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GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED Ofcom’s plans to rollout white space spectrum

FROM THE BENCH Plasma display in terminal decline?




A 2-minute interview with Vitamix’s Martin Devaney


A Great British brand for over 100 years

Come and see us at The BBC Good Food Show Winter at the NEC Birmingham 27th November until 1st December 2013

Magimix products are designed to make life simpler for the serious cook. Most have their roots in professional products originally designed for commercial use. For this reason they work well and are built better to last longer. The range combines the best cooking traditions with today’s technology, and is supported by strong domestic use guarantees and after-sales service.


Contents 4 6

12 Pioneer 2013 Soundbar range j

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Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33

Creative Director: Will Dobson


Magazine Advertising Sales: Brian Shilling Telephone: 01892 677 741

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

Production and Print: Blackmore Press, Shaftesbury, Dorset


Editorial Comment The Word

In and around the industry

The Product Gallery George Cole Gets Connected

Living in white space

From the Bench

Alan Bennett sums up recent trends and news in plasma display


A 2-minute interview with Martin Devaney, Sales Manager for Vitamix UK & Ireland

Annual subscription rate (inc. postage): UK £88; Overseas £108.

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Editorial Comment

Comment October: when Autumn colour and a chill in the air herald the changing seasons, and we all hope and plan for a little mellow fruitfulness at the end of another hard year. If consumers are going to spend, this is the time when they’re most likely to relax their tight grip on the purse strings and let themselves go.


re we, as a nation of shopkeepers, ready to capture our share of seasonal spending? It’s a question that becomes more complex with each passing year, especially for those whose experience and expertise has been devoted to bricks-and-mortar trading. Skills that have stood traditional retailers in good stead may have become less effective and less relevant in a world where online shopping is taking a bigger and bigger slice of the available consumer spend. High Streets around the country – by no means all of them, but enough to make it a general concern – are losing footfall, closing retail outlets and having to entirely rethink how they’re meant to be serving their community. And the comfortable retail prosperity of the first decade of the 21st century has been replaced by anxiety, uncertainty and the realisation that we’re all going to have to change the way we do business. One thing is absolutely certain: the competition – be it online traders or bricks-and-mortar rivals – are all retailers, and all competing with you for the really hard-earned cash of the buying public. Competition – so long as it is not actually illegal – can’t be effectively faced and overcome by simply crying “foul” and complaining that it’s not fair. Online retail, whether we like it or not, is legitimate competition, and it’s doing well in these difficult conditions. What can we do to be as competitive as possible? Apart from buying and stocking skilfully to complement your customer base, having an appropriate online presence to suit the type of business you’re running, and doing all the traditional things – such as presentation, product knowledge, customer service – as well as we can, we have to analyse the competition, understand its success and take the fight to the “enemy” with a clear plan of how to exploit our strengths and their weaknesses. 4


The now notorious Victoria Plumb TV ad that sparked so much fury among bricks-and-mortar retailers is a case in point. The “salesman in the bath” image, and the message that consumers need not pay for an expensive salesperson and an expensive showroom if they shop online, may enrage bricks-and-mortar retailers. But it is a powerful message that consumers relate to. Why should they, when they buy a product, have to factor into the price the salesman’s wages, the rent, rates, lighting, heating and maintenance of a shop or showroom? Why not shop online, and pay only for the product? Of course, there are massive holes in the online argument. But complaining to the rest of the trade about the advertising is not the way forward. We have to fight fire with fire. What are the weaknesses of an online-only retail business? Are there images that will illustrate these weaknesses simply and powerfully to consumers? Can they be communicated graphically to your consumer audience? If Victoria Plumb can come up with something that’s both humorous and compelling, why can’t we? Is the image of the cardboard packaging disintegrating in the rain as an online-ordered product is left exposed in the front garden useful? Is the image of the product ordered online that is found to be broken with no-one contactable to complain to an appropriate one for bricks-and-mortar retailers? If it strikes a chord in your potential customers, and is funny enough and powerful enough to make them think online shopping may not always be as cheap and easy as it’s claimed to be, it may give you an edge. In any case, it’s better to communicate with your customers, your public, than to complain to the trade. Can we afford to advertise? Or can we afford not to? It’s a dilemma that many traders will be facing in the final quarter of 2013.

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Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

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

A stunning new look. A great new size. And the icing on the cake?

The new Leisure 2014 range with unique design, quality models and upgraded features is now available. To learn more about the new range and for information on POS please contact your Leisure sales manager or call 0845 600 4916.

The Word : Industry News

Industry News Consumer confidence rises to highest level since November 2007 G

fK’s UK Consumer Confidence Index increased by three points in September, reaching the highest level since November 2007 as four of the five measures obtained rising scores. The ‘now is a good time to save’ Index recorded the only fall, decreasing by three points to -17, but overall personal financial situations and general outlook for the economy have stimulated appetites for major purchases. Nick Moon, Managing Director of Social Research at GfK, said it was a

“conundrum”, as the ONS reported figures showing that UK productivity is lower than every G7 country except Japan. “The Index has gone up in each of the last five months and gained a total of 17 points, the biggest five-month gain since January 1993. Whether the current economic recovery is real or will prove to be a credit-fuelled bubble, this continuing steady growth in confidence looks like good news for the Government,” he said.

John Lewis first-half results Department store chain John Lewis reported a strong first-half trading performance with revenue up £83.1 million (6.5%) to £1.37billion. Operating profit before restructuring costs increased 9.9% to £50.1 million, but fell 23.9% on the same period last year, to £34.7 million, when £15.4 million was taken into account for a new distribution structure and streamlining department store management structures. Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said the department store chain has “significantly outperformed” the market with like-for-like sales up 5.1% against the British Retail Consortium’s quoted 1.7%. “Sales growth both in shops (+3.4%) and online (+17.1%) reflects our position as Britain’s leading omnichannel retailer,” he commented. Electricals & Home Technology delivered a record market share of 7.6% and a sales increase of 15.7%.

DRL preparing for flotation on London Stock Exchange DRL Limited, owner of (formerly Appliances Online), is said to have chosen advisers to assist with a £300 million flotation on the London Stock Exchange. Sky News reported that DRL founder John Roberts has hired investment banks Jefferies and JP Morgan to prepare a public listing that could take place by the end of the year. Roberts, who is being advised by Rothschild, could earn around £60 million from his 20% stake in the company if it floats, according to Sky News. 6


Pace of store closures slows in first half of 2013 The rate of store closures has fallen slightly, from 20 a day in the first half of 2012 to 18 per day in the first half of this year, according to research compiled by the Local Data Company for PwC. The study of 500 town centres across the UK showed that 3,366 outlets closed in the six-month period compared to 3,157 openings, a net reduction of 209 shops (down 78%), against 953 in the same period last year. Women’s clothing stores, video and photography outlets suffered most, while charity shops, cheque cashing and betting outlets bucked the trend. The analysis shows the changing profile of town centres. 400 shops of a more traditional type, such as shoe & clothes shops, closed. In contrast, there was a near tenfold increase in openings of leisure (food, beverage & entertainment) outlets, from +28 in H1 2012 to +215 in H1 2013. Mike Jervis, insolvency partner and retail specialist at PwC, said: “Upticks in areas such as cheque cashing and pawnbrokers reflect a society where a sizeable part of the population is forced to turn to these types of borrowing for basic needs.” Mark Hudson, retail leader at PwC, said the high street needs to transform itself to be relevant to the “new normal” shopping behaviour: “This set of figures represents the continuing transformation of our traditional retailers and store estates as they respond to the changing behaviour of their digitally-enabled customers.”

Argos sales boost attributed to seasonal products and electricals Home Retail Group released its second-quarter trading statement, recording total sales at Argos up by 2.4% to £889 million. Net closed space reduced sales by 0.3% in the quarter compared to Q2 2012. Like-for-like sales increased by 2.7%, driven by strong performances in seasonal products and continued growth in electrical, both of which more than offset declines in furniture and homewares. An approximate 50 basis point gross margin decline was driven principally by the sales mix impact from growth in electricals.

The Word : Industry News

Dixons Retail addresses customers’ changing needs Dixons Retail says it is addressing the changing needs of customers with the opening of a new outlet classed as the “store of the future”. The new Currys & PC World shopping model located at Bluewater is the first of a new design format aiming to attract new audiences, with a particular emphasis on females and the tech-savvy young. Dixons said that in-depth customer research showed more needed to be done to attract these customer groups and the Bluewater store has been developed with this in mind, with a more feminine and attractive design, a greater emphasis on having fun with technology and an engaging and interactive in-store experience. New design concepts include Stay & Play areas and a Knowhow/Showhow area. Space in the outlet is flexible in that it can change to meet customer demands, seasonal changes in product ranges and store design, with play tables on wheels and moveable wall fixtures. It is also aligned with Dixons’ multi-channel strategy with in-store tablets and touch-screens at point of sale helping customers to make informed choices and decisions.

John Lewis partners with CollectPlus John Lewis has started the trial of a new collection service that will enable customers to pick up online purchases at local convenience stores and petrol stations. The trial will initially launch in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the South West of England.

Speaking about the new design concept, Sebastian James, Chief Executive Dixons Retail, said: “In it we have distilled everything we know about making these exciting and desirable products spring into life. “Our job is to make buying technology not just fun, but also easy, and I think this takes us another giant leap forwards in achieving that goal for our customers.”

The service will be offered in partnership with CollectPlus, the largest store-based parcel service in the UK, which has over 5,250 convenience stores, newsagents, supermarkets and petrol stations in its network. The John Lewis CollectPlus service will be available at 1,500 locations in these four key regions and will cost £3.



The Word : Industry News

Loewe enters self-administration process German TV manufacturer Loewe has been granted permission to carry out a self-administration insolvency process (Insol-venzverfahren in Eigenverwaltung) by the Coburg Insolvency Court. Loewe filed for creditor protection in July this year under an instrument in German law that allows technically bankrupt but still viable businesses three months to restructure. At that time, Chief Executive Officer of Loewe AG Matthias Harsch, when asked by the weekly magazine Der Spiegel whether Loewe will still exist in 12 months' time, replied: "That's the question I ask myself every morning. For the time being, my answer is still yes." Loewe said the business will remain fully operational and the restructuring process initiated by the Executive Board will also continue as before, focusing entirely on concluding the meetings with investors.

The company said its banks and the Bavarian state government continue to demonstrate their willingness to support the restructuring as a new investor is signed up. In mid September Loewe reported that it was negotiating with ten potential investors who had expressed a serious and longterm interest. "This strong interest is due to the market's confidence in the brand per se and to our new strategic direction based on a 'digital lifestyle' concept," said Harsch. "We are taking our time over the search for an investor in order to find the right partner and are now focusing on a small number of particularly promising offers with good future prospects."

Loewe recently entered into a strategic partnership with Chinese company Hisense and Harsch told local media that the company was still in talks with five potential investors. A number of written purchase offers (letters of intent) have been received from investors over the past few days, he said.

consumers will want to be able to manage in a straightforward way in the future," said Harsch. "We will therefore evolve to become the leading premium provider of smart home-entertainment solutions." Loewe also said it would expand its distribution channels to include collaboration with

In mid September Loewe reported that it was negotiating with ten potential investors who had expressed a serious and long-term interest. As part of the restructuring, Loewe has revised its brand and product strategy and given it a new focus. At the core of the change process is the move "from a TV manufacturer to an entertainment platform system provider" against a backdrop of changes in the media landscape. "Linear TV, internet, video-ondemand services, and personal content are merging into one entertainment offering that

technical superstores, especially in the entry-level premium segment. In a statement released following the Coburg Court’s decision, Loewe said the partnership with Chinese company Hisense is making good progress. Joint sales and marketing activities had been launched in Austria during the Futura trade fair in Salzburg and the two companies plan to use Austria as a test market for other European countries.

Assurant acquires Toshiba to cut 50% of Lifestyle Services Group workforce in visual Specialty insurance provider Assurant has announced an agreement to purchase Lifestyle Services Group, a mobile phone insurance provider, for up to $160 million (GBP 107 million) in cash from Phones 4u Finance plc. The acquisition will complement and broaden Assurant Solutions’ footprint in the mobile marketplace and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory approval.

Dyson sues Samsung for patent infringement Dyson has issued proceedings against Samsung Electronics, stating that the Samsung Motion Sync vacuum cleaner infringes the Dyson patent for an invention entitled ‘A cleaning appliance with a steering mechanism’. Unlike the Apple vs Samsung cases which typically focus on design rights, this focuses on the way the machine works – its steering and manoeuvrability – and refers to the central steering invention that exists in Dyson’s DC37 and DC39 cleaners. James Dyson called the alleged infringement “a cynical rip off” by the Korean company. 8


products business Toshiba Corporation has announced that it would halve the number of staff in its visual products division to 3,000 as part of a restructure to improve profitability and strengthen the business. The company is to integrate its overseas TV manufacturing facilities, cutting them from three to one within this fiscal year, enabling it to increase products from original design manufacturers in the global market from the current rate of around 40% to 70% by FY 2014. Toshiba said it would end sales in unprofitable regions and focus on emerging markets including Asia, the Middle East and Africa, where growth in demand is expected. The visual products business is to be separated from the inhouse Digital Products & Services

Toshiba said it would end sales in unprofitable regions and focus on emerging markets including Asia, the Middle East and Africa, where growth in demand is expected. Company and merged with Toshiba Home Appliances Corporation. Resources are to be allocated to large screen Ultra HD (4K) LCD TVs and strengthening cloud services. The company also said it will reinforce development of visual products for business applications, including digital signage, another area where demand is growing.

The Word : Industry News

Auden Distribution sales and distribution company launches in UK Audio company Auden Distribution has launched in the UK with the aim of bringing the finest Hi-Fi products from around the world to high-end audio retailers. The new company will act as a complete sales, marketing and distribution channel both for domestic and international audio brands. Antelope Audio, Lumin and AudiMica Laboratory are the first brands to come on board with Auden but the company is aiming to establish a comprehensive portfolio of high-end names. Managing Director Bill Leigh said the firm is undertaking the provision of a highly experienced sales and distribution channel backed up with a seamless portfolio of dealer support and marketing services through trusted and established specialist service partners. For audio brands, it will provide a complete end-to-end solution to the UK market. For retailers, it offers “a unique portfolio of audiophile products, demonstration-based face-to-face sales and a raft of support services.”

GDHA rescues Britannia Living 67 jobs have been saved at range cooker specialist and UK distributor of the Bertazzoni and Best brands, Britannia Living, after it was bought out of administration by Glen Dimplex Home Appliances. Russell Cash and David Thornhill, partners at FRP Advisory, were appointed joint administrators of Britannia Living Ltd on 26 September. Immediately after the appointment, the business was sold to GDHA. GDHA CE Denver Hewlett said: “We are delighted that we have acquired such a great brand with an impressive history and are confident we can support its future development. This acquisition supports our long term strategy of developing and expanding GDHA’s presence in the premium appliance market.”

HAIER AND FAGOR TO ESTABLISH FACTORY IN POLAND Haier and Fagor have entered into an agreement to establish a manufacturing plant in Poland. The joint venture, to be held 51% by Haier and 49% by Fagor, will oversee the construction, use and development of a new refrigerator production factory in Wroclaw. Annual production capacity at the new site located at the Fagor Group Polish Industrial Park will

be 500,000 units, rising to a million units within five years. With an initial co-investment of €56 million, the agreement will enable Haier to considerably strengthen its position in Europe, where it aims to be among the top 5 brands in freestanding goods by 2016. It is also part of the growth plan that Spanish company Fagor has established for 2013-2016.

The Word : Industry News

Independent Made In Britain committee launches An independent Made In Britain (MIB) committee has been created following the success of the Made In Britain campaign launched in 2011 by British cooker manufacturer Stoves. The non-profit organisation that will take over the Made In Britain campaign from Stoves will be run by a committee of Directors from UK-based manufacturers as well as leaders of other organisations that support British trade and industry. Merseyside-based cooker manufacturer Stoves launched the

campaign for a standardised Made in Britain marque after research revealed that half of consumers were confused about which brands could still claim to be made in Britain. The findings also showed that two-thirds wanted an official seal of approval for products made in Britain and the majority thought British brands should bring manufacturing back to the UK. The campaign attracted 1,000 businesses. Denver Hewlett, CEO of Stoves, said: “We were thrilled with the

response to the campaign from the UK public and British companies alike, but as the popularity of the campaign grew, we realised we needed to maximise the opportunities that were presenting themselves. “Stoves will remain very much involved with the Made In Britain Campaign and we are delighted that people passionate about British manufacturing are giving their time for free to be part of the committee.”

Ruark Audio delivers another British technology record-breaking year joins new online ethical marketplace British company Ruark Audio has announced that it is enjoying its most successful year to date, with growth in the UK expanding by around 25-30% on 2012. Ruark Audio launched in November 2006 and since its inception has reported exceptional sales, despite the extremely tough trading conditions felt by many in the audio industry. Richard McKinney, sales director at the family-owned firm, said: “2012 was a record year for sales in the history of the company and we have continued to grow in 2013. The number of unit sales of R1MKII have almost doubled in several months when compared to the same months in 2012, with R2i & R4i following closely behind. With the addition of MR1 and R7 our turnover is likely to double within the next 12-18 months.”

Humax has appointed Mike Tometzki as European Business Development Director. Panasonic is supporting its DMCFZ72 and DMC-FZ200 Lumix cameras with a promotion offering purchasers complimentary membership to the National Trust. The incentive runs until December 31st 2013. The Essentials division of Big Red Sales has been appointed by Otone Audio to sell its full product line up. Armour Home has been appointed by specialist British headphone company RHA to distribute its new in-ear models to the independent retail sector. 10


Dimplex has launched its first ever national TV advertising campaign, with an eye-catching ad showing a selection of the brand’s Opti-Myst fires. It will be aired nationwide on ITV3 and selected regions of ITV1 during October and November to coincide with the autumn launch of more than a dozen new product designs. Freeview aims to capture viewers’ imagination with a new TV ad starring dancing tadpoles. The campaign, based on the proposition: ‘Entertainment. It’s even better when it’s free’, launched early October and is supported by a dedicated ‘Pondview’ hub on Freeview’s website. The new creative will be

used through the line via PR, social media and a regional roadshow tour this autumn. Argos has appointed Neil Tinegate to the newly created role of Head of Digital Innovation, reporting to Digital Director Bertrand Bodson. Argos said the new role is vital to bringing to life its strategic vision to be a digital retail leader, as announced to the City in October 2012. LG has introduced a major multimillion pound marketing campaign to support the launch of NOW TV on its Smart TV platform. The campaign will run across retail, print, TV, digital and social media, and will include a door drop to 1.1 million households.

British TV manufacturer Cello Electronics has given its endorsement to an ethical online marketplace promoting British-made goods and is selling its products via the platform. sells goods ranging from TVs to tea towels and reports that businesses are signing up each day to showcase their products, “without paying huge commissions for the privilege.” The firm also offers free delivery to customers. John Palaguta-Iles, founder of Hampshire-based Made Closer Ltd, said: “People can now vote with their wallets and make a choice. Most people are unaware of what is being made in this country and the pride that these companies have for their products.” Toaster manufacturer Rowlett Rutland is also a founder merchant of the business. Brian Palmer, Managing Director of Cello, said: “As a dedicated UK manufacturer it is great to be working with other like-minded organisations that can see the value of goods made in this county.”

The Word : Industry FeatureNews Title

Bang & Olufsen introduces new wireless speaker technology

Gino D’Acampo cooks for Zanussi competition winner Cathy Keir from Emsworth enjoyed a cook-in in her own kitchen with Italian chef Gino D’Acampo, after winning a nationwide Zanussi competition. D’Acampo provided a private cookery lesson before cooking a fourcourse meal and dining with the Emsworth-based winner and a group of her friends. Cathy picked up the competition entry leaflet from her local electrical retailer B & R Services in Southbourne when she recently purchased a new appliance.

Bang & Olufsen has announced the introduction of a new wireless speaker platform, the first ever to use wireless technology robust enough for high-end digital sound, delivering 24-bit uncompressed music and enabling installers to achieve cinema-quality surround sound without the clutter of wires. The new technology incorporates WiSA’s open standard, so Bang & Olufsen’s next-generation wireless speakers will connect to any WiSA compliant third-party television, Blu-ray player, AV receiver and suchlike. The Danish company will also build the technology into new television products.

LG PARTNERS WITH MANCHESTER CITY FOOTBALL CLUB LG Electronics has become the Official Digital Display Partner for Manchester City Football Club. The two-year deal will see the global electronics producer provide cutting-edge display technologies to the Etihad Stadium. As part of the partnership, LG will be permitted to use City players and the Club crest in advertising, packaging and point-of-sale across its sales networks worldwide. LG branding will feature in a range of advertising such as match day programmes and perimeter LED screens.

‘Tony the Fridge’ arrives at Land’s End Tony Phoenix Morrison (Tony the Fridge) has completed the challenge of carrying a Smeg FAB10 fridge weighing 42.5kg the entire length of the UK. For 41 days and 1,009 miles the 49 year-old Granddad from South Tyneside ran with the appliance on his back to raise awareness and money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Mike Giddings, managing director of Smeg UK, met Tony at Land’s End and greeted him with a £40,000 cheque for the Foundation.

New Zanussi dishwashers give consumers more time Life’s too short to wash up so help your customers save more than one week a year with Zanussi’s new dishwasher range


anussi is launching a brand new range of dishwashers designed for consumers who want to spend less time on the dishes and more time doing what they want. The new range was developed through extensive consumer insight, which highlighted the really important features that Zanussi consumers want from their dishwasher.

GREAT TRADE UP OPPORTUNITIES? EASY. There are three models in the range, spanning 66% of the market, with price points from entry to mid-market, allowing excellent trade-up opportunities. The new models all feature the Zanussi design signature: a sleek, contemporary look which our research shows 79% of consumers prefer over competitors’ designs.

FAST AND EFFICIENT The new range is fast, efficient and easy to use. Highlights include the 30-minute Quick Wash programme – the only dishwashers to offer this speed with an A-class cleaning performance – energy ratings of either A+ or A++ and water consumption of just 11 litres.

For more information please call Zanussi Trade Sales on 08445 610610

The Product Gallery


Gallery Leisure Cookmaster and Cuisinemaster range cookers Leisure is expanding its range cooker collection with the launch of two new designs and its first move into the 110cm category. The new Cookmaster and Cuisinemaster models have been designed in line with consumer feedback and offer increased oven capacity, extra burners and robust handles, controls and doors. The top of the range contemporary-styled Cuisinemaster 110 (pictured) features:


Extra-large capacity multi-function main oven / Slow cooking facility in third oven Programmable animated timer 5-burner hob with wok burner and cast iron griddle tray Cook Clean catalytic liners


0845 600 4916

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Pioneer 2013 Soundbar range Pioneer has launched a new soundbar range comprising the SBX-N700 (RRP £249.99), SBX-N500 (RRP £249.99) and SBX-N300 (RRP £169.99). All units are Bluetooth-enabled to facilitate wireless audio streaming from mobile devices with Pioneer’s Sound Retriever technology improving audio quality. j j j j


High-end models SBX-N700 and SBX-N500 feature in-built Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth / SBX-N300 has Bluetooth connectivity only Support for Miracast (an industry first for soundbars) SBX-N500 and SBX-N300: integrated twin subwoofers SBX-N700 complemented by separate wireless subwoofer to bring additional bass boost

0208 836 3500

JVC 2014 home theatre projectors JVC’s new home theatre projectors deliver substantial improvements in image quality and achieve the industry’s highest native and dynamic contrast. The performance boost is driven by a new imaging device, upgraded version of the company’s e-shift technology, 4K source compatibility and a user-selectable Intelligent Lens Aperture. The new models: DLA-X900R, DLA-X700R and DLA-X500R, will be available in November this year. j j j j j


3D-enabled 4K e-shift3 Light output 1,300 lumens Native contrast: DLA-X900R 150,000:1 / DLA-X700R 120,000:1 / DLA-X500R 60,000:1 Dynamic contrast ratios: DLA-X900R 1,500,000:1 / DLA-X700R 1,200,000:1 / DLA-X500R 600,000:1

020 8450 3282

Pure Evoke Mio by Orla Kiely Pure has introduced a custom designed digital and FM portable radio featuring Orla Kiely’s Striped Petal print in clementine, billing it “the ideal gift this Christmas.” SRP £149.99.


Mirror chromed handle, walnut veneered cabinet and cream fascia Input for iPod/MP3 player / 30 presets / Alarm and kitchen timer Optional rechargeable battery pack provides up to 24 hours of listening between charges


0845 1489001

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The Product Gallery

Maytag MDW 0612 AWG dishwasher This Maytag A+ rated dishwasher with Steam Clean® has IntelliSense® technology that delivers 50% savings in energy, water and time. Steam is used in the main wash to soften stubborn stains, guaranteeing that those left by coffee, tea and lipstick are gently and easily removed. The appliance has 6 programmes (Eco 50°C, Express, Fast Everyday 60°C, Sensor 40°C, 70°C Sensor and Pre Wash) and operates at 44dB(A). 10-year parts warranty, 2-year labour warranty. j j j j j


01932 816000

‘Gorenje designed by Karim Rashid’ induction hob

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08445 612612



0844 499 0101

Electronic controls Large capacity XXL Space+ oven Pop-in/pop-out soft opening steam water drawer Easy-read water refill LEDs / Top up indicator Optional steaming vessel for fish, vegetables and roasts



Up to 20 hours’ listening on a full charge / 1 hour from a 3-minute charge Playback formats include MP3, WMA, AAC-LC and Linear PCM Stores up to 1,000 tracks on built-in 4GB music player Pure sound from 30mm dome-type headphone driver unit Closed, dynamic headphones with 1000mW input power Available in black with illuminated LED Walkman® logo

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This new oven from Zanussi is quick and simple to use with a steam function based on the principle of dry steam. Steam is injected during the dedicated Steam/Fan oven programme. The time intervals are divided between fan with heating 75% and steam 25%, working at temperatures of 140°C or higher. j

The new Walkman WH Series offers a digital music player, surround sound speakers and headphones in an all in one, wire-free design. Two models, NWZ-WH505 and NWZ-WH303, provide different sound modes for dynamic, enhanced bass or clear, sustained mid- to high-range vocals. Users can also listen out loud due to a combination of Sony’s proprietary xLOUD™ and VPT for Speakers technologies. Model NWZ-WH303 (pictured) features:

12 place settings / Water consumption 11 litres Multizone allows separate washes in top or bottom basket Removable upper basket creates space for extra-large dishes or trays Electronic multi-tab option / AutoClean Filter System LED rinse and salt-aid indicators / End of cycle acoustic indicator/ Delay start

Zanussi QUADRO™ multifunction oven with steam


Sony Walkman® WH Series

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This distinctive hob is part of the ‘Gorenje designed by Karim Rashid’ designer collection and is finished in black with induction zones highlighted by a curved pattern in white, or vice versa.


4 induction zones: Front left 1.4 - 2kW; Front right and left back 1.2 - 1.4kW; Right back 2 - 2.3kW PowerBoost heats zone extra quickly / SuperBoost sends super power to one zone / SuperPowerAllBoost sends super power to all zones PowerControl lets user set a limit for maximum power on entire hob Timer / Residual heat indicator 5-year parts and labour guarantee


0208 247 3980

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George Cole

George Cole Gets Connected George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics

Living in white space Y

ou’ve heard of black holes and dark matter, but what about white space? That’s the buzzword used to describe a technology making waves (pun intended) in the wireless world. White space is composed of unused frequency bands such as those used to separate digital TV channels. The bands are there to avoid interference between channels, but it is possible to use this spare spectrum without causing interference. Now, Ofcom wants to rollout white space spectrum next year, which could be used for a variety of services including rural broadband, video and data services. But with 4G just being launched, why the rush to launch yet another new wireless platform? The answer is that wireless services are expected to grow phenomenally over the coming years – one survey suggests that mobile data usage could increase eight-fold by 2030. Look at it this way: within ten years of the Wi-Fi wireless network standard being launched, 25% of homes around the world now

Big disc Every so often a new and revolutionary disc storage system arrives that promises to transform the optical disc industry. But whether it will remains to be seen, because so far, no physical format has shifted us away from 12cm discs read by lasers, whether they be CDs, DVDs or Blu-rays. But with 4K, 14


make use of the technology. Look at the number of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G devices out there. It’s estimated that between 25-50% of the television spectrum could be used for white space, also known as 5G. White space uses lower frequency waves than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and so the signals can travel much longer distances – miles rather than metres, and also pass through walls. A white space trial was launched in Cambridge in 2011, involving companies such as BT, Sky and Samsung. Eight white space base

or Ultra High Definition TV, sets on the market, none of today’s optical disc systems has the capacity to support UHD TV. So, could a new type of disc developed by Australian scientists be the solution? The disc is created by mixing a suspension of graphene oxide in water with polyvinyl alcohol and spin-coating it onto a glass disc. Graphene oxide is related to the new wonder material graphene, a form of ultra-thin carbon.

stations were set up around the city and various services supplied, such as streaming HD video from the internet to X-box games consoles. The trial went well and now Ofcom has announced a major trial, involving twenty public and private companies including BT, Microsoft and Google. One trial will involve providing traffic information along a stretch of the A14 between Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, while another will provide free Wi-Fi services in Glasgow. If all goes well, the first white space services could arrive next year.

So how does using white space spectrum avoid causing interference with adjacent frequency channels? In order to use white space spectrum, a special type of router, known as a master, is used. The master uses a system called cognitive radio technology, which works like this: the master interacts with an online database of white space frequencies. The master provides the database with its location and this is checked against a list of authorised frequencies for that area. The master is then permitted to use those frequencies. In many cases, the master will be in a static location, but some might be in moving vehicles, which is why a master must be able to switch between frequency bands. Ofcom says masters will need to be licensed in order to avoid interference, but white space devices will not need a licence, although they must not cause interference. The online database of frequencies will be provided by third parties and Ofcom hopes that there will be competition in this area.

The new discs open the way to holographic or 3D storage, which can store vast amounts of data. The result is a material called GO polymer, which is naturally fluorescent. By using a special laser it’s possible to switch the fluorescence on or off, creating a digital storage medium. A second laser is used to read the digital data. The new discs open the

way to holographic or 3D storage, which can store vast amounts of data. It all sounds promising, but I suspect this latest technology will be confined to the lab or perhaps some highly specialised industrial sector. So, don’t throw away your DVDs and Blu-rays just yet.

From The Bench

Plasma – in terminal decline? Alan Bennett sums up recent trends and news in the plasma display sphere

the best performance, in all respects, of the three, though its whelping is proving difficult, especially in terms of production yield and cost.


Panasonic TX-P60ZT65B


his spring Panasonic announced its intention to pull out of plasma TV production and sales by the end of next year, leaving only Korean companies LG and Samsung in the field. Plasma screens command less than 10% of the market, and have brought huge losses to Panasonic.


Plasma was the first large flatscreen technology to reach the market, introduced by Fujitsu in 1995 in the USA and by Fujitsu, Philips and Pioneer in the UK in 1997, at prices around £12,000 for a 42 inch model. Philips abandoned plasma several years ago, followed by Sony in 2011; five years ago Pioneer ceased production of plasma screens, and indeed all television products, having produced the best ever plasma panel, the Kuro (Japanese for black) type. In 2009 Panasonic acquired the rights to Kuro technology, along with some of the best scientists and engineers from Pioneer. This led to the production of their current high-end plasma models, with a claimed contrast ratio of 5,500,000:1 giving a very close approach to true black – in fact they used a Pioneer Kuro screen to demonstrate this, a tribute indeed. Now Panasonic has ceased research and development of plasma; its model ZT65 (60”) represents the final phase of its development of this technology, we are told. It is difficult, in the light of recent losses and the current tight financial situation, for manufacturers to justify the pursuit and development of three widely different display types, LCD, OLED and plasma. Of these the OLED type promises

having had a bumpy journey from home, lying on its back in the customer’s van: there were coloured stains and blotches on screen, the result of rupture of some of the gas cells. Plasma screens cannot be made as bright as some of the latest LCD types, and (though mitigated in some models by the addition of a special surface coating) tend to have a more reflective surface. These shortcomings are exacerbated by the tendency for people to view in bright ambient light, not ideal for television anyway, especially with movies and suchlike.

If and when plasma reaches the end of the road its loss will be keenly felt by home cinema enthusiasts, because it is here that plasma excels, with the best and most ‘cinematic’ picture of all directview types apart from OLED. It offers wider viewing angles than any type of LCD screen, least motion blur and – for gaming enthusiasts – a very short image lag. On the debit side there are several factors. Fashion (a disproportionately CURRENT PLASMA TVS large factor in TV popularity) demands Resulting from intense development thin screens and narrow edge-bezels, and refined production techniques, the and plasma screens cannot be latest crop of plasma TV products is made as thin and stylish very good indeed. Panasonic’s as LCD and particularly ZT65 model, in 60” size, OLED types. Energy has an excellent black consumption is level and, I believe, Plasma panels another important the best 1080p are also more fragile perceived aspect picture of all than those using other of home electrical currently available gear, and here TVs, with a price technologies, especially in again plasma tag to match – transit, where they need loses out to the about £3500, more to be kept upright and competition with a than any other carried smoothly.” relatively high rating set in its size range, and a tendency to including 65” models run warm. As corollaries from Panasonic itself and to these, the need for large other makes. It is the first TV internal power supply units and to conform to the stringent EBU3321 sometimes cooling fans reduces reliability, specification, designed to ensure that and the latter adds running noise. images look exactly as producers and It cannot be denied that plasma broadcasters intended them to. It has screens are also vulnerable to phosphor the MyHomeScreen Smart interface; burn whenever a bright, stationary Viera online features and facilities for image or one which leaves black margins calibration to THX and ISF standards. is displayed for long periods, and the From Korea, LG’s top-range plasma manufacturers’ efforts to overcome this product is a 60” model (60PH660V) – by ‘washing’ and by slowly orbiting the with PenTouch on-screen writing on-screen image – do not really work: facility, 600Hz refresh rate, catch-up TV the former exposes the whole screen facility and Smart Hub feature, Magic to burning while the latter merely blurs Remote and voice/gesture control. Its the edges of the retained image. No black level, while not up to that of the plasma manufacturer covers screen above Panasonic model, is very good. burn in its guarantee! Plasma panels Samsung, not to be outdone by LG, are also more fragile than those using offers the PS64F8500 plasma model, other technologies, especially in transit, also controllable by voice and gesture, where they need to be kept upright and and with catch-up feature, quad-core carried smoothly. This was brought home processor and integrated Freesat tuner, (literally) to us recently when a plasma along with ONTV smart interface. It set came into the workshop for repair comes out at about £1800.




2-minute Interview H

e has eclectic tastes in food and music and a great interest in nutrition and sport, although his sporting input is mostly delivered from the comfort of an armchair nowadays. Meet Martin Devaney, Sales Manager for Vitamix UK & Ireland, a man of former talent who once achieved the childhood dream of many a lad.…

Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry? I saw a Vitamix demo at the Ideal Home Christmas show at Earl’s Court and thought “wow – I need one of those”. It’s amazing how one single machine can make a difference to the way people cook and eat. I am really interested in food, health and nutrition so I get to indulge one of my passions by working with Vitamix

You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice, what character would you like to play? James Bond or Batman…. Driving the bat mobile at full speed would definitely be up my street, although I’m not too sure about that costume

Do you have any bad habits? I don’t think so – my children and wife would definitely disagree

What historic figure do you identify with most? Rather than identifying with anyone in particular, there are You have been offered Life is whatever a number of historic the opportunity to figures I admire: rule the world for a you make it; the Martin Luther day, what would be more you put in King, Ghandi & the first change you Nelson Mandela – all would make? the more you Increasingly in the individuals who have get out.” Western world today stood up for what they more and more people believed in despite the are overfed yet malnourished. threats to their personal safety A generation of children has lower Favourite TV programme? life expectancy than their parents. I don’t watch a lot of TV – other than We need to do something urgently to Sky Sports, although I really enjoyed tackle the ever increasing dependency Homeland with Damian Lewis recently on unhealthy processed foods and low nutrient diets Favourite cuisine? I love all kinds of foods: French, Italian, Do you have any hidden talents? Spanish tapas, Greek, Lebanese, Indian, I used to be a half decent footballer Southeast Asian and Japanese – how What’s your greatest achievement? can you choose? Playing football and scoring a goal at Favourite holiday destination? Wembley in 1989 for Tamworth was Corsica. We have had 4 or 5 extended definitely the realisation of a family holidays there and it’s always boyhood dream been beautiful – lovely beaches and What’s your favourite piece of kit? mountains, good food and wine, lots of My Vitamix Professional Series 500 sunshine and great company (obviously), as it gives me a fantastic Name your poison. green smoothie every day in minutes I do enjoy a glass of beer or wine after What motto do you live by? a long day The Ben Hogan quote above but supported by the Serenity prayer… God What sort of music do you like? grant me the serenity to accept the As with food, I like an eclectic mix. It things I cannot change; the courage to depends on where I am and how I am change the things I can; and the wisdom feeling at the time: Pop, reggae, dance, to know the difference rock etc. All featured on my iTunes

What was the greatest turning point in your life? Having 3 mostly fantastic children

Favourite quote? Ben Hogan: “If it is to be, it is up to me!!”

How would you describe yourself? I am positive, friendly, competitive (and possibly mildly obsessive) How do you think others see you? I usually try not to think about that Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change? I would love to be able to play the guitar or piano or any instrument really. Unfortunately I was so bad at playing the Viola at school I know it’s never going to happen Hobbies? Sadly, watching sport and playing golf. It was a lot more fun when it was playing sport and watching golf! What makes you laugh? A lot of things make me laugh, but I laugh the most when people (including me) take themselves too seriously What surprises you? Not a lot these days Pet hate? Rudeness and bad manners are two characteristics that I find hard to stomach


What’s your greatest regret? I don’t spend any time regretting. It’s too late for that. I try to focus on the here and now


Life is... ...whatever you make it; the more you put in the more you get out.




Seasonal Cooking


o sooner has the summer heat wave receded than we find ourselves occupied with the prospect of the festive season and the preparations and challenges the period of overspending and overindulgence presents; that preoccupation hastened by the spectacle of Christmas goods on supermarket shelves as early as September. But as the fresh smell and feel of autumn air and diminishing daylight hours draw consumers’ attention away from the outdoors and into the home, new opportunities open up for retailers, as the forthcoming season of entertaining friends and family, with hearty winter meals and cosy nights in, infuses a sensation exclusive to this annual event which, for most, involves the biggest cook-in of the year and puts culinary and hosting skills to the test.


For most, the ideal oven will give them the edge and enhance their cooking skills and convenience will be of the essence. For some, that could mean purchasing an intelligent oven that calculates the weight of a joint of meat before determining the correct temperature setting and cooking time. For others, it may be a range of multifunction options such as a choice of conventional cooking, fan cooking, top and/or bottom heat, slow cooking, roasting, grilling, baking… The option of compact products which offer combinations of standard ovens, microwave and steam ovens may also open up a new world of culinary prowess for the returning appliance purchaser, while add-on products such as warming drawers, for example, will help boost retail margins and offer

Britannia’s Delphi range cooker is available is sizes ranging from 90cm to 120cm

Looking back at manufacturers’ comments on the market over the year, it is apparent that cooking with steam is growing in popularity. Steam not only accelerates the cooking process, providing a higher heat content and heat transfer rate than air, but offers a healthier alternative to other methods of cooking. Ovens that offer different combinations of steam and hot air help ease the uninitiated into its use and will deliver a succulent, crisp-skinned result for poultry,


The period leading up to Christmas is generally a good one for the cooking sector, and if the market continues its recent trend 2013 should offer great potential for retailers. According to GfK, the overall market has enjoyed an “excellent” start to the year with total sales up 3% in value. And while freestanding appliances have traditionally fuelled growth – large range cookers (90cm+) were the key value drivers due to increasing numbers of kitchen renovations – the latest year-to-date figures show that built-in growth has surpassed that of freestanding cookers, with a welcome 10% rise in value bringing integrated sales to over £140 million so far. This category now accounts for 37% of the total cooking market value and has experienced the best start to the year since the prerecession surge in 2007. For consumers choosing cooking appliances at this time of year, the grand celebration ahead may easily skew their judgement on the type of products that will work best for their lifestyle all year round, so retailers will need to be able and willing to offer advice and guidance. 18


present a great sales package. It is faster and more efficient than gas, safer than other hob technologies and prices are now within the reach of many more consumer budgets. Induction is also said to have a conversion ratio of eight in ten when demonstrated, and it is a remarkably demonstrable product. For consumers reluctant to switch from gas or electric hobs, the option to mix and match a number of domino hobs, such as gas, induction, electric, teppanyaki… will provide a range of flexible cooking methods and a talking point in the kitchen.


customers a simple and practical solution to keeping food at the ideal temperature should not all timings go exactly to plan. Oven accessories such as flexible rack-systems, rotisseries, meat probes and pizza stones also warrant due attention and explanation as all add considerable value to the sale. The convenience and safety offered by telescopic shelves is another feature not to be overlooked, especially when cooking a substantial sized turkey and weighty joints of meat.


Capacity is likely to be one of the main features on demand and, where a large range cooker is not the preferred appliance of choice, there is no shortage of standard 60cm ovens on the market offering capacities of up to 79 litres, some with dual cavities that can be operated independently, thereby saving energy if the full capacity is not required.

crispy crusts on breads, while providing ideal cooking conditions for vegetables and for reheating meals without over browning or drying them out.


Those coming back into the market for appliances after many years, even if having done their homework on the internet prior to visiting the retail store, will no doubt be agog at the developments in products, the choice of finishes, the control features, the technologies, some of which may not have existed or perhaps weren’t a mass market proposition when they last shopped for appliances. Induction, of course, is a prime example. This superb technology is, after many years, gaining mass market appeal as it is now available from all major brands and at various price points, and its energy-saving ability; convenient, wipe-clean surface; stylish and streamlined appearance

While consumers are keen to upgrade or replace unreliable cooking products in the run up to Christmas, they are also keen to make light work of the post-cooking clean up. The bane of the majority of cooks’ lives is cleaning the oven and the task is not one that will be welcomed during the busy entertaining season when hosts should be able to relax and concentrate on their guests. Last year, one manufacturer pointed out that functions such as pyrolytic cleaning will be “most in demand.” Not only did the prediction prove to be correct, the popularity of pyrolytic systems has continued to help drive built-in sales into 2013. According to GfK, the standout performer in this sector of cooking continues to be pyrolytic ovens, with interest being generated by a 13% reduction in average price. Many brands have bespoke cleaning systems, a number of which involve the use of steam to help remove grease and debris, but owning a pyrolytic oven is like owning a dishwasher: once you have one you will not want to be without it.

The powerful Household Brand With excellent quality at affordable prices, Xavax has become a powerful force in white goods. What began as a comprehensive assortment of vacuum cleaner accessories and lamps was expanded to include additional areas. The newest members of the Xavax series are small household appliances, cleaning products, and energy-saving products in the “Green Eco� line. To order, or find out more about Xavax, please call Hama (UK) Ltd on 0845 2304262

Small kitchen appliances

Morphy Richards Colour Boutique kettle and toaster in Sparkle Red


here are a number of reasons why the fourth quarter of the year generates a boost in sales of small kitchen appliances: purchasers may be looking to spruce up the kitchen with a view to entertaining friends and relatives – generally, kettles and toasters are the first to gain from

‘must have’, particularly if entertaining is on the cards. The third area to benefit during the final quarter of the year is, of course, appliances that make suitable and welcome gifts. Nearly every consumer will have a friend or family member that either needs or wants a particular small kitchen appliance, and Christmas is the ideal time to fulfil that desire. Last year, the fourth quarter peak accounted for more than a third of overall value for the small kitchen appliances category.

DRIVING GROWTH Kenwood Chef Classic KM357 in Calypso Orange


this type of buyer, although brands with co-ordinating ranges can command a sell-on to matching appliances. Then there are those who want the ease and convenience of preparation products such as blenders and food processors, cooking products such as slow cookers and grills/fryers, and coffee machines, which, for some, are an aspirational


Although market volume has slowed considerably, the signs are that opportunities will continue to grow for retailers selling the right products as the influence of longstanding TV cookery shows such as Come Dine With Me, Saturday Kitchen and MasterChef inspire consumers to be more creative and adventurous in the kitchen, and pressure on household budgets continues to encourage households to engage

in preparing meals from basic fresh ingredients rather than pay through the nose for ready-made meals and snacks. The rising trend for Eastern and Asian cuisines has also had a significant influence on food preparation and cooking methods, and products such as blenders and food processors have become essential to the preparation of the pastes that form the basis of many dishes, certainly if time is of the essence.


The small kitchen appliances sector enjoys a diverse collection of product categories – from fun items such as fondues, chocolate fountains and popcorn makers, everyday necessities such as kettles and toasters, health products such as grills and juicers through to professional-style food prep and baking appliances and, of course,

the desired coffee machine. It is also a sector in which products drift in and out of popularity and there is always something new to look forward to. Health products were once a significant driver of growth in the SKA market, and the impact can still be seen in some categories, particularly that of ‘dry’ fryers – products that use just a little oil to prepare foodstuffs. Blenders still very much benefit from the trend, too, and while juicers had fallen out of favour as

Colour Range

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• The kMix stand mixer and hand mixer have been accredited ‘Best Buy’ by Which

• Brand associated with quality, reliability and durability

• Stylish products in harmony with design

• Range also still available in 3 existing colours: red, black and cream


• Premium quality material achieves high customer satisfaction



cessors - April


Why stock Kenwood’s kMix range? 20

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Tel: +44 239 239 2392 Kenwood Ltd, New Lane, Havant, Hampshire PO9 2NH

*Source: GfK UK, Food Preparation, Volume and Value Sales, MAT August 2012 to July 2013



Small kitchen appliances

most consumers considered them to be messy, difficult to clean and expensive to use due to the amount of fruit required to produce a decent-sized glassful of juice, the category this year has seen a revival (more on this later).


The kitchen machine category is one of the premium product areas helping to lift the value of the SKA sector with yearto-date growth of 18%. And it is certainly a popular appliance, with an expanding presence in stores and growing consumer appreciation. TV shows have helped raise the profile of all sorts of kitchen gadgetry, but it is consumers’ love of cooking, experimenting in the kitchen, preparing meals from scratch and entertaining at home that has brought this category to the forefront in recent years. This serious food prep appliance is the ultimate piece of equipment for those who enjoy cooking and baking as it comes with ranges of versatile accessories that accommodate practically every preparation need. The kitchen machine is also an iconic appliance, a statement piece for the worktop, with a vast choice of colour finishes fit for country or contemporary kitchen design. There is a strong movement towards colour and iconic retro-styled appliances, as evidenced in kettles, toasters, mixers and blenders, and in the coffee maker sector, too, as can be seen in De’Longhi’s PrimaDonna S range, which is available in Mint Green, Vanilla Yellow, Coconut White, Cinnamon Brown, Pepper Grey, Red Fruits, Black Liquorice and Blueberry. Coffee machines have been consistent performers in the small kitchen appliances market, year after year. Recently quoted figures from Mintel show that the ‘in home’ market increased by 17% in value over the past 5 years, and the consumption of coffee in the UK continues to experience considerable growth. Without doubt, the proliferation of high street coffee chains has been the major influence on appliance sales, but the rise in home entertaining and ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ have had their part to part to play too. Manufacturers have sated the relentless demand for ‘the perfect coffee’ with products ranging from fully automatic bean-to-cup machines to pod/capsule models, manual espresso units and filter machines. Something for everyone at price points to suit, although it is the high-end sector that is holding value up, with design, ergonomics, ease of use and exceptional ‘in cup’ results the key market drivers. Max Smith, Product Manager at De’Longhi UK predicts that the coffee market will continue to grow, with increased sales coming from all product 22


areas with perhaps the exception of filter machines. He also sees further technology advancements in one-touch drink options “for ultimate user convenience”, and innovative technologies that provide a broader coffee menu at the touch of a button as well as ease of cleaning and maintenance. “Freshness and authenticity will be driving factors for adding value to the category,” he says.


GfK Account Manager for SDA, Betty Fievé, reports that overall value in the small kitchen appliances market has this year again showed positive growth, rising by 2% in the 12 months to July 2013, despite unit volumes being flat. This value growth

is being driven by popular high-ticket items such as espresso machines, kitchen machines and food processors, but smaller categories such as liquidisers and juicers have also performed well. “These two markets [liquidisers and juicers] have reported double-digit volume and value growth compared to the first half of last year, both combined generating an additional £9.5 million,” says Fievé, adding that the spell of exceptionally hot summer weather was a contributing factor in the two sectors’ success. A rise of over 45% was recorded for both product areas compared to June 2013 and more than 100% compared to July 2012.

It transpires that the internet was a popular destination for purchasers of liquidisers and juicers. Value sales via the channel rose in excess of 60% during the 12-month period to July 2013 and internet purchases now account for nearly a quarter of the products’ combined sales.


The internet may be gaining ground in the small appliances sector, but the majority of transactions are still carried out in stores. And notably, consumers are shunning lesser known brands in favour of trading up to trusted household names. It is a trend that can be seen in many sectors of electrical domestic appliances, as the ‘throwaway’ movement grinds

to a halt under financial pressures and consumers demand the reassurance that products will do the job properly and continue to function for years to come.


GC has often noted that pots & pans, ovenware and cooking utensils open up another avenue of opportunity for retailers, and if you sell major cooking appliances and/or small electrical products, why send your customer into another store (perhaps a potential competitor) to buy these all-important kitchen essentials? Good ranges can offer a welcome boost in both revenue and margin.

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Pick of the Season

Liebherr ECBN 6156 90cm fridge freezer

Belling DB4 range cooker collection

Consumers choosing this Liebherr cooling appliance will have no trouble storing the large quantities of foodstuffs needed over the Christmas period, safely and with ease.

Belling’s AA-rated DB4 range cooker collection now includes 100cm and 110cm versions, with all 110cm models featuring a fanned oven with 69-litre capacity. The extension to the DB4 range collection provides a variety of fuel options including dual fuel, gas, ceramic and induction. The ceramic option comprises a ceramic hob with six zones, including one dual zone and a warming zone. The collection is available in black, white and stainless steel. A full stainless steel professional model, available in both 100cm and 110cm versions, is exclusive to independent retailers that are part of the Belling ‘Range Centre’ scheme.

Trade support number: 0844 248 4149 24


The ECBN 6156 is an A++ rated, 90cm fridge freezer incorporating Liebherr’s BioFresh technology, which keeps food fresh up to three times longer than in a traditional refrigerator compartment. The appliance also has three climate zones and pullout NoFrost freezer drawers. Features include:  BioFresh (2 x DrySafe and 2 x HydroSafe)  MagicEye digital temperature display  Touch-control electronics  LED lighting  DuoCooling – 2 separate cooling circuits independently control fridge and freezer  2 x freezer drawers  Telescopic rails  IceMaker

For further information: 0844 122 655

Pick of the Season

The next generation of Fisher & Paykel built–in ovens Our new 60cm built-in ovens are designed for a variety of cooking styles, with a full range of oven functions including the new Vent Bake, which offers the ability to control the removal of moisture from the baking or roasting environment for optimum cooking results. These ovens have a generous internal capacity – 30% more than traditional European ovens – and most models clean up after themselves with a pyrolytic self–cleaning function.

Fisher & Paykel was recently awarded the prestigious Red Dot Product Design Award for this 60cm built-in oven.

0845 066 2200

The sleek lines and design detail mean they are ideally suited to fit with the rest of Fisher & Paykel’s co-ordinated kitchen family.

Stoves Mini Ranges in new colours The Stoves British-made Richmond 55cm Mini Range cookers are available in a range of shades from the Colour Boutique collection, including Wild Berry, Hot Jalapeno, Black and Champagne, across both dual fuel and gas options. Marrying range cooker styling with smaller dimensions, each Richmond Mini Range offers a total cooking capacity of 98 litres, combining a main oven with the flexibility of a top oven with grill. The Richmond’s sturdy, cast iron hob has now been further improved with the addition of a central 4KW wok burner.

0844 248 4149

De’Longhi draws on Italy’s artistic heritage with the Scultura breakfast collection De’Longhi’s Scultura kettle and toaster designs are inspired by ‘Futurism’ – an early 20th century Italian artistic movement which celebrated speed, technology and industry – and styled to make a statement in any kitchen. Rounded edges and a sculpted ripple silhouette form a dynamic, multidimensional design, while a high gloss, pearlised finish captures the light and lends a luxurious feel. With a nod to classic car colours, and influenced by precious materials such as gold and bronze, the collection is available in four stylish metallic shades – Bronze Beige, Steel Grey, Carbon Black and Zinc White – perfectly complementing any modern kitchen. Combining style with performance and functionality, the Scultura kettle is cordless with a 360° swivel base and incorporates features such as 3kW rapid boil, cord storage and a removable, washable scale filter. The retro Scultura toaster boasts user-friendly features such as a removable crumb tray, an ‘extra lift’ position for small slices of bread and two-slot browning control.

0845 600 6845 OCTOBER 2013 GET CONNECTED


Consumer Electronics

However, this broad picture has within it some consoling factors, and the Christmas sales period may not be as bleak as the headline data suggests. Firstly, there has been a significant improvement in August 2013, when TV was down by “only” 7% in value compared to 2012 – admittedly being up against easier comparatives as the 2012 Olympic Games uplift made July 2012 a tough month for comparison.


Sony Bravia TV makes sharing between devices easy


s Nick Simon, Account Director, Consumer Electronics at GfK remarks, there have been welcome, if conditional, reasons to be cheerful in the second half of this year: “August 2013 brought some unexpected cheer for CE manufacturers and retailers, as the significant year on year declines of previous months were replaced by parity against the same month last year. Even if this was the result of an Olympicwatching non-retail August 2012 it is to be hoped that some momentum can be maintained through the last quarter of this year into the early months of 2014, even if this is unlikely to result in a growth in total CE turnover, dependent as it is on the health of the TV market.”


Nick Simon points out that the total UK CE market remains heavily dependent upon the performance of its core product – the television – despite the increasing availability of content across a growing number of devices. TV is, for most households, the principal CE purchase and the main viewing point for broadcast and recorded content. So any fluctuations in sales of this important core product will have a powerful effect on the overall CE market, and the decline in TV sales in the UK has been a drag on the sector. Annual sales of flat panel TVs to July 2013 showed a 22.1% drop in volume and an 18.6% drop in value compared to the previous 12 months. Total TV sales have fallen from a peak of 10 million sets in 2009 to an expected sub-7 million in 2013. Home Cinema Systems add high quality sound to high quality pictures



Technological development in TV – some of it clearly “mainstream” already and some of it still in its early stages of mass market penetration – is also driving consumer interest. Larger screen sizes are gaining ground in most homes as thinner screens have released us from the tyranny of the CRT, allowing smaller rooms to accommodate bigger screens without the massive bulk of the tube taking over the space. Better picture quality and the progress of High Definition technology have also made it possible for viewers to be closer to their screens without losing picture clarity. Hence, a massive and continuing shift from the CRT days when anything over a 21” screen was considered “big,” to today’s perception that 50” is where “big” begins. Smart TV has opened up the living-room screen to a wider range of uses and content, though it’s very much debatable how many Smart TV owners in the UK use the Internet connectivity facilities regularly, or at all. Many commentators believe that Smart TVs are being bought not specifically for their connectivity, but because they’re available and consumers like to feel they are keeping pace with these technologies, whether or not they have a clear idea how they plan to use them. However, it is becoming clear that consumers are increasingly demanding the ability to interact with multiple devices simultaneously, and to access content in different locations at times of their own choosing. Whatever the reason, Smart TV actually showed 8.3% positive growth in volume and 5.9% growth in value in the year to July 2013. That looks like a powerful performance – albeit from a lower base – compared to TV as a whole. 3DTV, although it has not by any means been the driving force some had hoped, and has, according to GfK’s Nick Simon, “been the subject of negative commentary from a variety of sources,”

Consumer Electronics

bracket for the time being. LG, for example, has just brought its 55” curved OLED screen, previewed at IFA this year, to the UK market at an RRP of £7,999. It’s not mass market at that price, but it’s here, and potentially on its way along the well trodden path to reduced production costs and eventual general adoption. One thing is certain: even if the nature of TV viewing continues to change, the UK’s long-standing love affair with the TV set is not about to come to an end. A soundbar co-ordinates stylishly with thin panel TV

has also achieved some positive growth in this negative environment. Sales of 3D TV were up 2.2% in volume and 1.6% in value in the year to July 2013. The technology did not get off to a storming start. At the outset, competitive formats (active and passive) created a split and confusion among consumers, and the failure to get standardized, lower-cost glasses to market quickly was another negative, while the requirement to wear glasses at all created a strong user objection, and the development of glasses-free 3DTV will, say commentators, be a strong benefit. There was also the question of poor consumer education on the use of 3DTV in homes. 3D is clearly not an everyday TV watching format, but there was no real clarity and emphasis on the “special event” nature of 3D in the home. It is much more for films, standout sporting events and high-impact documentaries than for everyday viewing. Content has also been a problem. Sky and 3D Blu-ray films are the main source of native content, as distinct from 2D material being converted to 3D. If anything, the prospect of more native 3D content becoming available in the near future has been thrown into doubt by the BBC’s decision to end its 2-year 3DTV experiment at the end of 2013, and to wait three years before reviewing their future level of involvement. ESPN, the US sports network, has announced that it is pulling out of 3D, and it is now by no means certain that the 2014 World Cup will be available in 3D. There have also been reports of 3D viewing causing eye strain, disorientation and nausea, causing the industry to be wary of the possibilities of legal action from adversely affected viewers. Against this background of difficulties, it is not clear whether consumers are actually selecting 3DTV sets, or are simply buying them in greater quantities as the technology becomes a standard built-in feature in more and more sets.


Difficulties or not, if Europe-wide household penetration of 3DTV sets reaches anywhere near the Futuresource Consulting forecast of 40% by 2015, there is a substantial market opportunity for both content providers and makers and suppliers of 3D devices.

The vicissitudes of the TV market have had a knock-on effect on related products, some for better and some for worse. The TV mounts category has been one of the losers. “Unsurprisingly,” says GfK’s Nick Simon, “given the decline in TV sales, there was also a shortfall in sales of TV mounts.” Total sales of TV mounts in the year to July 2013 fell 23% in volume and 23.3% in value compared to 2012. The wall mounts sector of the total market withstood erosion better, recording an

Further down the line, the prospects of 4K (ultra high definition) and OLED screens moving into the mass market are enticing for manufacturers and retailers. Both technologies are already in the UK market, but price tags, as yet, put them clearly in the affluent early adopters

18.5% decline in volume and 15% decline in value during the period, indicating that average unit price is standing up well. The advent of ultra slim TV panels with minimal bezels means a loss of overall mass and a consequent audio power loss. Consumers’ increasing desire for

LG’s curved OLED TV now on the UK market OCTOBER 2013 GET CONNECTED


Consumer Electronics

element that can be integrated into the concept of connected at-home-and-onthe-move total entertainment.


Headphones achieve sound quality and add style

high quality sound to match high quality pictures has driven changes in sales of the sound systems that enhance TV audio. “There was a sharp contrast in the fortunes of manufacturers of accompanying speaker systems,” says GfK. “Fewer and fewer traditional home theatre systems are being sold, but there are still phenomenal growth figures for sound bars that are a natural accompaniment for the thin LED sets that are dominating sales of LCD TV. The style of sound bars goes so well with the design of the latest LCD screens that they have, says GfK, become “the norm among the many consumers requiring an extra dimension of sound.” The figures for sound bars for the year to July 2013, compared to those of the previous year, bear out GfK’s characterization of sales as “phenomenal.” An uplift of 209.9% in volume and 179.9% in value identifies sound bars as the true stars among TV-related CE products. Something for retailers to remember and exploit over the next few months. Home Theatre Systems, although another means of acquiring quality

Off the Wall’s stand with soundbar 28


sound for the TV viewing experience, have not fared so well, perhaps because the taste is now for the minimalist, integrated simplicity of the soundbar. Home Theatre sales fell by 32.5% in volume and 32.5% in value in the year to July 2013. This is not by any means, in this environment, a disastrous result, and Home Theatre still has potential as a profitable retail proposition.


Moving away from the TV-related CE sectors, the quest for better quality sound is still evident. The headphones sector was reported as “booming” this time in 2012, when Otone Audio’s Gareth Thomas said: “Everything has a headphone jack, and as expectations for richer sound quality increase, consumers are becoming more critical of the headphones that come free with many devices. As a response to this they are willing to invest more money in upgrading.” These remarks hold good in 2013, and though the “boom” in headphone sales was coming to an end towards the close of 2012, mobile stereo headsets have continued to grow as a category in 2013. Good sound is on the agenda for many more consumers, and retailers stocking mid- to high-end product over the Christmas period should be rewarded with satisfyingly profitable sales. Sales of portable radios are, according to GfK, “stable, if very slightly down year on year, and the potential reach of digital products is lending itself more and more to the idea of switchover.” The prospect of digital radio switchover is becoming more of a reality, and Internet radio is a further

Headphones are about better sound quality plus distinctive style

A docking device adds versatility and quality of sound

Interactivity between devices means that the dividing lines between IT products – the “computers” of the past – and Home Entertainment are becoming increasingly blurred. Tablets are the prime example of the merging of IT and Home Entertainment functions, and these versatile devices have become an essential element in the total digital world for an increasing number of consumers. Year-on-year volume growth in July 2013 was a creditable 59.2%, with value growth for the same period lagging at 17.1%. The growth is still there for tablets, but average selling price has dropped year-on-year by a significant 26.5%. GfK summarises the current tablet situation: “Tablets are continuing to grow deep into 2013, but the rates of growth are slowing. The average price is in decline from last year, mainly due to the growing popularity of the 7” entry level devices. We expect the Tablet category to continue to grow up until December, when the market may struggle to reach the heights it did last Christmas with competition arising from upcoming smartphone and games console launches.” Finally, with Christmas approaching, no electrical retailer should ignore the potential of the e-reader. It’s a market that is, for the time being, past its “boom” period, but there may still be mileage in it as a strong Christmas period seller. Year-on-year volume at July 2013 is down 34.5%, while value has fallen by 52.7%. GfK summarises: The e-readers market continues to decline as the market reaches saturation. The lack of innovation within e-readers suggests that this downward trend will continue. We have seen a promotional push from some manufacturers to resurrect the volume of the market, however this has ultimately eroded the value of the market.”

Electric Heating


lectric heating has had a great year to date with value sales increasing 7% over the twelve months (Aug12Jul13) to almost £115million, according to GfK. This represents the strongest performance in ten years for the sector, which Richard Allen, account manager for major domestic appliances at GfK, says benefited from an early start to winter in 2012. Sales growth increased by 42% during the September to November period as consumers went in search of additional sources of warmth.


Allen points out that the best performing category has been fan heaters. “These small, lightweight products can easily be transported from room to room and offer an efficient way of heating the home. The low prices and ease of use have ensured they remain the most popular form of heating, accounting for more than 40% of volume sales over this annual period.” He notes, however, that it has been the shift towards more premium offerings that has contributed to the greater value performance. “A 32% rise in average prices has helped value flourish this year with sales up by nearly 60% and now accounting for over a quarter of the total market value.”


But while this portable sector has enjoyed an encouraging twelve months, it has been a difficult period for electric fires. Allen reports that the sector remains the most valuable in the heating market, but value sales have fallen 16% on the year. “Now worth £41million, this segment has seen its value share of the total market fall from 46% to 36% over the year.” Allen suggests that the increasing popularity of real fires means that electric fires are being overlooked when it comes to household renovations. “Instead, it is the more affordable, portable fan heaters which are seen as the better short term solution in times of cold weather.” But Chris Stammers, marketing director at Dimplex, contends that few electrical products can transform a room in the same way as a focal point electric fire, and with attractive margins of more than 35% and extra display incentives available from manufacturers he says it is easy to see why more electrical retailers are

Dimplex’s Silverton electric fire with Opti-myst® flame and smoke effect

devoting space to fires. “Electric heating is proving to be a lucrative sector for retailers,” he adds. Stammers is keen to note that sales of electric fires in the UK overtook gas fires some years ago and they were one of the few consumer durables to increase

of the year. Flame effects, which have moved into the realms of appearing realistic, can be operated independent of heat, and products are energy efficient too. And as can be seen in the pages of magazines and in TV home improvement programmes, focal point fires also offer

sales from 2011 to 2012. But he concedes that, despite the recent shift towards electric, the fires market remains a highly competitive one. “Even with increased installation and maintenance costs, gas and solid fuel fires are still viable options so it is important for retailers to understand what sets electric fires apart and why consumers are choosing them.”

a style statement, with the option of traditional fires, baskets and stoves or contemporary fuel beds, mirrored designs and framed fires that reflect the style of flat-panel TVs. Fires can also provide great theatre in retail outlets and electric versions, in particular, are convenient to display.


“If there is one piece of advice I could give to retailers when considering their electric heating offering, it would be to think beyond just the winter months,” Stammers comments. “Whilst the heating market is inevitably a seasonal one, there are huge opportunities through the year. The versatility of heaters with a cool blow setting proved extremely popular in the summer heat wave for consumers who saw the costsaving potential of buying one appliance which would still prove useful in winter – a merchandising opportunity not to be missed by retailers.”

Research shows that 67% of customers who buy an electric fire have gas central heating in their home, which means that they probably could have opted for a gas fire but chose electric instead. “For those householders and many others like them, heat has become a secondary reason for purchase, replaced by ambience and aesthetics as they look to create a stunning focal point in the home,” says Stammers. An electric fire is a practical solution for consumers who want the comfort of a cosy glow in the room, at any time




Personal Care

appliances such as beard trimmers and definers, demonstrating that men are every bit as image-conscious as women and equally influenced by the images in magazines and the facial hairstyles of television and sports personalities. In earlier years, these products kept male grooming booming, but while shavers on the whole is an important category, market saturation and the durability of products has slowed demand. In the last quarter of 2012, shavers recorded a 10% decline in value.


ast year was a relatively tough period for the personal care sector, but a nation of image-conscious consumers and an average price lift of 1% helped to keep value growth in positive territory in spite of volume declines. For those concerned about their health and looks, a number of personal care appliances have become a part of daily grooming routines. Within this diverse sector, the haircare category has been supplemented over the years by varying styling appliances, tongs, wands and straighteners that enable women to create the elaborate curls, waves, and poker-straight styles worn by celebrities and movie stars, in the comfort of their own home.


Manufacturers have continued to develop high-performance haircare appliances, with the focus on technologies that help keep hair strong, healthy, smooth and glossy, such as ion technology that leaves hair frizz-free and shining. Design has also had an impact in this sector, so retailers need to know their target market when deciding which products to stock. Fun & funkystyled appliances have been created for the young, catwalk colours for the trendsetter and contemporary metal and black finishes for those that prefer the professional look and which lend the impression of ‘technology inside’.


Whilst the haircare sector is dominated by well-known, big brand names, celebrity endorsement has been used as a means of keeping value in the market. A number of manufacturers have continued over the years to team up with shampoo & styling labels and celebrity hairdressers whose names consumers are proud to be associated with. Haircare is essentially driven by fashion trends and with the Christmas 30



gifting and party season on the horizon an uplift in the sector should be expected. The value of the market for hairdryers alone rose 11% in the last quarter of 2012.


Continued development also extends to the ladies’ shavers and epilators category, where the marked improvement in epilators has focused on reducing the pain caused by removing hair by the root. Epilators are now equipped with various sophisticated systems to relieve discomfort and care for the skin. Products can be used in the bath or shower and will remove hair the size of a grain of sand. Developments in depilation have brought about newer systems that use intense pulses of light or laser treatment to remove hair, although your customer will need to have a substantial budget, as these systems carry hefty price tags, in some instances running into several hundreds of pounds. Ladies’ shavers have never achieved quite the success of equivalent products in the male grooming category, an area that has been supplemented with

According to GfK, the personal care market has continued to maintain growth into 2013, rising by around 2% in value from August 2012 to July 2013. But the emphasis has shifted and is now in health-centred areas, which may well be the lasting effect of the 2012 Olympics and summer of sport. Natalia Dunk, Account Executive, SDA, reports that categories such as wrist sport computers and wellbeing delivered the most positive performance both in terms of volume and value. “Wrist sport computers were the biggest winners, securing over 70% growth in value both in July and the MAT [moving annual total],” she advises. “This category is now worth over £10.6 million and has been supported by growing demand and increasing average prices.”


In the higher share categories, Dunk comments that dental care has continued to show strong growth, with over 10% value increases for the MAT. The desire to flash a bright white, celebrity-like smile has boosted this area to over 27% of the value of the total personal care sector. A bonus for retailers selling electric toothbrushes is that the category is supplemented by accessories. Dunk points out that brush heads are becoming an increasingly important sector, which has risen in share from 5% to 17% of total personal care volume. “As for all personal care categories,” she adds, “internet sales were a significant factor for the dental care market, with volume sales increasing by nearly 51% compared to July 2012.” The market for personal care appliances is extremely competitive and highly price sensitive, but while consumers remain conscious about their health and looks, and manufacturers continue to innovate, there will always be a demand for topend products that assist people in their grooming and fitness regimes.

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Get Connected Magazine - October 2013  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry