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The “Golden Quarter,” that period from October through to Christmas and the New Year when retailers expect to make the profits that put a shine on twelve months’ hard work, has lost some of its lustre. “Black Friday,” this year scheduled for November 23 but actually lasting for weeks, is more about turnover than margin. Does anyone remember the old saying: “Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity”?
hese annual retail self-harm events, “most promotional market” as code for where discounting seems to be the “most savage discounting.”) Sir Charlie adds only resort, are a prompt for retailers that “the pressure on gross margin has – especially in the CE sector where margins predominantly been from our commitment are particularly thin – to think carefully about to maintain price competitiveness,” and what choices you have. goes on to say that this reflects, among Do you want to be known for your product other things, “our Never Knowingly expertise; your friendliness; your skilful Undersold promise, where we have seen an ranging; your convenience; your setup and unprecedented level of price matching as installation services; your provision of an other retailers have discounted heavily.” A engaging experience; your after sales support; warning to all retailers that if you see being your unbeatably low prices? All of these, the cheapest as so important that you make and every combination of them, can be valid it a brand-defining promise, you’re going ambitions for a retailer. The combination will to suffer heavily from a fiercely competitive be an individual one depending on what you discounting environment. sell, where you are and who you see as your It will be interesting to see how JLP customer base. But you can’t be all of these handles its “Never Knowingly Undersold” things, and if you want to be cheapest, your promise into the future, alongside its other margins will limit your ability to be excellent in reputational asset of “delivering the values other aspects of your retail offering. of expertise, trust and customer This may be obvious, but service expected from the its importance has been John Lewis & Partners brought into sharper focus brand.” Perhaps it’s time “Perhaps it’s time by the half-year results to admit that you can’t to admit that you of a retailer that has be the cheapest and can’t be the cheapest always been seen as the best. Something and the best. Something an example of how has to give, and if you has to give, and if you to run an effective value your reputation value your reputation for multi-channel retail for delivering delivering quality service, operation. The John quality service, that that something Lewis Partnership has something is price. is price.” reported profit before tax But probably most & exceptional items down chilling for CE retailers 98.8% for the half-year to 28 was Sir Charlie’s comment July 2018. In the same period, that “gross margin was also gross sales were up by 1.6%. Interpretation affected by a sales mix shift towards of these figures is never simple, but it’s electronics rather than big ticket items in not over-simplifying too much to say that, Home.” In other words, the more CE we sell where a modest increase in gross sales and as a proportion of our total home appliances a massive drop in profits coincide, margins sales, the smaller our margins. What is this may have something to do with it. industry doing to its potentially most exciting JLP Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield’s category? comments on the figures (see page 6 of JLP cannot afford to stop ranging this issue) are enlightening and frightening. CE in its stores, because it’s part of the He says John Lewis & Partners’ gross comprehensive offering. But all retailers are margin “has been squeezed in what has faced with choices, and it’s a question of been the most promotional market we’ve how much profit you want to sacrifice in the seen in almost a decade.” (We are taking pursuit of sales.
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SEPTEMBER SALES GROWTH AT FIVE-MONTH LOW
igures released by the British Retail Consortium show the difficult environment retail is operating in, after a curb on consumer spending resulted in the weakest sales growth for five months. Sales declined by 0.2% on a like-forlike basis, against an increase of 1.9% in the preceding year. Total sales rose 0.7% (the lowest since October 2017) against a rise of 2.3% in September last year. BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson attributed the poor performance partly to high taxation on people and property, stating that this is contributing to store closures and job losses and stalling the successful reinvention of our high streets.
“The retail industry pays a disproportionate amount of tax,” she said. “It represents 5% of the economy but pays 10% of business tax and almost 25% of business rates.” Online sales of non-food products grew 5.4% in September – the lowest growth since January and well below September 2017’s growth of 10.7%. The online penetration rate, however, continued to increase, up from 22.7% to 24.2%. Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, said: “The final golden quarter of the year marks the ultimate test for many players, but retailers must also successfully navigate the upcoming government Budget, Black Friday, Christmas and, of course, Brexit.”
PRICE-MATCHING DRIVES DOWN PROFITS AT JOHN LEWIS
he John Lewis Partnership reported profits down by almost 99% for the firsthalf of the year and said it expects full-year profits to be substantially lower than last year for the Partnership as a whole. Chairman of the firm Sir Charlie Mayfield said: “These are challenging times in retail.” The Partnership – John Lewis and Waitrose – saw profits fall to £1.2 million for the six months ended 28th July 2018. The decline was driven mainly by John Lewis & Partners, where the commitment to maintain price competitiveness was the dominant factor. “This reflects our decision not to pass on to our customers all cost price inflation from a weaker exchange rate and from our Never Knowingly Undersold promise, where we have seen an unprecedented level of pricematching as other retailers have discounted heavily,” said Mayfield.
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Gross margin was squeezed in what the retailer described as “the most promotional market we’ve seen in almost a decade.” Commenting on the outlook for 2018/19, Mayfield said: “With the level of uncertainty facing consumers and the economy, in part due to ongoing Brexit negotiations, forecasting is particularly difficult, but we continue to expect full-year profits to be substantially lower than last year for the Partnership as a whole. “We expect profit growth in Waitrose & Partners will be offset by the continuing margin pressure in John Lewis & Partners and by incremental costs of investment. “We are continuing with our plans for the future in this half and have great confidence in the attractiveness and potential of our offer across Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis & Partners as we approach the final quarter.”
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE SLIDES AS BREXIT CLOCK TICKS DOWN
onsumer confidence fell by two points in September as fears for the general economy continued to drag the overall figure deeper into negative territory. GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index fell to -9, with expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months falling to -27. Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, attributed the negativity to the UK’s forthcoming withdrawal from the EU, stating that the clock ticking down caused the consumer mood to drop. The last positive headline score was in January 2016, when +4 was recorded.
RETAIL TRADE RECORDS SHARPEST INCREASE IN LIQUIDATIONS
un & Bradstreet’s UK Q2 Industry Report, which looks at data from April to June, found that, of all the sectors reviewed, retail recorded the sharpest increase in the number of liquidations in the quarter, up by 23.5% on Q1. Year-on-year total retail insolvencies increased by 36.7% and, according to the report, a robust increase in retail sales over the same period was not enough to prevent a quarterly rise in the number of bankruptcies. 688 companies liquidated in Q2 compared with 662 in Q1. Markus Kuger, Senior Economist at Dun and Bradstreet, said: “With uncertainty rising over the next months, ahead of the final stages of the Brexit negotiations, we expect retail sales growth to remain modest in the quarters ahead as consumer spending continues to be restrained. “A slowdown in sales growth means that the number of liquidations could rise in the coming quarters. Indeed, the uncertainty surrounding the retail sales outlook remains high. However, the stilllow unemployment rate will continue to provide a boost to domestic sales volumes.”
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HAIER CONTINUES EXPANSION WITH ACQUISITION OF CANDY Qingdao Haier Co. Ltd., which claims top global position by sales among home appliance manufacturers, has further advanced its global expansion and drive to be a world leader in smart home appliances with the acquisition of Italian domestic appliances manufacturer Candy, owner of the Hoover brand since 1995, for a reported £422.8 million.
ccording to a disclosure filed by Haier with the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the board approved the deal and a wholly-owned European unit of Haier will pay in cash to acquire 100% of Candy S.p.A. from Candy’s current owners and founders, the Fumagalli family. The deal will require approval by regulators in China, the European Union, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, said Haier.
Candy said in a statement: “Qingdao Haier and Candy are highly complementary in brand and product portfolios, as well as supply chains. The combination is expected to further enhance both sides’ competitiveness in the European and global markets. The innovation and synergies between the two companies in smart home appliances will also bring a totally new customer experience.” On successful completion of the
deal, Haier’s European headquarters will be in Brugherio, Italy, where Candy is currently based. Candy, founded some seven decades ago, has production plants in Italy, Turkey, Russia and China. The UK, France and Italy are its top three markets. Haier has been pursuing a global expansion through acquisition policy for some time. In 2011 the Group took over Sanyo Electric’s washing machine
and consumer refrigeration businesses in Japan and some Southeast Asian countries; in 2012 white goods manufacturer Fisher & Paykel was acquired; and in 2016 Haier paid some £4.25 billion for the appliance unit of US company General Electric. The Chinese giant said in a press statement: “By joining forces with Candy’s management team, Haier aims to expand its leadership in smart home appliances in Europe.”
DIXONS CARPHONE MAINTAINS FULL-YEAR GUIDANCE
ixons Carphone said its full-year pre-tax profit guidance of around £300m remains unchanged and first-quarter performance was in line with expectations. In a trading update for the 13 weeks ended 28th July 2018, the retailer said UK & Ireland like-for-like revenue was flat, with growth in consumer electronics around the World Cup offset by softer white goods and computing markets. Mobile like-for-likes were down 1%, with a reduction in postpay deals as anticipated, but continued share gains were achieved in SIM Only and SIM Free.
Group like-for-like revenue was flat, in line with expectations, with 13% growth in online sales and a 2.6% increase in penetration to 21.4%. Sales in the Nordics were flat, but like-forlike revenues in Greece increased 9% as its Kotsovolos business strongly outperformed the market. Group Chief Executive Alex Baldock said: “We’ve made good progress in setting a clear long-term direction for the business, one that sharpens our focus on the core and that better joins up both our offer to customers and our business behind the scenes.”
DANBY CHOOSES UK FOR EXPANSION INTO EUROPE
D Richard Wilkinson has been appointed technical manager of Quiet Mark, with responsibility for overseeing the acoustic testing programme of technical evaluations and award assessments across all industry categories in the domestic and commercial sectors.
Fisher & Paykel has announced the appointment of Mark Young as Retail Sales Director. He joins the business from German brand Miele. Rangemaster has made two new appointments in a bid to strengthen its position in the UK market. Lee Harris joins as National Account Mark Young Manager, a field-based role looking after a selection of accounts. Emma Line, who has progressed through the company in a number of roles since joining in 2014, has been promoted to the role of Brand & Digital Marketing Manager.
anby Appliances, Canadian manufacturer/distributor of air treatment and cooling appliances, has announced its expansion into European markets, commencing with the UK & Ireland. The company will offer a range of products across all retail sectors via technology distributor Exertis. Danby President Jim Estill said: “The UK is an important step in our ambition to develop and grow our European footprint. “The Danby way is to offer value-added products that give our retail partners the opportunity to sell something new and exciting. We have a strong existing product stable aligned with new exciting technologybased products on the horizon. We look forward to building long-term profitable relationships with our partners in the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe.” John Welbourn, an industry veteran and one-time CEO/MD of Vestel UK, will head the Danby launch throughout Europe.
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YOU CAN’T SUPPORT THE DIGITAL ECONOMY BY TAXING DIGITAL SERVICES, SAYS E-COMMERCE FIRM
MIDWICH POSTS STRONG FIRST-HALF PERFORMANCE
idwich Group has reported a 48% jump in pre-tax profit for the six months ended 30th June as acquisitions made in 2017 helped lift both revenue and margin. Pre-tax profit for the first half of the year rose to £11.8 million on revenues of £264 million, up 25%. “The Group has had another strong first half and I am pleased with the performance across all of our territories,” commented Managing Director Stephen Fenby. “The strong performance reported in the first half, coupled with positive sales momentum and strong contributions from recent acquisitions, gives the Board confidence that the Group will report full year results in line with its revised expectations, which were upgraded at the time of the Group’s trading statement on 20 July 2018.”
Head of Consumer Research at e-commerce delivery firm ParcelHero has criticised Chancellor Philip Hammond’s proposal for a new Digital Services Tax on internet giants such as Amazon, announced in his speech at the recent Conservative Party Conference.
avid Jinks MILT called it a “blunderbuss” tax that will slam the brakes on retail growth. Jinks applauded Hammond’s call to embrace the technological transformation underway, but said he is dismayed by the proposal to tax the UK’s booming e-commerce sector. “There’s no doubt that the Chancellor was right on the money when he said that today’s technological transformation will be what future history books cover – not Brexit. But by announcing a new Digital Services Tax he could immediately put the brakes on the one growing area of retail. It needs to be made clear this will apply only to global giants such as Amazon, not to UK-based e-commerce sites.” On Chancellor Hammond’s wisecrack, “You can’t order long-term change on Amazon Prime – order today and it’s delivered tomorrow”, Jinks said: “The British High Street would prefer it if we didn’t order anything at all on Amazon
Prime, but we must not introduce a blunderbuss tax that hits all e-commerce sites, including UK-based ones. “We agree entirely that global internet giants must contribute fairly to the British economy for the money they make in the UK, but international agreements are being drawn up on this issue, likely to tax global sites at 3%.” Jinks said that Hammond should wait for the findings of his own newly appointed expert and forthcoming international legislation, rather than introduce a Digital Services Tax that sounds as if it will not discriminate between UK e-commerce websites such as John Lewis and global giants such as Amazon. “It sounds as if it is the poor old British shopper may end up paying extra for ordering UK goods online,” he commented. “If he [Hammond] wants to restore the Great British High Street he should listen to the Business Secretary and look again at excessive business rates, rather than a UK tax on digital companies.”
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CONSUMERS SCEPTICAL ABOUT CONNECTED HOME DEVICE OWNERSHIP t echUK’s second annual State of the Connected Home report exploring the knowledge and understanding
of categories and ownership of connected home products and services shows that the number of connected devices owned by consumers has grown from 35% in 2017 to 44% in 2018, and there is early evidence that some devices – particularly home assistants and smart meters – may act as a gateway to ownership of others.
here are, however, clear barriers to take-up, according to the report, with cost – specifically a lack of perceived value – cited by over 40% of respondents as a significant barrier. Privacy (23%) and the security (16%) of devices are also shown to be considerable barriers for consumers. Matthew Evans, head of techUK’s IoT programme, commented: “The connected home can deliver real productivity and cost-savings to consumers, as well as that elusive prize of peace of mind. However, our report demonstrates
NEW MANAGEMENT TEAM FOR CE ACCESSORY FIRM TECHLINK
echlink founder Ralph Allen is to step back from his active role in the CE accessories firm he has run for 40 years, leaving the management of the business to a team of three. Former MD of Vivanco and Lawton Neil Drain (pictured left),
who has had a long association with Techlink, takes on the role of Head of Sales. Paul Russell (right) joined the company as Head of Product 12 years ago and is responsible for the design and technical specification of products. He also handles Techlink’s manufacturing partners, oversees product development through to production and heads the inhouse design team covering product, web, graphic and packaging design. David D’Rozario (centre) joined the company more than 20 years ago and is responsible for supply chain management in his role as Head of Operations.
SHORTCUTS Connect Distribution has introduced a competition with over £2000 worth of prizes to mark the launch of the its new retailer catalogue. ‘The Big Quiz’ will run throughout October and November offering the chance to win something new each week. A Connect Distribution trade account and a copy of the new catalogue are required to take part. Beko is running a three-month promotion with Finish tablets across all models in its dishwasher range. The incentive runs until 7th November and is available to all national accounts. A second promotion will run from 8th November until 13th December, offering three months’ worth of Finish gel with the purchase of the brand’s AutoDose™ models. Belling has partnered with children’s charity HENRY in the launch of a recipe book to help parents and children enjoy cooking healthy food together. Copies of the cookbook will be made available through HENRY and iBooks, and are also free to download from the Belling website.
that privacy and security concerns are real barriers to the adoption of connected home technologies. “If industry is to deliver these benefits, then we need to work doubly hard to address these justified concerns and continue to demonstrate the value that these new products and services can deliver.” The study is based on of an exclusive survey of 1,000 UK consumers, conducted by GfK, and is available at www.techuk.org.
NOLTË KITCHENS FEATURE IN CIH RECEPTION MAKEOVER
IH has installed two Noltë kitchen furniture displays in the reception area at its head office in Andover – a move the buying group said demonstrates its commitment to the partnership it has with the KBBG (Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group). The installation, part of a complete refurbishment of the reception area, comprises a selection of furniture colours and finishes. CIH CEO Stuart Cook commented: “The installation of the Noltë kitchens in the CIH reception demonstrates our commitment to the unique partnership we have with KBBG. CIH is dedicated to supporting its members, as the independent electrical retail market can be challenging, and we are delighted to provide our members with the tools and support needed to develop and evolve their businesses.”
2018 CEDIA AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED
EDIA has announced its 2018 EMEA and Global Award winners following a ceremony at the British Museum, presented by The Gadget Show UK and US host Jason Bradbury. The Awards, which celebrate the best in design, installation and integration, were supported by headline sponsor ABB, alongside Bowers & Wilkins, Gira, IFSEC International, Meridian Audio, Drinks Reception Sponsor Habitech and after-party sponsor URC. Matt Nimmons, Managing Director of CEDIA EMEA, said the outstanding quality of all projects in every category was “incredibly inspiring” this year. “They have set the benchmark for next year’s CEDIA Awards and the industry as a whole, and we hope this inspires members to put forward their projects into next year’s awards scheme.” The full list of winners can be found at www.gcmagazine.co.uk
GDHA is rolling out an initiative to support independents and increase its share of the range cooker market. “Elite Retailer”, a title and benefits package that will be offered to up to 50 independents displaying a minimum of six range cookers across the Belling, Stoves and Britannia brands, provides a range of financial and support benefits and significant investment in each of the retail showrooms. See www.gcmagazine.co.uk for the full story Electrical Safety First’s annual product safety conference will be held at Church House, Westminster on Thursday 29th November. MIAN Audio Distribution has been appointed sales agent for Atlas Cables’ range of specialist Hi-Fi and AV cable solutions in the UK market. AEG’s top-of-the-range 9000 series washing machine has been named Best Washing Machine by technology magazine T3 at its annual awards.
GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED GEORGE COLE PINPOINTS HOTSPOTS IN THE WORLD OF CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
AI – BUZZWORD OR GAME-CHANGER? If there’s one thing the consumer electronics industry loves, it’s a buzzword it can attach to products. There have been loads over the years: “digital”; “connected”; “networked”; “smart” are examples.
he latest is “Artificial Intelligence”, or AI. You couldn’t move around this year’s CES Show in Las Vegas or IFA show in Berlin without bumping into a product, booth or presentation that was shouting “AI!” at you. LG’s keynote speech at IFA laid out the company’s future strategy for AI which, we are promised, will transform our lives. The concept of AI – devices that can exhibit human-like traits, such as recognising patterns or learning from experience – has been around for decades. Indeed, there have been many CE devices over the years that have adapted to their environment or used data to interact with the user – think of the TV screens that automatically adjust the brightness according to a room’s ambient light level or MP3 players that warn you when the volume is at a level that could damage your ears. But these devices are rather simple in design. They tend to respond to a single factor, such as the level of light or sound. Today’s AI-driven devices are in another league. The success of smart speakers from companies such as Amazon, Apple and Google has spurred the drive to develop AIdriven devices. Technologies such as speech recognition, biometrics and deep learning are finding their way into CE devices, with advances in algorithm design and processing power making them smarter, faster and more flexible. AI is seen as playing a major role in brown goods, white goods and wearable products, especially in the health and fitness sector. There’s no doubt that some AI products will prove to be flops or frivolous: do I really need a smart fridge that will recommend recipes or
a smart device could use image processing technology to search for images, so that if I wanted to find all the photos of say, past family holidays at the seaside, they could be located in seconds? My digital music library currently allows me to search for music by song, album or artist, but I’d love to be able to find all the tracks in my library that, for example, include a piano solo. Better still, to be able to simply use my voice to ask the digital library to find specific things. AI could make this possible, although I suspect we are some way off before such products are a reality. It’s easy to be cynical about AI, and certainly some of the claims made for the technology are over-blown, but in ten years’ time AI will join the long list of buzzwords that are now part and parcel of today’s CE devices - including “digital”, “wireless”, and “stereo”.
“Do I really need a smart fridge that will recommend recipes or tell me when I am running out of milk?”
tell me when I am running out of milk? But I can see many areas where AI technology could make life easier for me. Take a simple example such as digital photographs. My digital image library goes back some years now, and runs into the tens of thousands of images. Despite my best efforts at cataloguing them, I have loads of folders containing countless unknown images. The only way of knowing what’s in them, is to open the folders and look through the image thumbprints – an arduous task. Wouldn’t it be great if
DOES THE WORLD NEED S
amsung made a lot of noise at this year’s IFA Show by not only showing its 8K TV – the Q900R – but promising to bring it to market in the next few months. Expect others such as Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and LG to follow suit in 2019 or even earlier. It’s a remarkable set, with a screen resolution of 7680 x 4320 – sixteen times greater than HD. The question some are asking is: with many consumers still yet
to embrace 4K, do we really need 8K? I’d say yes, we do. The CE market is driven by innovation and this is just the next step in the development of TV. There are doubtless many people who are still perfectly happy with standard definition pictures or mono sound, but think how much poorer home entertainment would be if we had stopped developing these technologies.
Caple gunmetal grey fridge-freezer Caple’s French door CAFF45 fridge freezer, an addition to the brand’s gunmetal grey collection, features four compartments, one of which (bottom left) can be used as either a fridge or freezer. The 526-litre appliance is A+ rated for energy and has a sensor which determines if there is sufficient light in the room to illuminate the fridge compartment so the internal lighting will not come on unless necessary.
Misty Blue stand mixer marks 100 years for KitchenAid KitchenAid is preparing to mark its 100th anniversary, which takes place in 2019, with the introduction of a 4.8-litre stand mixer with a Misty Blue finish. The appliance is part of the Limited Edition Heritage Artisan Series and comes with attachments including a flex edge beater, flat beater, dough hook and wire whip.
Wharfedale D300 Series speakers “redefine expectations” Wharfedale, the company which in the 1980s offered an entry point to Hi-Fi sound with its quality, budget-priced Diamond speaker, has “redefined the low-cost, high-performance speaker concept” with the all-new D300 Series. The range comprises four models, with a starting price point of £159 per pair, and is available in a choice of black, white, walnut or rosewood.
Teka adds dual fuel gas and induction hob to WISH range The 90cm Teka Wish gas-on-glass + induction hob (IG 940) has five independently programmable cooking zones – four induction and one double-ring gas burner – which are operated via touch control. The unit has an LED display and programmable timer, an auto-lock safety device, residual heat indicator and power management function.
www.partners.pjh.uk | www.teka.com/en-gb
Miele introduces CM 7550 bean-to-cup coffee machine Miele has added to its range of countertop coffee machines with a new model equipped with the brand’s WiFiConn@ct technology and intelligent AromaticSystem, which is said to produce perfectly brewed coffee with an intense aroma. The appliance has a choice of 20 beverage options and accommodates the programming of up to 10 individual user profiles. Available in Obsidian Black or Brilliant White with a CleanSteel fascia.
Q Acoustics Concept 500 speaker Q Acoustics’ flagship Concept 500 speaker is marketed as “the most advanced, innovative and refined model” from the brand. Dual Gelcore™ construction is used for the three-layered cabinet configuration with inner cabinet walls bound together by a non-setting gel which dissipates high-frequency vibrations generated by the moving drivers to maintain an audio performance free from resonance. The unit is available in a choice of finishes.
Extractor designed with space in mind
TCL launches new 4K TV series
Falmec’s Spazio extractor system is designed with particular focus on homes where space is at a premium. The 180cm unit accommodates an overhead rail of cooking utensils and incorporates a spice shelf, USB ports and a tablet holder for those who follow online recipes or simply enjoy music while they cook. It also features lighting that allows plants and herbs to photosynthesise in order to grow.
TCL’s 4K C748 Series features the brand’s SMART 3.0 and Freeview Play catch-up and on-demand services. The unit has Wide Color Gamut (WCG) technologies with HDR PRO and a high-quality JBL soundbar. It is the newest addition to TCL’s Cityline Series featuring a bezel-free design with 7.9mm profile.
Leisure introduces Cuisinemaster Pro Leisure’s Cuisinemaster Pro (PR100F530K) range cooker claims the largest capacity main oven in the 100cm range cooker market. The 75-litre oven is complemented by a tall fan oven – ideal for batch cooking – and a large five-burner gas hob with wok burner. This new model also has an extended ceramic zone with cast-iron griddle pan.
High quality deck
FROM THE BENCH
FROM THE BENCH
RECORD DECKS Renewed interest in vinyl records has brought new business to both sales and service sectors of our trade. Alan Bennett describes the hardware
nalogue sound recordings enjoyed the peak of their popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. They were challenged by cassettes then gradually overtaken by CDs during the ‘80s. Now vinyl is back, better than ever...
TURNTABLE The revolving table on which the record sits rotates at 33 or 45rpm, while a few modern ones can go to 78rpm. Turntables are made from various materials: metal, plastic, acrylic, carbon, resin, and even MDF, and weigh between 1 and 20 kg or more. Common is metal: pressed steel in cheaper decks, heavy cast aluminium in more expensive models. The weightier this platter is the more inertia it has, ironing out speed variations arising from the drive motor and its bearing, which are called wow in the lower register and flutter at higher frequencies, and impart to the music disturbing tone/frequency variations. The turntable is driven by an electric motor, running from an AC or DC supply, and coupled to it either directly, so that the shaft and bearings are common to both, or by a belt. An earlier system, still often encountered at the repair bench, uses a stepped drive shaft and an idler wheel driving the inside rim of the turntable, moved up and down the steps by the speed control knob. Belt drive has the advantage of smoothing out fluctuations in torque and vibration from the drive motor, and is held by some to be quieter in operation and capable of higher fidelity in reproduction, while direct drive may be regarded as more reliable and accurate speed-wise, with greater acceleration and more power. I believe that, in this sphere, performance depends more on design and build quality than on the actual drive method. A good turntable renders wow and flutter variations below 0.05% and rumble below 60dB; some of the very best and most expensive decks achieve figures near or below the capability of the test equipment used to measure them. Hand in hand with this goes the mechanical/acoustic isolation of the base to which the turntable system is fitted, implemented in its materials and construction and/or in its mounting feet.
Enthusiasts’ passions run high regarding this and other aspects of deck type, design and construction, and specialist retailers often have strong views likewise.
“A good turntable renders wow and flutter variations below 0.05% and rumble below 60dB...”
TONE ARM The tone arm is pivoted from the right-hand rear corner of the deck and carries the cartridge. It is generally angled or S-shaped to align the cartridge with the grooves in the record, and may be made from aluminium alloy (common), plastic, carbon fibre, graphite or even balsa wood in some esoteric designs. A tone arm must be very free to move in both horizontal and vertical planes, with virtually no friction, and very good bearings have been developed to this end. Other requirements are absolute rigidity and minimal resonances. The tone arm has a counterbalance system generally based on a weight behind its pivot – to achieve an effective stylus weight of 1-2gm on the disc, sometimes adjustable to accommodate different pick-up cartridges. Another factor here is the sideways bias of the stylus due to friction in running; this makes it lean on the inside (RHS) groove wall, causing distortion or imbalance between the channels. To counteract this an anti-skating device may be fitted; some of them require careful and skilled adjustment with special test equipment.
CARTRIDGE Once called a needle, the stylus rides in the record groove to read L- and R-channels from its 45°-angled and independent walls. It’s generally made of diamond with an elliptical profile. The vibrations it picks up pass to the cartridge, a crucial component. In here the stylus
shank carries tiny magnets alongside fixed coils (moving magnet, MM type); or miniscule coils in the close proximity of fixed magnets, MC type. In each case the signals are developed in and derived from the coils. MM types have a higher output, about 2.5mV, while most MC variants produce a much smaller electrical signal around 0.25mV, but are generally favoured amongst connoisseurs who claim that they give better sound. Again, much depends on the implementation. Of course, MC cartridges’ signals need more amplification than MM types. Impedance mismatching of a cartridge may cause dull or shrill reproduction and impair definition and dynamism. This brings us to the electrical section. Records are cut with suppressed bass to reduce the groove deviation (gives longer playing time and eases the job of stylus and cartridge); and boosted treble to reduce noise in playback. This must be corrected by a shaping filter (RIAA equaliser, working over a range of 20dB on each side of 1kHz) in the pre-amp, which can be implemented in the analogue or digital realm, the latter in decks having an A-D converter and USB output for interface with a PC or other digital device like a smartphone or home hub. Bluetooth decks can do this wirelessly, e.g. to loudspeakers and headphones. Otherwise a pre-amp, built-in or outboard, raises the analogue electrical signal to line level in twinphono sockets.
PRICES Record decks range up from below £100; good ones start at about £250 and go up to five figures. I found one, without tone arm or cartridge, at £165,000! High quality second-hand decks, e.g. some Denon, Linn and Rega models, commonly fetch £500-£600... Denon DL110 MC cartridge
Special Integral Supplement www.gcmagazine.co.uk
Inside... Seasonal Cooking
Small Kitchen Appliances
Heating & Air Treatment
Pick of the Sea son A selection of products for the seasonal quarter
It may be approaching the season of abundance, of hearty meals and festive entertaining, but for consumers contemplating the purchase of cooking appliances, it is those suited to everyday lifestyles and culinary competencies that should be under consideration
say this often, but we’ll say it again, as it still applies to many consumers: Those coming back into the market for cooking appliances after many years will no doubt be surprised by the developments in products, the choice of finishes and the technologies, some of which may not have existed or perhaps weren’t a mass-market proposition when they last shopped for such products. According to Euromonitor International, the average ownership of a built-in oven is 15 years and a built-in hob 17 years, so, when the time for replacement comes, there are umpteen openings for retailers to engage consumers with product knowledge and demonstration.
THINKING BIG With the prospect of Christmas ahead it is natural that most people replacing an oven will focus on the size of the cavity and the accompanying interior paraphernalia required to accommodate a variety of cooking activities. And if the all-year-round lifestyle demands a large cooking capacity, never has there been a greater choice of 65-litre-plus models on the market. A number of major brands have products with extra-large cavities, more cooking levels and heat distribution systems that ensure even airflow throughout, without the transfer of flavours – a welcome feature that consumers can benefit from in everyday cooking. Jennifer Taylor, Head of Brand at Hotpoint, notes that a decade ago, the standard oven
“Many consumers purchase appliances that boast incredible levels of functionality, but do not always realise their full potential”
O’Brien, Brand Marketing capacity was around Executive, Whirlpool. 55 litres. Today, “One may only need to the average is cook a large roast once much greater and or twice a year, but with ovens from Hotpoint Jennifer Taylor, entertaining and baking feature capacities up at home so popular, it is an to 73 litres. Hotpoint increasing requirement.” Large-capacity ovens In spite of this, the traditional come into their own during double oven is no longer the the festive period when sought-after appliance it once was as consumers are often cooking for consumers are beginning to realise that there large numbers of people, notes Caple product are better options that offer greater functionality. manager Luke Shipway, who recommends Large-capacity single ovens which offer appliances with technologies such as those that flexibility, providing the capability to cook a reduce the need to pre-heat the oven and also wide variety of dishes, are in great demand, prevent flavour and aroma transfer. He adds: according to O’Brien. “Two complementary “As well as pre-programmed recipes, built-in ovens offer greater options and extended ovens now come with a whole host of intelligent flexibility to consumers than a double oven features and innovative controls which will deliver – the most attractive arrangement of built-in outstanding cooking results and take the stress cooking appliances is the full-sized single and a out of cooking for guests during the festive multifunction combination microwave oven.” season. This makes built-in ovens the perfect If several oven cavities are needed, another choice for those who enjoy entertaining at home.” alternative is to opt for a range cooker. And, Another option worth highlighting to as Leisure Brand Manager Gino Grossi points purchasers is the split-cavity oven, which fulfills out, a cooker that takes the hard work out of the need for greater capacity while offering entertaining is a popular choice, “especially when energy savings when only one cooking level is planning big meals such as Christmas dinner for required or dishes need to be cooked at different family and friends. There’s nothing worse than temperatures. that last-minute panic when you realise you don’t MULTIPLE CAVITY OPTIONS have the space to cook a full roast.” “Capacity is always high on the list of Grossi believes retailers are likely to see consumers’ purchase criteria, especially consumers coming into stores actively seeking when it comes to ovens,” comments Sinead a solution to their cooking needs.
GRUNDIG’S BRAND AMBASSADOR – MICHELIN STAR CHEF MASSIMO BOTTURA.
LOOKS LIKE GOOD FOOD. FEELS LIKE A GOOD CAUSE. AT GRUNDIG WE BELIEVE PEOPLE SHOULD ENJOY GOOD FOOD – AND RESPECT IT. Massimo Bottura is the founder of Food for Soul, a nonprofit organisation empowering communities to use surplus food for good causes, reflecting Grundig’s values for social responsibility and sustainable living. Working in partnership, Massimo Bottura and Grundig support the fight to reduce food waste through inspiration and innovative technology - making homes and the world a better place.
Advocating the range cooker option, he asserts: “Multiple ovens and hobs offer increased capacity which allows cooks to juggle several dishes at once – something that can’t be achieved with traditional cookers.”
KEEPING IT SIMPLE Appliances should make life easier in the kitchen, particularly for the 78% of British consumers who feel they do not have any great knowledge and experience of food and cooking. The task of cooking a large family roast with all the trimmings can be daunting for the best of us, but for the novice cook it can lead to an overwhelming moment of meltdown. There may be numerous programmes on ovens, but the number isn’t important. It’s what the appliance can do to assist, guide and ensure an outcome which is the closest thing possible to culinary perfection.
“Pyrolytic ovens have enjoyed double digit growth every year since their introduction, despite average prices over twice that of an oven without cleaning capabilities” Sinead O’Brien, Whirlpool
The five-zone C901i Sense induction hob from Caple is ideal for those that require sensor-controlled functions and plenty of cooking space
Sara Bazeley, Brand Manager for Indesit, believes that consumers should look for simple features that will save them time and effort when choosing an appliance, and appliances with easy-to-use controls are a “big story” at the moment, she advises. “A recent study has found that millions of consumers in the UK are baffled by the number of buttons, symbols and switches on their appliances. Eight in 10 consumers admit to a ‘trial and error’ approach when using their appliances, with 70% saying that manufacturers could do more to make products easier to understand.”
“The consumer is finally beginning to understand the many benefits that induction technology offers, alongside the long-term energy savings to be made” Sara Bazeley, Indesit
STRESS-FREE ZONE Hotpoint’s Jennifer Taylor opines that multifunction ovens – particularly those that boast an impressive capacity – help to ease the pressure in the kitchen, and she recommends benefits such as pre-programmed recipes that select the ideal cooking parameters (temperature and cooking time) and recommend the correct shelf position to produce the best cooking results, thereby eliminating stress from the cooking task. Gorenje product manager Richard Mackey agrees: “Automatic cooking programmes are the perfect way for consumers to take the stress out of food prep, as they allow everything to run smoothly, requiring minimum input from the user. All that the user needs to do is key in the dish type and weight, then press start. The oven will do the rest!” “Appliances that work to reduce stress in the kitchen are a bonus at any time of the year,” adds Hotpoint’s Taylor. “Research has found that 30%
of the UK entertains friends and family at home at least once a month. Appliances that offer a maximum variety of functions and innovative technologies which relieve stress in the kitchen are therefore a firm favourite with consumers, regardless of the season.”
LEISURELY PURSUIT Whirlpool’s O’Brien concludes by pointing out that cooking is not simply for big events such as family gatherings and Christmas. It is, in fact, an increasingly popular pastime, stimulated by the great number of cooking shows on television. “These have excited consumers and at the same time educated them. With people looking to emulate celebrity chefs and create top restaurant-quality food in their own homes, they are seeking out appliances that offer both the best and most advanced technology they can afford, and also value for money, energy efficiency and longevity.”
Beautifully Modern Range Cookers.
Our new selection of range cookers come in two classic colour-ways so that you can add a splash of pastel blue or a dash of cream to make your kitchen as colourful as the dishes you create. Not only will the MR95DFPB/CR brighten up your kitchen, they will help cook your favourite dishes perfectly. The forced fan oven function is ideal for when you are cooking for a large group, as the hot air is circulated around the oven helping to cook food evenly. To ensure hot food can be safely removed, these range cookers feature telescopic rails, and the cast-iron pan supports give more stability to pans as well as being more durable. These range cookers really are the perfect balance of function and style. Order today by contacting our sales team or via our webshop:
T: 03333 234 473 | E: email@example.com | www.montpellier-appliances.com Montpellier_UK
Montpellier Domestic Appliances
ÂŠ Copyright of Montpellier Domestic Appliances Limited 2018. All rights reserved. E&OE. Models: Range cooker MR95DFPB & MR95DFCR | Cooker hood CHT991PB & CHT991CR.
Pair with the CHT991PB/CR
There’s a De’Longhi coffee machine for every customer. De’Longhi. Unmistakeable Italian heritage, cutting-edge design and technology have made us UK Market Leaders in Espresso Coffee Makers*.
Bean to cup Coffee Machines Grinding your choice of fresh coffee beans for every portion, the De’Longhi Bean to Cup range is the pinnacle of fresh coffee and authentic Italian taste. Bean to Cup coffee machines are the fastest growing coffee segment in value and volume reaching over 31% value growth**.
RRP range: £400 - £1,699
Traditional Pump Espresso Machines Create your perfect Italian coffee using fresh and ground coffee of your choice or the convenience of Easy Serving Espresso pods, and frothing fresh milk for every portion. Traditional pump machines grew over 20%** showing strong customer demand for Barista-style coffee machines for the home.
RRP range: £110 - £220
Combi Coffee Machines Combining either espresso or steam with filter coffee makers, the Combi coffee machine is your all-in-one Barista coffee station.
RRP range: £200 - £300
* Independent research institute, value sales leader from Jan to Dec 2017. ** In MAT Jul 2017 to Jun 2018 GfK RT GB
Filter Coffee Machines Enjoy pour-over coffee at the touch of a button. The simplest way to make large quantities of black filter coffee. Brewed slowly through a filter for a smooth taste. Driven by the popular coffee-shop demand for pour-over filter coffee, the market grew 8%** in value.
RRP range: £40 - £150
Nespresso Espresso Machines With 22 single-serve Nespresso coffee capsules available and fresh milk carafe, the De’Longhi Nespresso Lattissima range is a convenient way to enjoy great coffee. Single serve coffee machines are 54% share** of the market in value, with the over £100 segment growing 34% in value**.
RRP range: £100 - £450
Dolce Gusto Coffee Machines With 30 different single-serve coffee shop quality pods available, the De’Longhi Dolce Gusto range has something for every family member.
RRP range: £50 - £300
Discover more at: www.delonghi.co.uk
A small world of opportunity
SMALL KITCHEN APPLIANCES
looked to trade-up their home pod machines to fully automatic bean-to-cup machines in order to enjoy coffee-shop, barista-style beverages in the comfort of their own home.”
GOOD HEALTH Another ongoing trend helping to drive the SKA market is that Vacuum blenders of health & wellbeing, and the come with a great sales story for impact of this can be seen in health & wellbeing various categories. Groupe SEB’s devotees Ross says low-oil fryers provide a “major” Q4 sales opportunity in this market, reasoning that consumers look to “balance their enjoyment of eating traditional meals with family and friends with healthy accompaniments as the festive season approaches.” The Blenders category still very much benefits from the Some see them as gadgets, some as design statements. We see them as health trend, and we’re now the little gems, many of which hold great margin potential for retailers seeing well-known everyday brands introducing vacuum mall Kitchen Appliances is a sector useful features and benefits are ensuring small versions of these versatile products into their UK that drives retail footfall and, at the appliances continue to be a good category for portfolios. These appliances come with a great top-end, can prove to be a significant the retail trade.” sales story for health & wellbeing devotees. business and margin builder. It is also a sector The pre-Christmas sales period is “without Beko describes its model as designed to help that offers all-year-round sales opportunities – doubt” a key time for coffeemaker sales, retain more Antioxidants, Fibre, Vitamin E and whether supporting health kicks, making meal according to Ross. Products have always 40% more Vitamin C for longer. And here is the preparation and baking easier, speeding up the contained a large gift element in their purchase brand’s explanation of how this happens: “By preparation of breakfast staples such as tea and are “perfect” for home entertainment during cleverly removing air from the large capacity (or coffee) and toast, sprucing up the kitchen the festive season, she maintains. chamber before blending, there is no oxygen worktop, or using a statement piece to express contacting fresh food. As a result, oxidisation is THE NATION’S ‘MUST-HAVE’ individuality or culinary flair – the numerous unable to take place, meaning more vitamins Ross also draws on the phenomenon that product areas in SKA offer something that and nutrients are retained and your juice or made the coffee machine one of the nation’s every household will need or want. smoothie will boast a vibrant colour. Another ‘must-have’ small appliances: The café culture’s added benefit of the oxygen being removed SEASONAL PERKS continued ability to capture the UK’s imagination, beforehand is enhanced taste and preservation.” Small kitchen appliances have also in the past which in turn is providing healthy sales of topIain Starkey, Senior Marketing Manager at proved to be popular gift purchases, and with end machines. “The UK Bean-to-Cup coffee Beko, which has recently launched new hand prices to suit all pockets, new product ideas and machine market has seen tremendous growth mixers, choppers and blenders, says: “The trend technologies coming onto the market regularly, lately – up +30% in value and volume versus the towards people seeking healthier, nutrientand outstanding designs and colours to grace previous year – driven by a growing demand dense products at home and on the go shows any kitchen, it is a given that the festive period for premium homemade coffee. Consumers are no sign of waning.” holds promise for the sector. also spending more on their coffee machines – INFLUENCERS “The small appliance markets have always average market price went up by +1% – as they Further drivers in the small appliance market seen an uplift in sales in the run up to the peak look for machines that have more features and include the popularity of cooking shows such Christmas season – this was certainly the offer a wider range of recipes. as The Great British Bake Off and Masterchef, case in 2017 and this year will be no different,” “In fact, a recent study found that the average which inspire and encourage consumers to asserts Caroline Ross, Marketing Manager UK coffee drinker spends up to £450 a year on try their hand or experiment with cooking for Groupe SEB UK. “Real product innovation hot beverages to get their ‘fix’ from high-street and baking. At the time of writing, Beko’s will always excite the consumer, and genuine, coffee chains every year. Thus, many have
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SMALL KITCHEN APPLIANCES
Starkey points out that #GBBO has over 293,000 “Low-oil posts on Instagram, whilst fryers provide #Masterchef has an a major Q4 sales impressive 2.4 million posts. opportunity in “Influenced by these this market” prominent TV shows, consumers are investing more and more in kitchen gadgets,” he comments. “Retailers will likely notice customers searching for food preparation gadgets, as TV programmes like Bake Off inspire them to try their hand at new recipes.” These cooking shows have driven sales of blenders, food processors, stand mixers and kitchen machines, some of which have proved to be modern-day kitchen icons (particularly retro-styled versions) and provide healthy margins for retailers. Consumers are more discerning in their choices AIMING HIGH and have respect for what nowadays are design For retailers considering which product pieces that help make the cooking process categories to stock for the forthcoming season of effortless. promise (and hope!), the upper end of the market It’s a case of ‘horses for courses’ in the small is the place to be. Small appliances used to be kitchen appliance festive marketplace, and thought of as items that were purchased with each individual retailer will know what products, enthusiasm, only to be used a few times then brands and price ranges their customers consigned to the back of the cupboard when are likely to buy into and adapt their offering the novelty wore off. But times have changed. accordingly. With products ranging from kitchen
The pre-Christmas sales period is a “key time” for coffeemaker sales
machines, food processors, blenders, juicers and soup makers, through to multicookers, slow cookers, fryers and grills, not to mention the humble kettle, toaster and sandwich maker – the comeback kid of the sector – or the nation’s favourite: the ‘must-have’ coffee machine, which now has a dedicated following on its way back for seconds. A notable number of consumers are upgrading their first machines to capsule/pod models or top-end bean-to-cup machines.
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A GET CONNECTED SUPPLEMENT
In 2018 the TV & AV industry continued to serve up platefuls of technology for consumers to digest. At the same time, the appetite for non-traditional ways of consuming content is growing. But for retailers in this world of flux, the questions are ultimately the same: can I make profit out of TV sales, and if so, what do I need to be selling? DTV was once the “ultimate” in picture quality. Ironically, many viewers raved about the startling clarity of their new “HD Ready” TV’s picture, even if there was no HD broadcast source. The power of suggestion is always a factor in consumer perception, and when it comes to the latest TV technology, just knowing you have it can be as important as experiencing its benefits. Times – and consumers – have become more sophisticated. Smart functionality and UHD have upped expectations even more. 8K made a big impact at IFA this year, causing some to question whether consumers are ready for it (see George Cole’s column, page 11 of this issue). If the jury’s still out on 8K, this year’s IBC (International Broadcast Convention) event in Amsterdam this year, drawing some 55,000 media, technology and entertainment professionals, may have given at least a partial verdict. Chris Evans, of research analyst Futuresource Consulting’s Broadcast & Professional Video Equipment section, asserts: “IBC marked a significant step forward in the eventual adoption of 8K. Though its use as a broadcast format will remain niche, the potential it has to enable new techniques in acquisition are abundant. With [Japan’s largest broadcast organisation] NHK set to start broadcasting their 8K content in December this year, the acceptance of 8K is already well under way. “Shortly before IBC, 8K held a notable presence at IFA 2018 in Berlin, as Samsung, Sharp, LG, TCL and Toshiba all dedicated space at the convention to showcase 8K consumer displays. The continued focus on higherresolutions by TV manufacturers at the show indicates that it won’t be long until they begin their attempts to drive 8K into the home, as they did with 4K.”
“The TV marketplace is driven by innovation, and opportunities such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Smart Homes could well provide interesting new potential upgrades to Smart TVs.” Who, among CE retailers, does not feel a frisson of anxiety seeing “Blockchain” and “TV” in the same sentence?
WHO WANTS IT? Innovation can sometimes take the industry up blind alleys. Witness 3D TV. As FFalcon’s Tony Guo says: “The downfall of 3D in the consumer electronics market is something else to note, proving that what the industry sees as essential or popular innovations don’t always garner the same interest or excitement with consumers.” Likewise, Guo points out, FFalcon’s recently published “white paper” on the state of the Smart TV Market suggests even well-established growth areas such as Smart TV can’t be guaranteed to keep on delivering growth for ever. “Getting consumers to actually trade in their old set, and splash out on a new piece of kit, is not a given,” Says Guo. “Worryingly for TV manufacturers, people might be getting a bit tired
of the relentless rush to persuade them to get a bigger, better and smarter screen.” While it’s comforting that “in all major regions, Smart TVs are now the TV of choice,” accounting for 194 million of the 214.5 million TV, Smart TV and DMP shipments in 2018, the white paper also “casts doubt on the future growth of the industry, showing that although smart TV shipments are on the rise, the compound annual growth rate of TV sets overall has actually shrunk by 6% between 2012 and 2017.”
WHERE TO FROM HERE? Guo adds: “Now that many have upgraded their set, the Smart TV industry is trending towards stagnation. By 2020, just 10% of devices shipped are predicted to be additional sets, rather than replacements, declining from 40% in 2008. This is prompting manufacturers to think about where to look for growth, keen to avoid the decline that other TV sets are currently suffering from.” While this doesn’t mean smarter, bigger, slimmer, clearer screens will lose their charm tomorrow, it does mean that the industry, including retailers, does have to keep an eye on the mid- to long term future of the sector. “The lack of a clear development path,” says Guo, “has prompted TV manufacturers to look around at types of business that are currently succeeding in the wider industry. For example, OTT and Video on Demand players such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have caused not only a shift in viewing habits, but they are also starting to shape how Smart TVs evolve too, not least because OTT video services are expected to generate $30.64billion revenue globally by 2020, when nearly 620 million unique users will use OTT video services globally… so this kind of move to platforms rather than products offers a key opportunity for manufacturers.” The disrupters are here. Manufacturers may have to start bridging the traditional divides between content and hardware.
WHAT’S NEXT? The industry, as it does, is already thinking about innovations to take advantage of technologies that have only just begun to be heard of – let alone understood – by most consumers. As Tony Guo, CEO of FFalcon Technology – part of the TCL, Group which officially launched in the UK market in August this year and claims to be the world’s third largest TV manufacturer – says:
LG ThinQ: innovation still driving ahead
HEATING & AIR TREATMENT
Dimplex’s Artesia wall-mounted fire produces the sound of crackling logs via an inbuilt Bluetooth speaker
Planet series and David Attenborough’s mission to reduce plastic waste in the ocean, more and more shoppers are now considering the end life of products, whether drinks bottles or electrical appliances. With this in mind, oil-free radiators are not only more energy efficient and less carbon intensive to produce, but they are also easier to recycle than oil-filled radiators when their life comes to an end – a key message that should be music to the ears of savvy retailers. If we converted every oil-filled radiator placed on the market each year in the UK to an oil-free model, we would save one million litres of oil.
3. Connected devices Connectivity of devices is proving to be a big pull for sales of electrical items. Driven by the smartphone revolution, many high-specification portable heating products, including leading Dimplex models, offer Bluetooth compatibility which can enable quicker, easier and more accurate control – particularly for physically infirm users or those with mobility issues who might otherwise struggle to operate the controls on an appliance.
4. Coloured appliances
Nick Paul from Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation, which includes the Dimplex and Xpelair brands, looks at the key trends in sales of heating and air treatment products, following a year of extreme highs and lows on the weather front his has been a year like no other in recent memory. In February and March we experienced the ‘Beast from the East’, a prolonged spell of bitterly cold weather that followed what had been a relatively normal winter in line with temperature and rainfall averages. For the portable heating category, it was a welcome boost which drove another successful year of sales. Independent retailers, particularly those that held their nerve – and held stock – were able to maximise this to their advantage by meeting the last-minute requirements of their customers.
HOT SUMMER, HOT MARKET… In complete contrast, by summer we were basking in a record-breaking heatwave which, combined with the feel-good factor of the World Cup, gave some respite to the challenging retail market. Cooling fans were obviously the standout product as consumers sought relief from the enduring heat. Whilst some think this may have been a “one in 40-year heatwave”, others are predicting longer, hotter and more frequent spells of hot weather in the coming years. This not only gives retailers an opportunity to drive further sales in the coming
years, but also encourages consumers to choose higher specification models, knowing that they will get additional use. However, the weather is not the only driver of this lucrative market for forward-thinking retailers. By looking deeper into the purchasing habits of consumers, we can identify some fascinating trends that retailers should be aware of with regard to portable heating and air treatment.
1. Indoor air quality This growing awareness of the dangers of poor indoor air quality is driving sales of effective air treatment products. And with up to 90% of our time spent indoors, air purifiers are becoming increasingly popular, as consumers seek solutions to overcome hay fever, other allergies, or to tackle harmful VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which can be emitted from a whole host of everyday items such as furniture, carpets, paints, cleaning products and even buildingfabrics and materials.
2. Environmental concerns Another key trend shaping the purchasing habits of consumers is concern over environmental issues. Driven by the success of the BBC’s Blue
Coloured appliances continue to attract attention, with everything from kettles and toasters to cookers and fires all benefiting from a splash of colour. Consumer confidence in buying higher-ticket items with colour is growing, and it’s easy to see the impact on new product development for items such as wallhung electric fires and stoves.
5. Lot 20 We should also consider regulatory trends, particularly Lot 20, which is part of the EU’s Energy Using Product Directive (EUPD). Under the new regulations which came into force in January, all ‘fixed’ electric local space heaters, or portable heating products that offer wall mounting, manufactured for sale into the EU must comply with a minimum efficiency standard. It is the single biggest piece of legislation to impact portable heating and fires in recent years and the transition period is still under way, with redesigned products usually replacing older models once stocks are exhausted. The new regulations apply to appliances which provide heat to indoor spaces by generating heat in the location within which they are situated, as long as they are attached to the wall (including on brackets). This includes electric radiators, portable convectors that offer wall mounting options and certain electric fires. Redesigned products offer better quality and greater energy efficiency, both of which are appealing propositions for consumers. It is easy to see the enhanced sales and margin opportunities for retailers.
PICK OF THE SEASON
Pick of the Season Manufacturers and suppliers promote their 2018 “Pick of the Season” Coffee the JURA way
URA has revolutionised the way coffee should be enjoyed with its range of luxury bean-to-cup coffee machines, developed by a dedicated team of Swiss engineers. With innovation, precision and quality in the brand’s DNA, each JURA machine offers a range of speciality coffees, revolutionary technology and ultra-modern design. New for 2018, the JURA S8 features more than 15 expertly made speciality coffees from
the comfort of the user’s home. It offers revolutionary technology that extracts the perfect flavour from the beans, a onetouch function, and super-stylish finishes including Chrome and Moonlight Silver.
01282 868266 uk.jura.com David.Naylor@uk.jura.com Vivary Mill, Vivary way, Colne BB8 9NW.
Successful meal preparation this winter with De Dietrich
A Classic from Fisher & Paykel
ighly sophisticated in its design and attention to detail, French kitchen appliance brand De Dietrich has a range of Chef Inspired ovens which not only look smart but have unrivalled functionality. With exclusive technology patented by De Dietrich, a fully automatic cooking experience is made possible in the ‘Chef’ Mode. De Dietrich ovens also offer a Culinary Guide with up to 50 pre-set recipes for high-quality cooking. From roast beef to crème caramel, users can enjoy delicious dishes with little effort during the long winter evenings. De Dietrich appliances are available from AB Distributors.
he new F&P Black Classic Range OR90SCG6B1 adds a warm touch of tradition to any kitchen. The design team in New Zealand focussed on getting the details right and delivering craftsmanship in every detail, with the solid, perfectly balanced soft-close door, durable trivets and glowing halo dials. This single-door range has an extra-large capacity (120L net), so it’s easy to cook multiple dishes in the large oven. Even heat throughout the oven ensures dishes on the top shelf turn out as perfectly as those on the bottom, and the appliance delivers effortless cleaning with side racks that can be left in during the pyrolytic self-clean cycle. SSP £3,499.99.
5-Star Trusted Review for Melitta Barista TS
elitta’s premium Barista TS bean-to-cup coffee machine has been awarded a 5-star review from Trusted Reviews.
Trusted Reviews said: “If you want flexibility and excellent coffee, the Melitta Caffeo Barista TS Smart is a top bean-to-cup machine. The AromaIntense and smartphone control add much to the original Caffeo Barista TS, making a great machine even better.” Once again, Melitta has impressed with the quality of its espresso shot, and it’s very close to the best you can get with a top manual machine. A rich, full-bodied and oily crema sits on top of the drink and lasts for a few minutes.
0844 557 3700 | www.connect-distibution.co.uk
Designing the technology behind great cookers Visit the website for details on the full cooker range for 2018 or call sales on 01949 862010
Featuring "Changing Seasons" Special Integral Supplement: A seasonal look at electrical and electronic products ahead of the crucial pre-Chr...
Published on Oct 12, 2018
Featuring "Changing Seasons" Special Integral Supplement: A seasonal look at electrical and electronic products ahead of the crucial pre-Chr...