd’s Bush tumble dryer followed it “to the letter”, being present at the time of the fire and taking prompt action to unplug it, pull it from the wall, close the door and swiftly leave the scene. Yet the disruption to 100 homes, danger to life, the deployment of twenty fire appliances and 120 firefighters, and the centre of Shepherd’s Bush being brought to a standstill, still occurred. Second, Carolyn Harris, MP pointed out with some humour and, one suspects, some knowledge of Whirlpool’s brand marketing: “Perhaps it’s the domestic goddess in me that thinks that a white good that needs to be monitored while it is drying is really not much of a convenience and that it would be far easier to put the clothes on the line.” It’s a serious and well-made point about a fundamental reason why consumers buy domestic appliances. MPs also recounted personal experiences – as both consumers who own affected appliances, and as MPs – of the difficulty of communicating with Whirlpool UK’s MD Maurizio Pettorino. It was suggested that Whirlpool is trying to stay “under the radar” and minimise publicity whilst the problem is being dealt with. We should emphasise once again that this is not just Whirlpool’s problem, and if the company cannot, or will not, act in an acceptably timely manner to protect its customers from a potentially lethal product it’s sold to them for use in their homes, it should say so and involve the entire industry in an effective solution. Will it happen? Clearly, the Government is not minded to take the initiative. Andy Slaughter said the Minister had already responded to his earlier inquiry in Question Time that same day by asserting the UK has “an effective system of product recall.” It also emerged from the Under Secretary for State that the “industry led” steering group set up to look into product safety recall have “set themselves a timeline of reporting within two years.” So don’t expect urgency there. It’s up to the UK White Goods industry to act. The reputation of a multi-billion pound business is at stake, and no-one in it is immune from public loss of confidence.

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Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

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consumer confidence improved in August but remained well below post-Brexit levels after posting the sharpest drop in 26 years during July. GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index increased by five points to -7 during the month, with all five measures used to calculate the Index increasing. “The rise in confidence has been driven by good news from hard data," the analyst said, citing a combination of low interest rates, falling prices and high levels of employment. "We're reporting some recovery in the Index this month as consumers settle into the new wait-and-see reality of a post-Brexit, pre-exit UK,” said Joe Staton, Head of Market Dynamics at GfK. Positive growth across the measures included a jump of nine points to +7 in the Major Purchase Index, which GfK said reflected strong retail figures. The Savings Index, however, posted a remarkable 16-point collapse, down from +1 in July to -15.



ohn Lewis has confirmed speculation that Managing Director Andy Street is to run for the office of the Mayor of the West Midlands. The retailer said that Street has “indicated” to John Lewis Chairman Charlie Mayfield that he is interested in running for the office, but at this stage has not been formally selected. If successful in his application he will step down from his role as MD, which he has held since 2007.

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hop prices continued to fall in August, down by 2.0% following a 1.6% drop in July. Figures released by the BRC and Nielsen showed that non-food deflation accelerated to 2.5% from 2.2% in July, while food deflation accelerated to a record low, down 1.1% in August from 0.8% in the previous two months. "Competition for discretionary spend is likely to intensify as we head towards the end of the year, so retailers will be keen to keep prices low and promotions sharp," said Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight at Nielsen.






ertfordshire-based MPL Home has teamed up exclusively with distributor JEGS to offer a range of products for independent retailers under MPL Home’s new Sensiohome brand. The new brand will include Silhouettes, a range of small kitchen appliances designed to tap into homeowners’ aspirations and to deliver on price. Heating solutions for the home will also be included under the Sensiohome name. Paul Martin, Group Sales Director for MPL Home, said: “We are keen to offer independent retailers an exciting range of products that will appeal to new and existing customers. With that in mind, we wanted to establish a strong link with a renowned electrical distributor and are confident that JEGS, with its excellent reputation, will help create a successful working partnership that benefits independent retailers.”

ixons Carphone reported year-on-year revenue up 9% for the first quarter of its financial year, with like-for-like sales up 4%. For the 13 weeks ended 30 July 2016, the group reported a strong performance in the UK & Ireland with 4% like-for-like growth. Sales in the Nordics rose 2% on a like-for-like basis and in Southern Europe by 13%, driven by strong growth in Greece. The company said it continued see market share gains.


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WHIRLPOOL URGED TO CHANGE ADVICE ON FAULTY TUMBLE DRYERS AFTER TOWER BLOCK FIRE L ondon Fire Brigade has called on Whirlpool to change its advice on the use of tumble dryers identified as a possible fire risk after a fire in an 18-storey high-rise block in Shepherd’s Bush damaged flats on five floors of the building. The blaze started in the kitchen of a seventh floor flat while the occupants were at home using the appliance, which has since been identified as an Indesit model that was subject to corrective action by the manufacturer following the

safety notice issued for Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda dryers in November 2015. The residents of the flat and those of four other flats in the block had to be rehoused following the incident. LFB said it now wants Indesit’s parent company Whirlpool to change its advice to consumers as a matter of urgency. Whirlpool currently states that consumers may continue to use their tumble dryer whilst waiting for a modification, but advises that

the appliance should not be left unattended during operation. “We want this change because we attend nearly one fire a day involving white goods,” the LFB said. “While there is a fire risk, people should not use their appliance until it has been checked and repaired.” London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “If my kitchen had one of the recalled goods in it, I would unplug it straight away until it has been checked and repaired. The speed with which the fire took

hold shows how dangerous a faulty tumble dryer can be – that’s why we are calling for Whirlpool to urgently change their advice to consumers. “The flat’s occupants had a terrifying ordeal,” he added. “The kitchen quickly became smoke logged and thankfully they noticed the smoke and quickly left the flat and called the Brigade. This decision could have saved lives.” See the full story online at: www.gcmagazine.co.uk



ppliance care firm Domestic & General has appointed Ombudsman Services to provide a bespoke Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme to its customers. D&G said the appointment follows a study by Ombudsman Services which revealed that 43% of UK consumers who lodged a complaint would feel more confident in a company that offered a resolution service. Dean Keeling, UK Managing Director at the appliance care company, said: “Customer service underpins everything we do, and we’re constantly looking for

ways to improve our customers’ satisfaction. In the unusual event of a dispute not being resolved inhouse, we believe the Consumer Ombudsman can provide a fair outcome and bring peace of mind to both parties.’’ The role of Ombudsman Services is to investigate complaints fairly by taking into account both sides of the dispute and making a recommendation on any action that should be taken to resolve the complaint. Companies using the scheme agree to provide the necessary information and to abide by the Ombudsman’s decision.

Visit www.gcmagazine.co.uk for the stories behind the news...  Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Autumn

Edition) and electronicAsia update

 Amazon brings Dash replenishment

to UK market

 LG expands IoT ecosystem capabilities  Miele launches kitchen insight blog  Caple appliances on display in Potter

Cowan’s new Dublin showroom



lovenian appliance manufacturer Gorenje posted a net profit of €2.1 million for the first half of 2016 following a loss of €6.9 million in the same period last year. Revenue rose from €557.8 million to €581.3 million. The company said that sales in Eastern Europe grew by 10.6%, while in Western Europe 5.1% growth was achieved. Sales in the markets outside of Europe declined by 1.6%. In July this year, Gorenje announced that it would allow Panasonic Corporation, which holds a 10.74% stake in the company, to perform due diligence, stating that it may lead to Panasonic's decision to launch a bid to increase its shareholding. Among the conditions for the execution of due diligence, the company said that both parties also agreed on the strategic guidelines for the future role of Gorenje within the Panasonic Group, should Panasonic obtain effective control of Gorenje.

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estel has announced a brand licensing agreement with Toshiba Visual Solutions Corporation, which will give the Turkish manufacturer responsibility for the production, sales, marketing and supply chain functions for Toshiba-branded TVs in the European market. Toshiba announced plans early last year to licence its TV business in global markets as part of the business’s restructuring. Vestel said the partnership will build on years of collaboration between the two companies and the proven success which has enabled Toshiba to deliver quality products and a high reputation in European countries during past years. The two businesses have outlined ambitious growth plans for the European consumer TV market with aims to exceed Toshiba's previous market position. Toshiba will be positioned as Vestel’s premier TV brand for Europe.




ANNOY owner MUSIC has stated that it remains committed to Scotland and is planning to build a new factory. The news follows a decision to close TANNOY’s current Coatbridge plant and relocate production to China. The company said earlier this year that it was proposing to make around 70 staff at its manufacturing and office facility in Coatbridge redundant, but it incurred the wrath of GMB Scotland, which accused the business of treating workers with “total contempt,” after it ended the consultation process before completion. Now MUSIC says it will continue to build the TANNOY Prestige and other high-end loudspeakers in the country in a new facility that will see substantial investment in innovation and production,

along with a museum and showroom celebrating TANNOY’s 90-year heritage. Uli Behringer, head of MUSIC, said: "We are excited about the future of TANNOY and we believe we have developed a sound strategic direction to protect its rich history and heritage. “TANNOY was facing great economic pressures and we believe that our plan will ensure the longevity of the brand. We are planning to relocate manufacturing to a new plant in Scotland which will deliver modernised and streamlined operations while continuing our involvement in local communities, providing employment in the region. “This will secure TANNOY to remain a serious competitor in the high-end residential marketplace."


A revolution in floorcare… E

wbank is Britain’s Floorcare revolutionary, with an illustrious history of floor cleaning going back to the 1880s when it introduced carpet sweepers to the UK. Centuries later, the company is still utilising its vast experience in Floorcare with the launch of new products designed to keep all domestic hard floor surfaces looking pristine. The EP170 is a lightweight yet powerful floor polisher which, thanks to the

EP170 floor polisher

interchangeable discs, can be converted from a polisher to a high-powered floor scrubber EPV1100 polisher with vacuum for removing worn-in dirt from uneven floor surfaces. Its sister product, the EPV1100, has the customers need to keep hard floors clean same powerful 160W polisher motor but and sparkling, with the bonus that it will couples this with an integral (dry) vacuum also tackle the vacuuming of carpets and which can save time when cleaning and rugs, cleaning upholstery and keeping the polishing floors. If a quick vacuum is all that car clear of crumbs and family mess. is required, then the EPV1100 has a useful W: www.ewbank.co.uk feature as the vacuum can be detached for E: tonyh@ewbank.co.uk use as an 800W stick cleaner for keeping T: 01483 663050 carpeted and hard floors clean, whilst minimising required storage space. An accessory kit supplements the EPV1100 accessory kit vacuuming features of the EPV1100. This includes rigid extension tubes for accessing hard-to-reach places, an extension hose, upholstery brush, shoulder strap and crevice tool with optional brush. The EPV1100 contains everything your







wiss manufacturer of premium domestic appliances V-ZUG says it has cushioned itself against rising product costs by rolling out a labour control scheme with the support of its employees. The scheme was first established in February 2015 following realignment of the Swiss currency and

involved employees freely giving an extra four hours per week for a year to increase both production and cost effectiveness. The company said in a statement that anticipating the need to increase production without added expenditure will help it negotiate the coming months when Brexit could impact the

import and export markets. Rhys Evans, Sales Director UK & Ireland for V-ZUG UK, said: “As a Swiss Manufacturer, we naturally sit outside of the EU so we have no immediate plans to alter our successful business model of designated independent kitchen retailers, high-end developers and specifiers.

“Thankfully, we are more than prepared for any Brexit fallout, with plans already in place to increase productivity, at no extra cost. That said, the near-term

impact on the economy will continue to be reviewed, giving us greater motive to implement this voluntary working directive at such an unpredictable time.”


hinese manufacturer Haier is to enter into the cooking category with the launch of a line of built-in ovens and hobs in the UK market in 2017, hoping to build on the strength of its reputation in the refrigeration market with the new lineup. "We wanted to complete our line of modern, high-tech kitchen

Spectrum Brands has appointed Paul Clarke to the position of sales and marketing director for its UK batteries and hardware division, which includes VARTA Consumer Batteries.

Nick Hughes

Paul Clarke

Whirlpool UK has announced the appointment of Jim McEwan as Sales Director, MultiChannel Customers, and Nick Hughes as Sales Director, Developing Business. The move follows James Goldsmith’s promotion to Managing Director KitchenAid SDA EMEA and is another step in the integration of Whirlpool Corporation and Indesit Company in the UK.

Norbert Schmidt has been appointed Vice President Products & Brands of Whirlpool EMEA. EMEA

Arun Bhatoye

Smeg UK has added to its sales team with the appointment of Simon Starkie as Head of Retail – South. He succeeds Matt Balm, who has taken on the role of Head of National Accounts.

Simon Starkie


See the full story online at www.gcmagazine.co.uk


Hisense UK has appointed former Google UK Retail Operations Manager Arun Bhatoye to the role of Senior Marketing Manager.

Norb Schmidt

exacting consumer demands.” The appliances will be available in a choice of matte black or stainless steel finishes to match Haier’s refrigerators.



Jim McEwan

appliances and complement the kitchen centrepiece, the refrigerator, by diversifying into an exciting new product category,” said Yannick Fierling, CEO of Haier Europe. “Haier’s full suite of appliances integrate perfectly into any kitchen with their trademark quality and creative design to meet the most


lectrolux has revealed a new look for the AEG brand with the launch of two collections of major domestic appliances. The Mastery Range takes in the practical elements of using kitchen appliances with responsive design that makes users‘ lives easier. It incorporates an oven that talks, asking users if they want their meat rare, medium or well done; a fridge with flexible door storage that can be customised according to individual needs; a hands-free hood that automatically adjusts to cooking activity on the hob; a dishwasher that gently lifts the lower basket up for ergonomic loading and unloading, and a water tap providing instant boiling water, thereby removing the need of a kettle in the kitchen. A new Laundry Range offers combinations of washing machines and dryers that work in tandem and promise to preserve colours and textures while protecting the fibres in garments. The range features SoftWater Technology – a world first, according to Electrolux – which

softens the water before washing for “unrivalled” cleaning results at 30ºC. The new Care Advisor in the My AEG app gives consumers advice on what programmes, options and detergents to choose for different kinds of clothes and stains, and will be able to send the right programme direct to a connected washing machine. Dan Arler, Head of Electrolux Major Appliances Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “At its heart, our strategy is about the best in class experiences we can help consumers achieve. We want to help people cook the best meals ever for their families and friends, with products that speak their language, and to offer appliances and expertise that support them in caring for their clothes so they stay new and great looking for longer.”


Why Montpellier? Montpellier is the most exciting new brand in the UK market, offering a refreshingly friendly, approachable and cost effective alternative to the big brands. We make appliances for today with products that combine technology with function, style and reliability. See for yourself today and visit our website

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ohn Lewis has opened two new national distribution centres at its Magna Park campus in Milton Keynes to provide the foundation for its customer-focused omnichannel strategy. The new facilities have been built on the retailer’s anticipation of a continued change in customer needs, which in the last ten years has driven the amount of orders delivered to homes from 4% to 47%. The £150 million investment in Magna Park 2 and 3 is part of a five-year £500 million investment in its online systems and distribution network and follows a £100 million outlay in its existing Magna Park site. The new sites will create 500 jobs, a figure that will double at peak times. See the full story online at www.gcmagazine.co.uk


 SHORTCUTS Indesit has partnered with laundry detergent brand Ariel to offer consumers a free six-month supply of 3in1 pods with selected Innex appliance purchases. The promotion runs until 19th October. Battery manufacturer VARTA has launched its first UK media campaign to raise awareness of the brand during the autumn/winter season. A five-month TV sponsorship package, out-of-home advertising and mobile advertising will support the ‘Powering the Moment’ campaign, which will air across property and DIY programmes on Discovery Network’s Home and Health, Quest, Shed and Animal Planet channels, reaching 4.9 million adults over the duration of the campaign. Baumatic has launched a preChristmas promotion offering a complimentary cocktail-making set with purchases of selected wine storage appliances in its range. It runs until the end of November 2016.


Beko is back on TV with the launch of a new 10-week multi-channel campaign promoting the brand’s refreshed positioning as The Official Partner of Everyday. In the run up to Black Friday a series of five ads will run across Sky TV, digital platforms and social media, reaching 22 million people. A two-week radio campaign with talkSPORT will reach a further 2.8 million. Hotpoint has replaced Bosch as the sponsor of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch in a deal that will see the brand use idents to showcase its new built-in cooking collection. Product placement on set and a licence that allows Hotpoint to use the Sunday Brunch logo on its digital platforms is also part of the package. The £20,000 Community Kitchens campaign launched in 2015 by Stoves has reopened and nominations are being accepted via the Stoves website. The campaign aims to place the kitchen at the heart of communities by helping local charities to transform their kitchen facilities. Independent sales agency Big Red Sales has revamped its website, making it fully responsive for portable smart devices. The update incorporates a number of useful new features, refreshed text and clearer signposting, and a News section containing highlights of press coverage obtained by the company.



eff revealed the winners of its 2016 MasterPartner® Design Competition at The Big Feastival in Oxfordshire at the end of August. Vidaco won the prize for Best Showroom; Development Direct (Scotland) for Best Kitchen Under £25,000; Butler Interiors for Best Kitchen Over £25,000; and Rugby Fitted Kitchens for Best Use of Social Media and Advertising.

Charlotte GorringeSerrano, BSH Group Trade Marketing Manager, Kitchen, said: “The standard of NEFF MasterPartner® Design Competition Awards entries this year was very high. We would like to congratulate all the winners and runners up who have clearly put in a lot of hard work. It was great to see all of the finalists at The Big Feastival.”



SH Home Appliances has won Domestic & General’s Total Excellence and Quality Award (TEQ) for the second year in succession, taking the title for the sixth time. An in-depth look at Bosch, Siemens and NEFF’s customer satisfaction resulted in an impressive 94.1% of customers rating BSH UK’s service as excellent or good following a repair visit from one of the company’s engineers. Over 95% of customers were satisfied with the telephone advisor assigned to them, and 97% were happy with the field service engineer who visited their home.

Brendan Bulfin, BSH UK Director of Customer Service, said: “It took a lot of hard work and dedication to win the award last year, and just as much to retain it. The TEQ Awards are very competitive so it is a great result for our Customer Service team and BSH as a whole.”




Electronics started 2016 with a bang by stealing the show at CES 2016.

Across multiple categories the Brand won 20 Innovation Awards and more than 50 from industry leading publications. The champion of that charge was LG’s award winning range of televisions: OLED TV. Not content with blowing the competition away last year LG has released four brand new series of OLED in 2016 with the hero models on show at the IFA conference in Berlin recently. One of the stars of the show within this heralded range is the E6, an innovation winner for Video Display at CES and a truly outstanding TV packed full of evolution. OLED technology revolutionised the industry, delivering a picture of unprecedented colour, contrast and clarity all in a 4K resolution. But now it gets even better with HDR 4K with Dolby Vision a truly new generation of picture quality to match a new generation of TV device. When something is shown in HDR, colours and contrast are enhanced so the picture is closer to your eyes’ full potential. OLED technology is the best partner for this process thanks to contrast levels that are unlike anything else available today. By providing the widest possible contrast range for HDR content, OLED HDR creates the most lifelike picture ever achieved. All of LG’s 2016 range of OLED TVs is certified with the Ultra HD Alliance Premium seal of approval. This means that the televisions are recognised for their superior standards of contrast, brightness and ability to showcase HDR content. Not only is it premium certified but it is also arriving to market with Dolby Vision HDR. Utilising Dolby’s experience within the Hollywood film studios, LG’s OLED TVs are able to offer a new HDR viewing experience that will be featured in over 50 different Hollywood titles this year. Additionally, content providers Amazon Video, Netflix and more are already developing entertainment with this technology in mind, which upon its release can be accessed via LG’s award-winning Smart TV webOS.

LG OLEDG6V June 2016

This divine display is paired with intelligent architecture; a Picture-On-Glass design is purity to match a perfect picture. Due to OLED’s revolutionary construction the screen is so thin and light that it can be bonded to a transparent pane of glass. This unique television architecture is simply stunning and means there is nothing to distract your attention from the incredible picture you are watching. Visual perfection is fused with audio innovation. A high quality Soundbar Stand provides the pedestal for this television, delivering powerful multichannel front-firing audio from sound components designed by Harman/Kardon™. With discreet, modern styling you get incredible sound without

LG OLEDC6V May 2016

LG OLEDE6V June 2016

complicated or cumbersome additional components. OLED picture quality, 4K Resolution, HDR technology, stunning design and sound engineered by Harman/Kardon, all within a single television? It quite simply has never been as good as this before, as LG continues to astonish with groundbreaking, best buy, TV of the year products that stay true to their mantra of ‘Innovation for a Better Life’. Contact your supplier to arrange a purchase of this product now. If OLED doesn’t quite fit the bill, why not check out LG’s entirely new range of Super UHD TVs here: http://www.lg.com/uk/super-uhd-4k-tvs SEPTEMBER 2016 GET CONNECTED





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any of us have experienced that deflating moment when the overspilling laundry basket can no longer be ignored and realisation dawns that you’re simply not keeping ahead of your domestic game. Resentment and irritation build as you work your way through the sorting of stale stocks and smalls, woollies, whites, coloureds, delicate fabrics…. readying for the long process of washing, drying, ironing and wardrobing, aware that you are committed to this tedious, timeconsuming cycle for life. Doing the laundry is not a universally welcomed task. It’s a necessary evil. But there is a positive for those undertaking



the wearying routine of washing to wearing: most can benefit greatly – more so than they may be aware – from the use of cleverly designed appliances incorporating technologies that make the job quicker and easier, thereby alleviating much of the hassle. Home laundry is an ongoing replacement market and, as such, it provides retailers with a great opportunity as behind every appliance there is a story to sell. The pressures of modern-day life mean that speed and convenience have become fundamental requirements for time-poor households and most are acutely aware of the need to bring resources and their associated costs under control.


Kelly Penn, marketing manager at Hoover Candy Baumatic, comments that recent industry data presents a positive picture for the home laundry market as a whole. In particular for the washer dryer category, which has recorded significant percentage increases in volume. Freestanding models rose by 15.3% and built-in by 17.1% (Source: AMDEA – July 2016). “These volume increases for washer dryers represent a shift in laundry trends,” she says. “One key reason for this is that a freestanding washer dryer presents a space saving, dual purpose solution for homes without utility rooms, while built-in versions are ideal for installation within a fully fitted kitchen



“We should be educating the consumer on what actually makes the job easier for them”

layout in flats and apartments; again, where space is an overriding issue. “Furthermore, continued investment in washer dryer technology has resulted in larger drum sizes and ensured that wash functions are as advanced as those found in regular washing machines. However, the game-changer across all manufacturers has been in terms of consumption; previously regarded as energy guzzlers, washer dryers are now highly energy and water efficient.” LG Electronics, which experienced continued year-on-year growth across all of its laundry categories in the first half of this year, also comments on the growing popularity of washer dryers. “In this period we saw our washer dryer sales increasing at a faster rate,” says Head of Brand Dawn Stockell. “This could be because of an increase in the number of new smaller urban living spaces where having a combined machine helps to save on limited space within the home.” It’s logical that washer dryers would be a sensible compromise for small homes, but Jamie Carboni, laundry category manager at Miele, believes that the uninterrupted washing and drying process is also an attractive proposition for larger households that want a convenient laundry care system – a trend which the German brand has picked up on and is now responding to with the introduction of a washer dryer range for the first time in October this year.


Carboni believes the big story in laundry is that consumers are becoming more conscious of taking better care of their clothes and are now using more specific programmes to look after items. “For example,” he says, “reproofing wash programmes can now reapply the water and stain repellent finish for outdoor items, a service that was previously only provided by a cleaning specialist.” The move towards better garment care is a point also noted by LG, whose

6 Motion Direct Drive appliances can perform complex and delicate wash cycles capable of mimicking hand washing. “This helps to reduce the usual wear and tear on garments sometimes inflicted by conventional washing machines, in turn allowing items to stay in better condition for longer and reducing clothing waste,” comments Stockell. Steam is also gaining recognition for garments that need delicate care. Electrolux’s Lisa Keogh, Product Manager for Fabric Care, maintains that the use of steam ensures garments are kept in excellent condition as it is much gentler on clothes. Steam helps the fibres in fabrics to relax, gently smoothing out wrinkles and creases. It is particularly suitable for refreshing clothes in tumble dryers and is a feature in heat pump dryers from the Electrolux brands, as well as major manufacturers such as LG and Miele, for example. Now, easy care programmes with general steaming are standard in all washing machines and tumble dryers from V-ZUG, Rhys Evans, UK & Ireland Sales Director for the brand advises. “These programmes fit in with consumers’ busy modern lifestyles by reducing the amount of time spent ironing.” he comments.


BSH notes a “definite rise” in specialist programmes as technology has developed, but in terms of functions that are of high priority to consumers, “it has to be speed of cycle,” maintains Ros Collins, Category Manager for Laundry. “The consumer wants the convenience of being able to choose how long their laundry cycle takes to complete and in general is looking for an efficient way of completing the task.” She highlights Bosch’s SuperQuick15 function which will turn around a 2Kg wash in just 15 minutes. According to a Global Home Care report by Nielsen, 31% of consumers do the laundry every day, prompting Sharp Home Appliances’ Rita Balestrazzi to comment

AMICA WASHER DRYER COLLECTION Like all Amica laundry products above 7kg, this washer dryer features a 5-year warranty as standard. The washer dryer range from Amica also incorporates an 8kg and a 9kg model, and all three freestanding appliances offer an A-rated 30-minute wash and dry solution for busy households and operate at a quiet 58dB noise level during washing.

All offer features such as Extra Rinse, Pre-Wash and an Anti-Allergic Rinse from a choice of 21 (9kg) or 15 (7kg and 8Kg) washing programmes. Drying functions include Cupboard Dry or Iron Dry settings, a timed 30-Minute dry, a Pause feature, Auto-Sensor and a Start Delay/Finish Time option.






Caple's WMi2006 fully integrated washing machine

when it cannot be immediately removed from the machine at the end of the programme.” Macdonald says that, in addition to connectivity, one of the most popular features this model offers is Hoover’s ‘All in One’ wash technology. This enables users to wash a full load of whites and bright coloured fabrics together at the same time without the risk of colours running.


that “fast, frequent wash cycles are therefore as important as ever. 12-minute cycles are now being designed to run at energy-saving temperatures of just 30 degrees Celsius and new technologies are also helping to speed up everyday washes. Sharp’s ThermoJet system heats the water before it even hits the drum and can save up to half-an-hour on a standard 60°C cotton wash and nearly forty minutes on a 40°C cotton cycle.”


Beko Laundry Product Manager Laura Selten draws on research showing that over 80% of washing machines sold last year had a capacity of 7kg or more. “This suggests that when homeowners are upgrading or replacing their appliances they are looking for a machine that can cope with larger loads, thereby allowing them to spend less time on the laundry each week.” She adds that Beko recently launched a 12kg washing machine which has the ability to wash up to five sets of bed linen in one go. “Washing machines with larger capacities are ideal for families with young and teenage children, as it helps them save time and energy by reducing the number of washes they need to run every week. With most families using their washing machine daily, efficient technology and specialist features can further reduce the time spent programming loads.” Last year Hoover commissioned a Household Report to provide an insight into home habits across the nation and opportunities in the appliance market. Steve Macdonald, Marketing Director of the Hoover Candy UK Freestanding Division, says the results highlighted a growing demand for large capacity laundry products.


Hoover classes itself as the champion of large capacity appliances and proudly boasts the “world’s first” 13kg washing 16


machine of standard dimensions. “The A+++ rated model forms part of our revolutionary Wizard Wi-Fi enabled range of appliances,” comments Macdonald. “As the UK’s first complete suite of WiFi controlled appliances, all models in the range can be simultaneously controlled, monitored and managed via the Wizard app that can be downloaded to a smartphone or tablet. “This 13kg Wizard washing machine communicates with the app to allow the user to identify and store favourite programmes, schedule a start time for the wash cycle and receive live status alerts. Users also have the option of adding an extra short rinse cycle at the end of the wash so that laundry stays fresh and fragrant, perfect for those occasions

“The smart home is on everyone’s lips this year, and more manufacturers are bringing out connected products to enable consumers to invest in technology that will make their lives easier in and around the home,” comments Jennifer Taylor, Senior Brand Manager for Whirlpool. “With the younger generation constantly connected to the internet by way of smartphones and tablets, the Internet of Things is continually growing. With the ability to control audio-visual equipment through connected devices already having made its way to the mass market, the ability to control your kitchen appliances is a natural next step.” Connectivity is a key trend in 2016, and Whirlpool has responded to this with the introduction of its new connected washing machine Supreme Care FSCR 12441 and HSCX 10441 tumble dryer with 6th Sense Live® technology. 6th Sense Live® connected technology “masterminds” the communication and interaction with the

“The big story in laundry is that consumers are becoming more conscious of taking better care of their clothes”

BSH SMALL DOMESTIC APPLIANCES LAUNCHES BOSCH NEXT GENERATION STEAM GENERATOR RANGE The EasyComfort models (Serie 6: TDS6010GB and TDS6040GB) are great for saving time, allowing users to iron all fabrics without adjusting programmes or pre-sorting clothes.

Serie 6 TDS6010 EasyComfort

Serie 6 TDS6040 EasyComfort

Serie 6 TDS6080 VarioComfort

The VarioComfort model (Serie 6 TDS6080GB) provides the flexibility of having perfectly adjusted programmes for all fabrics, always delivering expert results.

These EasyComfort and VarioComfort steam generators feature Bosch’s most premium, scratch resistant CeraniumGlissée Pro soleplate, SecureLock system that fixes the iron for safe and easy carrying, 1.5L water tank, and the first descaling programme covering the boiler and the iron.

Contact: Rebecca Ness Trade Marketing Manager – Consumer Products Email: MKS-displaystands@bshg.com Website: www.bosch-home.co.uk


One setting for all fabrics. iCare technology sets THE per fect temperature. Faster, easier ironing. Find out more at www.braunhousehold.co.uk

The World’s first

3D BackGlide soleplate to guarantee 360° glideabillity

2x more steam.* Super compact, huge tank capacity.

*Compared to Braun TexStyle 7 steam iron.


HOME LAUNDRY & GARMENT CARE anti-bacterial filters or softener can be automatically reordered when supplies are running low. LG and Samsung are also incorporating the service in products. The retail behemoth has also launched the Amazon Dash Button onto the UK market, bringing 1-Click ordering of a range of household consumables into the home via a series of product-specific buttons. Dash Buttons are available for a number of brands and products including those such as Ariel and Fairy. When supplies run low, the consumer simply presses the Wi-Ficonnected Dash Button to order the related item and it is delivered to their door the following day. Whirlpool’s Taylor opines that smart technology can only be effectively demonstrated on the shop floor. “This is a great opportunity for the entrepreneurial retailer,” she asserts. “It provides an immense opportunity to engage and connect with the consumer and get them back into your showroom. “The market is in its infancy, but accelerating extremely fast. Now is a good time for retailers to get on board, honing their knowledge and skills, while introducing and engaging their audience with the new technology now available. The retailer is in the perfect place to benefit from this investment. By embracing emerging technologies, the savvy ones will not only increase their margins, they will avoid falling into the trap of the cynics, such as those who argued that the wireless radio, cinema, the telephone and the home computer would never catch on.”

consumer, as well as between the washing machine and the matching tumble dryer, according to Taylor. “Of course, connectivity isn’t the only story,” she adds, “and on its own there is the danger it simply becomes a gimmick. However, when it works in conjunction with advanced laundry technology that provides the user with excellent garment care, time-saving and resourcesaving benefits, then it really comes into its own.” “Consumers are used to being updated and in touch with things in their life and their schedule,” comments Sean Liddle, Marketing Manager for BSH Home Appliances. “Now, connected appliances can feed into this to enable them to lead a more flexible life; for example, receiving notifications on the status of their washing or drying. Connected appliances from Bosch and Siemens work with our Home Connect App to enable more flexibility and convenience.”

“In terms of functions that are of high priority to consumers, it has to be speed of cycle”


BSH is one of a number of manufacturers to incorporate Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service (DRS) into its connected appliances, which enables them to automatically reorder consumables such as detergents. “Everyone’s lives are busy, but with our Home Connect app we’re giving more time for what’s important to you. By integrating the Home Connect app with Amazon Dash Replenishment, customers have one less thing to worry about,” says Mario Pieper, Chief Digital Officer at BSH Home Appliances Group. Grundig’s new connected washing machines will automatically order detergent and softener through DRS, and Whirlpool will integrate DRS with its 6TH SENSE LIVE App, so detergent, descaler,




Amazon Dash Button is now available to Prime members

The technology incorporated in washing machines and tumble dryers has gone a long way towards reducing the ironing load and making fabrics easier to press, but the laborious task still needs to be faced and the easiest way to tackle it is to power through it with the best appliance for the job. But the Irons sector is now a rather confusing one for consumers, with prices ranging from sub-£20 to hundreds of pounds and more features than you could shake a stick at. To make matters even more complicated, Caroline Ross, Marketing Manager for Linen Care at Groupe SEB UK, points out that it is no longer a market with two sub categories. “We now have three,” she advises: “Steam Irons, Steam Systems and Steam Generators, and we have seen that Steam Systems are cannibalising both the Irons and Generator category. “Consumers are now easily confused and are drawn in by the price of Steam

Systems without realising the technology is very different. Steam Systems look like Steam Generators but they have no boiler in the base, meaning they don’t create high-pressure steam. High-pressure steam allows creases to be removed more easily.” Ross maintains that Steam Systems provide more freedom than a conventional iron as they come with bigger water tanks and can produce more steam, “but it’s not pressurised steam,” she stresses. “Imagine trying to clean your car. Would you use a hose or a high-pressure hose? For speed you would use a high-pressure hose. We should be educating the consumer on what actually makes the job easier for them. Pressurised steam speeds up ironing as it penetrates the fabric quicker to enable faster and more efficient crease removal.” Ross adds that Groupe SEB has also identified from its studies that scale management is a key factor for consumers. “We know that the most frequently typed question on Google is how to clean your iron and we have the ideal solution for this problem: the Tefal unique and patented scale collector.” One of the models this feature is available on is the Tefal Ultimate AntiCalc Steam Iron FV9630. Ross says the anti-calc collector is a powerful weapon against lime scale. “Thanks to the specially designed steam circuit in the iron, the lime scale that builds up during ironing is recovered directly in the collector and collected in a single step. This means the



Tech Talk Indesit’s XWDE861480XS washer dryer features a ‘Push&Wash+Dry’ one-button system. Push the button and the machine immediately starts a mixed 30-degree wash cycle with a sensor dry finish. Bosch’s Serie 8 (WTYH6790GB) heat pump dryer has a self-cleaning condenser and can be operated via BSH’s Home Connect app. AEG’s new Woolmark Blue accredited L69490VFL washing machine incorporates AutoSense technology which senses the load size and automatically adjusts the time, water and energy usage to 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or full load. Hotpoint’s Ultima S-Line washing machines feature Eco Rain technology that provides a 20% reduction in water consumption and a 50% reduction in energy. Baumatic’s AAA rated BWDF1485 8kg/5kg washer dryer offers easy iron, allergy care and stain removal options. Gorenje’s PowerDrive inverter motor, available on the brand’s A+++ rated W85F44P/IUK washing machine, provides an increased wash performance and notably quieter operation. The new Hotpoint Ultima S-Line RPD10667DD washing machine

exceptional steam performance of the Ultimate Anti-Calc steam iron does not diminish over time.” Ross asserts that Groupe SEB has a strong promotional calendar in place covering key periods of the year. “It’s important to provide POS material on Linen Care as it can be a complex category to understand, with so many features available on products. It is therefore vital that retailers use this resource at point of purchase to maximise sales.”

According Euromonitor International, the market for irons declined in 2015 but a return to growth is expected in 2016 with more high-end products driving value, despite slow replacement sales. The researcher is predicting that, with increasing household disposable incomes, UK consumers will have more money to spend on premium products. “Thus, it is more likely that they will replace their old traditional steam iron with a steam generator/ironing system.”

EFBE CERAMAGLIDE ARC CORDLESS IRON efbe is pleased to launch the CeramaGlide Arc Cordless Iron into its expanding range. The appliance boasts 2400W of power and a high spec including CeramaGlide ceramic soleplate, antidrip, preset constant steam settings, as well as spray and shot of steam. This model is designed to make the ironing chore easier and can rest in three different positions relative to its base to provide a stable yet ergonomic cordless base.

Caple’s WMi2006 fully integrated washing machine offers sixteen programmes including a 30-minute, 30°C wash and an eco 20°C wash. Beko’s 12kg WY124854M washing machine incorporates a Steam Therapy Programme which uses intensive steam to reduce creases by more than 50%. Hoover’s new generation of One Touch washing machines incorporate NFC technology which enables communication between the One Touch app and the appliance via wireless data transfer. Set up is quick and easy, with no internet connection or complicated installation required. Tefal’s Steam Generator Pro Express Total (GV8931) is equipped with Auto Control featuring three preset steaming levels. 6.5 bar pressure delivers powerful steam, up to 400g/min, and an upgraded Anti-Calc Collector provides up to twice as much scale removal. Whirlpool’s Colour 15 technology ensures long-lasting colour preservation and enables ultra-low temperature washes with the cleaning performance of a 40°C cycle at only 15°C. LG’s Centum System™ washing machine incorporates a fixed-tub system that reduces vibration and noise levels. A 12kg load on Cotton Large cycle spinning at 1400rpm is, at 67dB, one of the quietest spin cycles on the market. Miele’s A+++ -30% energy rated WHK121 WPS washing machine benefits from the brand’s latest PowerWash 2.0, which uses a powerful spin and spray system for excellent cleaning results. It also has an Automatic Plus programme that allows cottons and synthetics to be washed together.

The open handle is stylish and comfortable, and early indications are that this cordless iron is a winner. The £49.99 suggested price point will please all pockets.

Sharp Home Appliances’ A+++ rated 9kg washing machine offers 15 targeted programmes, including the brand’s award-winning Allergy Smart cycle. It also incorporates a StainMaster function that can tackle 22 of the most common stains.

Contact: Tony Goldenfeld on 0121 693 1959 mail@teamuki.com www.efbe.co.uk

Swan’s SI9020TN steam generator has an LED display for easy temperature selection. It offers a 90g per minute steam surge and vertical steaming options.





COMPETITIVE” “It’s the first time I’ve been content with where the business is at”

Nailsea Electrical Managing Director Ben Gilks outside the Gloucester Road store



welve years later, the now seasoned entrepreneur proudly states that “the business is going from strength to strength” and he is forthcoming with the numbers to support the statement. When asked what prompted him to take on the responsibility of running a retail business at such a young age, Ben sums it up in one word: “Passion,” he declares. “I wanted to put my own print on it,” he adds. “Dad threw me in at the deep end and it was tough at first, but I worked from there. The whole thing was a learning process really.” And learn he did. Today the business operates from a generously appointed 9,000 sq ft showroom with over 1,000 appliances on display and a warehouse on site. It lays claim to being the largest independent retailer of electrical appliances in Bristol and one of the largest in the country.




Nailsea Electrical was established in 1982 by Ben’s father Peter in the historic West Country town of its namesake. A few years later, Peter, who is active as MD of the Sirius Buying Group, opened a second shop on the Gloucester Road in Bristol and in 1988 was named Young Businessman of the Year by the then regional television station HTV. Under Ben’s stewardship the retail firm continued to thrive, but it wasn’t long until recession threatened. Nailsea Electrical’s reluctance to stand still during this time saw the business prosper, defying the economic decline and the accompanying shift in the retail landscape that exposed the nation’s high streets to further gloom and desolation as consumer shopping habits altered. Ben is aware his dad knew that the early comment about running the business into

the ground was actually a challenge that would spur him on to succeed. And it did. He navigated the downturn, not without risks, and took the opportunity of bringing the business into a new era.

COURAGE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY “When the recession kicked in I was building the business up and at the start of it I bought the shop opposite, which was about ten to fifteen times bigger than our existing one. It was a massive gamble, but there was no turning back at that point. I rebranded the business, so instead of being just a shop that sells appliances such as washing machines, cookers and anything electrical we became higher end, selling where the margins were and where people who still had money were spending it.” Constant progression led to the opening of a new built-in appliance showroom in which customers could interact with an extensive display of around 300 fully functioning appliances from a broad range of recognised brand names. The business also began running weekly in-store cookery demonstrations, and the opening of a cookery school in 2012 provided another means for it to interact with potential customers, attracting consumers with a


“Fiercely competitive”

range of creative cookery courses. “The cookery school added value to the store,” says Ben. “Their customers come into the shop to see the induction hobs and appliances they haven’t previously used before.” At this time the business was seeing constant growth, but, according to Ben, “it was tough making money as the margins on appliances were pretty poor.” In what he describes as “a natural progression,” a slight sideways move by the retailer, who had just been named Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2013, took the business from being known as an appliance outlet to a one-stop-shop offering the supply and installation of kitchens. He admits that the move was “a bit of a learning curve,” but it was a brave step that has reaped benefits for the business and taken it to Kitchen Specialist status, with an impressive showroom to boot. “Appliances are still the major part of what we do in turnover, but selling kitchens has added value to the business – around 30% on top, year on year. It’s really helped to step the business up. “As a store, we sell every appliance type under the sun; every spec of kitchen; we do granite worktops and have our own marble supply. You’ll find with a lot of other companies that they can’t do the kitchens or they can’t do the appliances, or they can’t install. We do the whole shooting match and sell kitchens ranging from £1,500 to £30,000 and £40,000.”

The move into kitchens brought the business closer to clients such as developers and care homes and Ben says the next natural move was into the commercial sector. “Care homes have large commercial kitchens and we sell commercial appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and ice makers – we do the whole lot. “We started off thinking we couldn’t do this as well as what we already do but sort of barged our way into it. We also now have somebody in store dedicated to the commercial sector and we’re looking to expand it, doing it online to make our presence known a bit more. We’re already supplying businesses such as pubs, restaurants and hotels, and it’s all been by word of mouth. “70% of our whole business is recommendation,” he adds. “We ask every customer who comes through the door how they heard of us and we know where all of our business is coming from.”

The move into kitchens in 2013 was “a natural progression”


Nailsea Electrical describes itself as “proudly independent, fiercely competitive” and offers prices to match the largest internet companies. Ben says he can make money with this policy because he only supports the manufacturers that support his business. “We’re also part of the Sirius Buying Group, which helps a lot, and we only look for brands that we can make money on in every sector of the business. We’re growing the business with all of these brands. What we do when a customer comes into the store or online is we push them towards the brands that give us the best margins. “The internet has got more expensive so it’s really no problem anymore. People like AO, the biggest player online, couldn’t

afford to keep selling their products the way they were because they were losing money year after year. We’re looking to grow the business in this area but the purpose of our website will always be to drive customers in store. We get 30 to 40 phone calls into the store every day via our website, and by phone calls I mean, generally, a sale. “I think most customers want to talk to somebody rather than just order a product and have it delivered. The ratio of that happening in here is about 90%. I think what a lot of retailers don’t realise is that, when a customer phones up, you can basically sell them anything you want at that point – move them towards the brands you make money on. Everyone here is commission based but they have to make a margin target.”

“I think most customers want to talk to somebody rather than just order a product and have it delivered”


“We only look for brands that we can make money on”

Nailsea Electrical’s sales have grown by 30% a year for the last five years and a similar trend in the first half of this calendar year indicates yet another successful period of growth. “Appliances are up and we’re currently selling between 30-60 kitchens a month,” says Ben. It is little surprise that this retail firm has a string of award wins under its belt, the latest being Retailer of the Year in the Bristol Post Business Awards 2015. So what’s next for West Country retailer? “It’s the first time I’ve been content with where the business is at,” comments Ben. “We have 28 people full time and it’s a big business to run, so it’s more a case of maintaining what we have and improving on it rather than growing further. We’ve got every sector covered now so we can look at improving procedures and how we work, and training is a big part of that. “Essentially,” he says, “we want to do the very best job we can.”






NEW BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS FROM LG LG Electronics’ new range of Bluetooth speakers is designed to accommodate indoor and outdoor environments, with four models for varying applications. The candle-like PH3 is designed to match any décor, with lights that help to set the mood. The unit has a 10-hour battery life and is available in three colours with five different multicoloured lighting modes.

Humax’s HD Cloud Camera is suitable for home or small business use, with live viewing of video via smartphone and 7 days’ free cloud storage. The HUMAX EYE provides a 100-degree field of view and operates up to eight metres in low light conditions. Numerous cameras can be installed in a single property or in multiple geographical locations, with video from each room or site managed and viewed using the Y-cam app. j


STEEL ENFASI RANGE COOKER COLLECTION Italian manufacturer Steel has launched a new range cooker collection which it describes as an “offshoot” of its Genesi model. The Enfasi collection is styled for contemporary kitchens and is available in 100cm or 90cm widths. The 100cm model has two large ovens and a generous storage compartment, and a choice of six gas burners or an induction hob. j

www.bradshaw.co.uk | 01275 343 000

WHIRLPOOL’S “SMART” INDUCTION HOB Whirlpool’s SmartCook induction hob offers assisted cooking via the brand’s advanced 6th Sense® technology. 40 programmes and step-bystep recipe guidance mean the user simply selects the type of food and preferred cooking method and SmartCook brings the pan to the correct temperature and advises on the correct steps to follow. j


VISICOOK EXTENDS PORTFOLIO WITH HOME BAKER VisiCook’s new Home Baker is a countertop oven with precise and even temperature, controllable up to 220°C. The appliance comes with 3 silicon moulds: one for cupcakes (x6); a 2lb bread loaf mould and a full body tray-bake mould. It has descriptive and distinctive retail packaging and is supplied with a full colour recipe book. j


07785 732759 | mail@teamuki.com




he digital radio bandwagon continues to gather pace. Figures for Q2 2016 from Rajar, the radio industry research body, show that digital radio listening grew from 39.9% to 45.3% – the biggest growth in digital listening since records began. 30 million adults, or 55.7% of the population, claim to own a DAB radio – a 10% increase year-on-year. Not surprisingly, the latest statistics have been welcomed by the industry. “We’re delighted that listening figures are continuing to grow and the fantastic exclusive content on digital is clearly resonating with the listener,” says Owen Watters, CEO of Roberts. “The UK is leading the way in digital radio acceptance,” adds James Glover, product manager, Sony Audio. “The increase in digital radio listening figures is great for the industry as a whole. Digital radio acceptance is continually growing in the UK and the DAB radio market is as strong as ever.”


Rajar says a number of factors have helped the market grow, including the launch of the second DAB commercial multiplex, Sound Digital (D2), last March, which introduced 18 national stations including some using DAB+ (like Magic Chilled and JazzFM). Jonathan Merricks, CEO and creative director of VQ, says the figures are exciting as we’re seeing the first result of the new Sound Digital stations. “As radio manufacturers, we need a vibrant broadcast market to enthuse consumers and the UK offers one of the most creative and innovative environments around.” Digital radio listeners certainly don’t want for content; Digital Radio UK (DRUK) states that there are 40 national stations (11 BBC, 29 commercial) on DAB compared with eight for analogue. There are also 131 local commercial digital radio stations and 33 BBC local stations. Ofcom is currently trialling ‘mini-muxes’ in ten UK areas that provide 80 small and local stations. Coverage has improved too, with the

BBC’s national DAB service covering 97% of the population (local BBC DAB services cover 80%), while commercial national DAB services are available to 91% of the population.


But what have been the most significant developments in digital radio in the past year? “It’s the launch of the UK’s biggest ever expansion in national radio stations on DAB and DAB+ providing consumers with more reason to choose digital,” maintains Andy Graham, senior sales director at Pure. According to Roberts’ Watters, the last year has seen Smart Radio gather real momentum. “This is a sure-fire way of future-proofing your listening and experiencing your own music in a new and exciting way,” he says. “With streaming capability and Spotify Connect now built in to most Roberts Smart Radios, there are more reasons than ever to invest in these products.” “Content is king, so the launch of Sound Digital (D2) has been without doubt the most significant development in the market this year,” asserts VQ’s Merricks. “There is now

“Now is the time for retailers to really back the digital radio wave that is spreading across the UK…”

Sony’s portable DAB radio XDR-V1BTD

such a broad choice of stations for people to choose from, which is only possible through digital radio. The next great development is the range of trials around the country for hyper local DAB broadcasting, giving community and local stations access to digital radio for the first time.”


Sony’s Glover says the increasing adoption from the car industry is positive for the DAB radio market as a whole, and he is keen to add that all of Sony’s radios are DAB+ compliant, which delivers improved audio quality and better reception than a standard DAB radio. In-car digital radio is seen as one of the biggest challenges for the industry, and the news here is promising. DRUK reports that 85% of new cars have digital radio as standard and 2.1 million cars with DAB digital radio were sold in the UK last year. Rajar reports that in-car digital listening

The LG Stylus 2 smartphone with 4G, FM Radio and DAB+



DIGITAL RADIO Goodmans Go portable DAB+ digital radio with Bluetooth and NFC

hours in Q2 2016 grew by 49% year-onyear to 58 million hours, from 39 million hours in Q2 2015, and now accounts for 24.5% of all listening. “In 2007, we launched the world’s first in-car digital radio adapter, the original Highway,” comments Pure’s Graham. “This year we have launched two new adapters, Highway 400 and 600, which create some great opportunities for our retail partners.” Roberts’ Watters comments that there has been some excellent progress made on new cars; however, he adds that the 30 million cars that require converting is still a “big issue” and there are still no really compelling and affordable options for the consumer. In-car digital radio adapters start from around £50, but Rajar notes that over a million people now listen to digital radio via smartphone in their car. Smartphone manufacturers have been slow to adopt DAB, but LG is an exception, with its LG Stylus 2. Shaun Musgrave, product marketing manager for LG Electronics UK and Ireland, says: “With 2016 seeing the largest expansion of DAB coverage and content to date, the LG Stylus 2 with 4G, FM Radio and DAB+ is the perfect device to move users away from analogue radio. Our partnership with UK Radioplayer provides the world’s first hybrid Radioplayer app capable of switching between DAB and streaming over 4G/3G without interrupting users’ listening.”

“…over a million people now listen to digital radio via smartphone in their car”


There are many new digital radio products and developments for retailers to sell. Pure’s Graham says: “We see colour screens as an increasingly important feature for DAB digital radios, so it’s great to be the first manufacturer to bring to market a new receiver, the Elan E3, incorporating Frontier’s new low-cost colour screen technology. This is a major benefit of digital radio over traditional FM services; images can include station branding, song and artist pictures, news, traffic and weather information in full colour.” Goodman’s is keen to highlight its range including the sub-£30 Canvas, which comes in different finishes; the Go portable with splash-proof design and built-in smartphone charging; the Heritage II Connect and Heritage Connect Portable, both of which offer Bluetooth streaming and Spotify Connect. 24


For Roberts, the most significant launch in recent years is its R-line, according to Watters. “We have included Digital Radio in three of our R-Line multi-room models, allowing listeners to experience DAB or internet radio as part of their multi-room proposition, in addition to Bluetooth and Spotify connect.” “We have recently launched a number of different form factors including DAB clock radio, DAB Boombox and DAB with Bluetooth,” advises Sony’s Glover. “The portable DAB radio XDR-V1BTD makes a perfect addition to the kitchen or living room, allowing the user to enjoy Bluetooth and digital radio in stereo sound quality from a compact design. Our portable XDR-P1DBP offers big sound from a small and lightweight design.”


Ruark’s R1 radio in eye-catching ‘Swiss Red’ marks the company’s 30th anniversary

The digital radio market has come on in leaps and bounds over the past year, but what are the biggest challenges? “Radio continues to thrive, but we need to be vigilant, as this trend is not as strong with the younger, more digital

savvy audiences,” says Pure’s Graham. “We need to ensure that this market is catered for with products that offer access to streaming and provide innovative streaming services that incorporate compelling radio content. We look forward to introducing a new range of digital radios throughout this year at a range of price points. We will also be looking at working with retailers to ensure that they have the right product for their customers.” “Keeping the momentum up for the adoption of digital radio can be a challenge,” says Sony’s Glover. “However, with campaigns like the digital tick and strong quality products, digital radio can continue to grow.” VQ’s Merricks says the world for broadcasters has never been so vibrant, “thanks to the fantastic work of the BBC and commercial broadcasters who deliver growing listening figures quarter-onquarter. Now is the time for retailers to really back the digital radio wave that is spreading across the UK, with partners committed to the industry for the long term.” LG’s Musgrave thinks the challenge for smartphone manufacturers is considering the benefits of adopting digital radio: “DAB/DAB+ offers a significant benefit to battery life over alternative streaming methods, such as Wi-Fi and 4G, using only one fifth of the power of audio streaming via mobile data. Manufacturers must weigh this significant benefit against the unit cost of incorporating a DAB chipset into their handsets.” Roberts’ Watters says: “We need government to commit to digital switchover if we really are going to see a step-change in the radio market. With certainty and a switchover date, the industry can plan properly and consumers can be taken on the migration journey together with a well-funded and joinedup campaign. Continued uncertainty is unhelpful and leaves radio lagging behind in the digital age.”

STELJES AUDIO DIGITAL RADIO RANGE The Steljes Audio digital radio range brings together beautiful design, high tech content and remarkable audio performance at a realistic, affordable price. Two models are available, the SA20 and the SA60. One can access FM, DAB, DAB+ and internet radio (SA60) while also having access and control of Spotify and 1:1 pairing with Bluetooth.

Telephone: 01633 895918

Email: sales@premier-uk.com

Available in three contemporary yet classic finishes, these radios will grace any home. Smart features include multi-room options (SA60), as well as displays showing information such as a song’s title and artist. Excellent sound quality, of course, is a given. Why wait, get one today.





“Research by the BBC has found that since its introduction, the tick mark has developed consumer confidence in the UK.“


any in the industry welcome the digital radio tick mark, including Jonathan Merricks, VQ’s CEO and creative director, who says: “There is a growing understanding amongst consumers that the digital tick is here and what it means for them in terms of quality, future-ready products.” James Glover, product manager, Sony Audio agrees: “The digital tick campaign is helping retailers up-sell DAB and raising its profile with consumers. We advise our retailers to up-sell DAB as it offers an improved way of listening to radio and has many benefits, including increased signal quality and more detail displayed on the LCD screen.” But not everyone is a fan of the tick mark. Owen Watters, CEO Roberts, says: “The digital tick is not visible at retail and is only carried by a small number of manufacturers, so it hasn’t had any impact at all. Our view has been well documented; once we have a switchover announcement, we should consider a joined-up industry campaign around the tick mark and not before, otherwise it is meaningless and will ultimately confuse the consumer.” Nevertheless, many manufacturers and retailers do welcome the tick mark and anything that helps boost consumer confidence in digital radio and provide some degree of future proofing. Note the phrase, “some degree”, because the tick mark is a moving target, and as digital radio technology advances, so the tick mark specifications will change. It happened last July, when Digital Radio UK (DRUK) introduced an updated version of the Digital Tick specification. The new specs focus on the number of signals digital radios can receive and the display system. In Europe, DAB broadcasts in VHF band III, between 174 and 240MHz.

Band III is divided into 38 channels, with different countries allocated different channels. Until recently, a digital radio could gain a digital tick mark by being able to receive 12 Band III channels, enough for the UK market. The problem was that digital radios could not be used abroad in Europe. The new specification is designed to plug this gap. It requires digital radios to receive signals across 38 Band III channels and display a full range of Latin-based scripts. “The new specification aims to ensure that tick mark devices will work across Europe, something which many manufacturers are already required to do for other European markets,” says DRUK. “This will also enable the specification to be adopted in other European markets, should they choose to do so, to the benefit of consumers, manufacturers and broadcasters.” Richard Lindsay-Davies, CEO of the DTG (which does the testing for the digital tick mark), says: “Research by the BBC has found that since its introduction, the tick mark has developed consumer confidence in the UK. By appearing on product packaging, buyers know that their product is DAB+ compatible, digital, ready for switchover, and most importantly, future ready.”

But the new specification means that consumers could be faced with three types of digital radios – those without the tick mark, those with a tick mark for the older specification, and those which conform to the latest tick mark specifications and can be used in Europe. I asked DRUK whether there were any plans to differentiate between the older and newer tick-marked digital radios, such as a different coloured tick. This is what DRUK said: “We have adopted the approach taken for the TV digital tick, whereby changes can be made to the specification throughout the lifetime of the tick mark programme and devices are considered to meet the tick mark specification at the time that they are tested. As such, we do not intend to implement any alteration to the appearance of the tick to reflect the European specification. However, retailers can check whether a product is European specification compliant by referring to the list of all tick mark approved products at: www.getdigitalradio.com/industry.” The message for retailers is clear: make sure you know exactly what specifications a tick-marked digital radio conforms to before selling it to a consumer. SEPTEMBER 2016 GET CONNECTED





ince 1936 the UK has had five progressive picture definition standards. The latest, called ITU-R HDR-TV BT2100, provides TV producers, distributors and broadcasters with three standards: Full HD, UHD (4K) and 8K, and caters for HDR, see page 26 of the Jan/ Feb issue. Here we are interested in UHD/4K, which affords a pixel count of 3840×2160, four times the resolution of existing Full HD pictures. For the full benefit of UHD, the whole programme chain, from studio to home screen, must be capable of the full bandwidth/bit rate involved.

3840 x 2160

Definition standards compared


1920 x 1080


1024 x 576 500 x 377 405





UHD is part of Sky’s Q service, whose other main feature is ‘fluid viewing’, whether on the main living-room screen, in secondary locations around the house, or via a tablet, all achieved wirelessly. In conjunction with Sky broadband, Sky Q boxes provide Wi-Fi hotspots in their vicinity. There are three kinds of Q box; only the Sky Q Silver type is capable of UHD operation. There is not, initially, a dedicated channel for UHD. Instead these very high definition programmes are distributed amongst existing ones and available to select with suitable equipment. Content is primarily sport (with football strongly featured), movies, documentaries, natural history and drama. HDR is not featured in this first phase of UHD broadcasting – it will come later, as will an expanded line-up of programmes and features. Freesat is a potential carrier of UHD content but it is unlikely to feature on terrestrial TV (Freeview) in the foreseeable future due to its very high bit rate (hence bandwidth) demand. Fibreto-the-home has excellent UHD capability.

UHD is available at no extra charge to existing Sky Q Silver customers. For new subscribers the cost is £56 per month plus £99 installation fee; in addition the package needs to include Sky Sports and Sky Cinema to receive UHD programmes in those categories. The upgrading tariff is somewhat complex for those who already watch Sky TV, but personalised quotes are available on the Sky website. The boxes are rented from Sky. It’s been calculated that about 6% of the UK population already have UHD TV sets, but not all of these will be capable of resolving UHD broadcast programmes, see below.


The first essential for UHD broadcast viewing, then, is a Sky Silver tuner box and appropriate subscription. The TV must be capable of UHD operation at 2160p50 and have an HDMI port specified for v2.0 or higher operation with HDCP2.2 capability, generally those produced in the last

year or so; earlier models are mostly fitted for HDMIv1.4, not suitable for this operation. The TV’s software needs to be fully up to date and will probably need reprogramming as the technology progresses. TV manufacturers can advise on this and provide new software as it becomes available to accommodate developments and new features and benefits – and to iron out the bugs that sometimes arise. UHD TV sets generally have the required capability on one, sometimes two, of their several HDMI sockets, so the satellite box needs to be plugged into the right one: e.g. on LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony TVs, the latter being amenable on HDMI ports 1 and 2. Intermediate equipment in the HDMI chain, generally audio gear, may not be capable of passing UHD datastreams, necessitating a direct cable link between the TV and the Sky Silver box, and perhaps a new ‘fast’ one may be needed. The LNB may need to be replaced, along with the dish if it’s physically incompatible with that.


Sky Silver box



Viewed across a typical living room, UHD might not offer much perceived definition improvement over HD because the human eye can only resolve it at a relatively small distance. Thus viewers will have to sit closer (they probably won’t want to do that!) or go for a larger

screen in the range of 65 inches or more in a typical living room. For good home cinema an even larger set (or a projector, though few, e.g. Sony, models are compatible here) is recommended. This lends itself to selling up or size upgrading from an existing model. Very large screens may not be amenable to cabinet mounting, presenting an opportunity to offer a wall-mounting and installation service. For movie viewing, be it from broadcast, online or Blu-ray, the stunning pictures from UHD gear really demand a surround-sound outfit to do justice to them, hopefully beyond an ordinary soundbar. Here then is potential for the sale of anything from a 5.1 Dolby outfit to installation of a full-blown home cinema system...


The advent of UHD broadcasting is momentous, and it will grow from its present niche market, albeit inhibited by the cost of its hardware and programme subscriptions. It’s good to be able to say to a prospective customer that it’s now available from broadcasts via an existing dish and from multiple sites on the internet. Ofcom has predicted that 30 UHD channels could be available in the UK by 2025, while satellite programmecarrier Astra (already handling 26 UHD channels worldwide) expects more. All good for the retail trade!

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Get Connected Magazine - September 2016  

The Magazine of the Electrical Goods Industry. 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word In and around the industry 14 The Green Room Home Laundry...

Get Connected Magazine - September 2016  

The Magazine of the Electrical Goods Industry. 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word In and around the industry 14 The Green Room Home Laundry...