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MARCH 2013


ALLERGY BUSTERS With National Allergy Awareness Week coming at the end of April, GC looks at the allergy protection features incorporated in laundry, floorcare and ‘air care’ appliances

AUDIO FEATURE The audio sector has seen many changes in technologies and listening habits, with formats and products constantly being replaced or renewed. George Cole examines the latest trends

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GROWTH FROM KNOWLEDGE GfK’s Nick Simon reports on the growing demand for audio systems and docks and the rise of wireless audio streaming

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Editorial Comment The Word In and around the industry Electrolux presents its Green credentials The Product Gallery Allergen Control Feature Domestic appliances that help combat allergies Audio Products & Digital Streaming Feature Where is the audio market heading? Growth from Knowledge GfK takes stock of the audio sector George Cole Gets Connected MiniDisc RIP From the Bench Alan Bennett turns his attention toWi-Fi and cordless video senders Backchat A 2-minute interview with Teresa Arbuckle, Marketing Director, Beko plc

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Editorial Comment

Comment Bricks-and-mortar retail, still the predominant shopping model in the UK, is continuing to suffer, and any attempt to help give this major employment and growth engine in the UK economy a fair chance to show its excellence has to be applauded and supported. Fairness is the key element in achieving the level playing field. Co-operation between the partners in this industry is essential. It’s clear that, to work together, we have to decide what we want to work towards.


e do seem, however, to have been drawn into talking about “The High Street” as a single, standard, generic concept that is replicated without much variation across the length and breadth of the country. This is clearly not, on the evidence of variations in the health of retail in different high street locations around the country, an accurate picture. Every community has its own individual identity, character, needs, and patterns of change. And every high street in every village, town and city enclave across the UK has developed and grown over time – sometimes over centuries – to serve each community’s specific needs. It’s a dynamic, symbiotic relationship. The communities of half a century or

they have to offer the most attractive choice. All they want now is a fair, equitable business environment where their expertise can generate the footfall, business and profits that the whole of the UK relies on. Given that, a retailer’s local knowledge of their own community and what it needs will always win. There are a number of “national” concerns that can be addressed centrally. Notably some sensible rent and business rates standards that will help landlords, local authorities and retailers maintain occupancies at mutually beneficial and profitable levels; and the creation of a robust, enforceable system of ensuring that small businesses have fair and affordable access to business funds.

Good retailers have adapted, and continue to adapt, to the changing needs of the specific communities they serve. more ago have not stood still. In some areas the character of the community has metamorphosed as the tradition of living, working and shopping in the same place has been replaced by the commuter dormitory model, which inevitably loosens the “local” cohesion of the community. In other areas, the sense of locality and community has actually strengthened, creating vibrant, self-supporting retail environments. Good retailers have adapted, and continue to adapt, to the changing needs of the specific communities they serve. It’s their job, and the best do it supremely well in a way that only face-to-face, locally rooted businesses can. They recognise that it’s not so much a case of the high street being the lifeblood of the community, as the community being the lifeblood of the high street. They realise customers have choice, and that, to keep the vital circulation going in Britain’s individual high streets, 4


It’s unfortunate (some would say criminally negligent) that the funding just isn’t happening, even from banks which are majority owned by us. We reported recently on our website that the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has noted the “desperate state” of small business lending. Project Merlin, the “binding” agreement between Government and banks whereby SMEs would receive an agreed level of funding, didn’t work. It was replaced last year by the “Funding for Lending” scheme. Banks borrowed cheap money from us on the condition they would lend it on to SMEs. The latest figures indicate that it just hasn’t happened, and while the banks continue to do what they like, the Government, according to FPB spokesman Robert Downes, is “idly watching from the sidelines.” For bricks-and-mortar retailers the watchwords for 2013 are: pressurise nationally; act locally; go mutual.

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The Word : Industry News

Industry News Retail sales grow at fastest pace in three years UK

retail sales grew at their strongest rate in three years during February, lifted by the dryer weather and a recovery in the market for bigticket items. The BRC reported like-for-like sales values up 2.7%, against a 0.3% fall in the previous year, and total sales up 4.4% compared with a 2.3% rise in February 2012.

The BRC reported likefor-like sales values up 2.7%, against a 0.3% fall in the previous year, and total sales up 4.4% compared with a 2.3% rise in February 2012. Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “February saw growth across all parts of retailing, with big-ticket goods and items for the home recovering particularly well, possibly reflecting better conditions in the housing market.” Online sales rose 10.9% during the month, against a 9.9% rise in the year prior.

Consumer confidence steady in February UK consumer confidence remained steady in February, maintaining the three-point gain achieved in January over December as the forecast for personal finances rose two points to -5, the highest level since May 2011. The GfK Headline Index for February remained at -26, although the market research company reported that the climate for making major purchases fell by four points on last month. Nick Moon, Managing Director of social research at GfK, said: “This is the first time for over a year that there have been two consecutive months with the Index as high as -26, and while an unchanged figure may not seem very good news, the maintenance of all of last month’s three-point gain is encouraging. “Even if the Index holds steady for a few more months, it is better to be steady at -26 than at -29, where it was for a year.” 6


“Storm warning” for British high street Research shows that the number of independent stores opened in the UK during 2012 exceeded those that closed by 0.55%, but the trend in the second half of the year declined. The Local Data Company’s report on the openings and closures of all retail and leisure outlets in the top 500 town centres in 2012 shows that independents continued the trend of opening three times more outlets (15,932) than the chain stores (5,558), but the net change (openings less closures) for the full year was only just positive as independent occupied units grew by 594 stores (+0.5%) versus an increase of 2,564 (+2.4%) in 2011. By comparison, multiple chains closed 20 stores a day on average across Great Britain’s town centres in 2012. Year on year, the net reduction in the number of stores was more than tenfold, rising from 174 closures in 2011 to 1,779 in 2012. The end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 was the most dramatic period on record, as companies controlling more than 1,400 shops went into administration. Analysis of the three months between December 2012 and February 2013 showed that the potential rate of closures in the multiples sector would accelerate to 28 per day for this period, principally through administrations. As for the independents, LDC said that 2012 was a tale of two halves, with

positive growth of 852 stores (+0.81%) in the first half and a fall of 39 (-0.03%) in the second half. Independents now account for 69% (+2%) of all retail and leisure units in Great Britain. Matthew Hopkinson, director at the Local Data Company, said: “This latest analysis of independents is a major wake up call for town centres. The fact that the second half of 2012 saw the first negative change since 2010 is of major concern. From positive growth in 2011 of 2.43% to negative change of -0.03% in the second half of 2012 the implications are significant. “The big question is whether this latest negative turn for the worse is the start of a downward spiral or merely a blip. The drawdown of the multiple anchors and the rising operating costs for these independents sadly suggests the former.” Michael Weedon, Deputy Chief Executive of the British Independent Retailers Association, said: “This is a storm warning. The tempest that broke over the high street in 2008 scuppered so many shops that the occupancy rate sank from 95% to 85% by the end of 2010, with one in seven units empty. It has stayed at roughly that level ever since, but only because a rising tide of new shop launches by independent shops has filled the void left by closures by retail chains going under or cutting back on store numbers.”

Retail footfall declines in February Latest retail figures released by Ipsos Retail Performance show another decline in the number of trips made by UK shoppers to non-food stores. The Retail Traffic Index (RTI) showed that shopping visits fell in February by 3.6% compared to February 2012 and by 7% against January this year. Northern England and London & the South East were worst affected, with year-onyear footfall down by 4.5% and 4.4% respectively.

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The Word : Industry News

ESC tests reveal faults in energy-saving products T

he Electrical Safety Council has called on Trading Standards to enforce EU and UK safety standards after recent testing commissioned by the organisation on a selection of plug-in energy-saving devices showed that not only were manufacturers’ energy-saving claims unjustified, but also that products incorporated dangerous electrical safety failures. The ESC, referring to tests carried out on a “typical” domestic TV, said: “The manufacturers claim that these devices offer an energy saving or reduction in

safety laws are either blatantly not being applied or are being misunderstood. The warning comes after a spate of product recalls in the electrical appliances sector, some of which were related to fires at domestic premises. Martyn Allen, Head of Technical Development at the ESC, said: “While it is cause for concern that these products do not deliver the energy savings claimed by manufacturers, the electrical safety failures are extremely worrying. At best they are a waste of money. At worst they could cause

The warning comes after a spate of product recalls in the electrical appliances sector, some of which were related to fires at domestic premises. electricity costs of up to 35%. None of the products showed an energy saving.” None of the products passed the safety assessment either. Problems found included accessible live parts; the absence of an internal fuse protection; products being supplied with a substandard UK fitted plug and insufficient resistance to heat and fire. The samples were also found to have inadequate safety marking, with three of them missing the CE marking which, according to the ESC, suggests that EU and corresponding UK

serious injury. We have been liaising with Trading Standards so that appropriate enforcement action can be taken.” The Trading Standards Institute’s consumer and product safety lead officer Christine Heemskerk said the ESC’s testing complements and supports work already carried out by Trading Standards in this area. “Clearly, more awareness needs to be raised about these devices,” she commented, adding that “not only do they not deliver tangible energy savings, they also can pose a fire and electrocution risk.”

Beko voices disappointment at “unbalanced” Sunday Times articles Beko has expressed its disappointment at the level of bias conveyed in articles in The Sunday Times concerning recent incidents involving the company’s appliances. The Sunday Times highlighted allegations that Beko had “failed to issue adequate warnings about the risks posed to customers by its fridge freezers and gas cookers”, as it relayed the story of a customer taking legal action against the company after losing her husband in a fire caused by a fridge freezer. The information contained in The Sunday Times articles about the product issues had been in the public domain for some time, yet despite Beko stressing that it had gone to great lengths to inform stockists and customers of any fault that may cause a potential fire hazard, putting public notices and corrective actions into place, a journalist for the newspaper chose not to reveal the extent of the manufacturer’s actions but to concentrate instead on sensational headlines and copy. Teresa Arbuckle, Marketing Director UK & Ireland at Beko plc, told GC: “We spent 3 days answering the journalist’s questions and were disappointed to see the coverage be so one-sided.” Beko revealed that during a series of exchanges it had had with The Sunday Times’ reporter prior to publication, it had supplied a full explanation of the extensive corrective action programmes implemented. “Sadly, the reporter chose not to cover the company’s side of the story and instead has taken a one-sided approach which has resulted in an unbalanced analysis. We are also deeply disappointed that The Sunday Times didn’t take the opportunity to print any Beko contact details for consumers despite having been sent them for publication.” Beko, in a statement, again expressed that it “sincerely regrets any incident linked to any of its products. We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of affected customers.” The company went on to say that it “strongly rejects” any accusations that it did not act as timely or comprehensively as possible to initiate the three corrective action programmes and that it has “mobilised every resource” at its disposal to rectify and raise awareness of the three product issues. “Beko has always acted in accordance with regulatory guidance, co-operated with all relevant authorities and abided by all accepted standards of industry practice.” S Retailers requiring any further information from Beko should contact the company’s customer care centre on free phone 0800 917 2018. Website:



The Word : Industry News

Jessops to return to the high street Photographic specialist Jessops, which was bought out of administration by a consortium including Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones in early February, is reported to be planning a return to the high street and in negotiations to take over the leases of 30 of the stores that were closed down at the start of the administration process. Initially it was believed the retail chain would have an online only presence; however, sources say the decision has been made that a physical presence is also required.

325 jobs go at John Lewis John Lewis has announced 325 redundancies at 28 of its department stores, as it streamlines management structures in selected established shops as part of future growth plans. In a statement, the company said: “There will be opportunities for redeployment in new roles created as part of this process or in new shops due to open over the next 18 months.”

Redhill Appliances has gone into liquidation, leaving a number of customers with unfulfilled orders. The company, owned by Raff Radio (Barnes) Limited, was placed into the hands of Ian Vickers and Ian Sykes, partners at specialist restructuring and recovery firm FRP Advisory LLP, on 15 February. “It is regrettable that the company has had to cease trading leaving a large number of customers with unfulfilled orders,” commented FRP’s Vickers. “In the majority of cases, the company does not hold customer items in its unencumbered stock and there is little alternative for customers other than

Government launches Future High Streets Forum The Government has established a Future High Streets Forum, bringing together leaders across retail, property and business to better understand the competition town centres across the country face and to drive forward new ideas and policies, building on the work of the Portas review on the future of the high street. The Forum will be co-chaired by Mark Prisk and Alex Gourlay, Chief Executive, Health & Beauty Division, Alliance Boots, and will draw on the expertise of members of the retail industry, academics and trade organisations. Members include representatives from John Lewis, the British Retail Consortium, the British Property Federation, the British Council of Shopping Centres, the

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to approach their credit or debit card providers to pursue a refund of their order.” Redhill Appliances claimed to be able to sell products for much less than its competitors because it owned the freehold on a 12,000 square feet warehouse in Redhill; therefore, it paid no rent and could keep operating costs low. Vickers said that the business had experienced significant cash flow difficulties, making it extremely hard for it to secure the necessary range of products to fulfil customer orders. “All of Redhill’s employees have now been made redundant,” he confirmed.

Association of Town & City Management and the Association of Convenience Stores. In particular, the Forum will advise the 27 Portas Pilots and 330 ‘Town Team Partners’ on how to adapt to a new era of online shopping and the changing way in which consumers shop. It will also advise the Government on the challenges facing high streets and help develop practical policies to enable town centres to adapt and change. “It is clear that our high streets will need to change to prosper,” said Mark Prisk. “There is already great work being done across the country to revitalise the town centres, but it needs to spread further, faster. The Future High Streets Forum will help us do that.”


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The Word : Industry News

COMPANY FINANCIALS Apple posted record revenues of $54.5 billion

and a net profit of $13.1 billion for its fiscal 2013 first quarter ended 29 December 2012, compared to revenues of $46.3 billion and net profit of $13.1 billion in the same period last year. Gross margin fell to 38.6% against 44.7% in the prior year. In its guidance for the second quarter of fiscal 2013, the company said it expected revenues of between $41 billion and $43 billion and a gross margin of 37.5%–38.5%.


announced revenues of KRW56.06 trillion on a consolidated basis for its fourth quarter ended 31 December 2012, a 7% increase quarter-onquarter. Consolidated operating profit rose 10% to KRW8.84 trillion, with a net profit of KRW7.04 trillion recorded for the period. Full-year 2012 operating profit was KRW29.05 trillion on revenues of KRW201.10 trillion.


increased 22% to $21.27 Net sales at billion in the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2012, but net income fell 45% to $97 million and a net loss of $39 million was recorded for the full year. Operating income increased 56% to $405 million for the quarter, compared with $260 million in the comparable period last year.

Philips’ Q4 EBITA improved by 50% to €875 million, while net income, at €154 million, was impacted by significant charges including restructuring charges and an EU price-fixing fine of €509 million, which the company said it intends to appeal. Sales in the quarter increased by 3%.

LG Electronics quadrupled its Q4 losses due to higher marketing costs, a stronger Won and a €492 million EU price-fixing fine. The company reported a net loss of KRW468 billion in the three months to 31 December, compared with a KRW112 billion loss in the same period the year before. Consolidated revenue fell 2.2% year-on-year to KRW13.5 trillion, while operating profit rose from KRW86 billion to KRW107 billion. EBITA increased from KRW392 billion to KRW442 billion.

BSkyB’s revenues grew by 5% to £3,533 million,

with adjusted operating profit up 8% to £647 million in the 6 months ended 31 December 2012. In the three months to 31 December 615,000 subscription products were added, taking the total base to 29.5 million – up 10


10% year-on-year – and 88,000 new customers gained, reaching a total of 10.7 million. ARPU rose to £568, a £24 increase on the previous year.

Electrolux posted net sales up 2.9% to SEK

29,185 million for the 4th quarter of 2012. Net income for the period was SEK 292 million, compared with SEK 221 million for the same period last year. The company said that strong volume growth, price increases and mix improvements in Latin America and North America contributed to the positive trend in net sales.

Panasonic moved back into the black

with a net profit of ¥61.3 billion for the quarter ended December 2012, compared with a ¥197.6 billion loss in the same period last year. Consolidated sales for the quarter fell 8% to ¥1,801.5 billion. Operating profit improved to ¥34.6 billion from ¥8.1 billion a year ago. The company said its fiscal forecast for 2013 remains unchanged from the net loss of ¥765 billion predicted in October 2012.

Sharp Corporation recorded a Q3

loss of ¥36.7 billion for the three months to December 2012 compared with loss of ¥173.6 billion in the same period last year. Net sales rose 15.1% to ¥678.2 billion. On an operating basis, the company returned to the black with a profit of ¥2.6 billion, against a loss of ¥24.4 billion in the prior year. Sharp said it was helped by a reduction in fixed costs from its restructuring programme, which included cutting around 10% of its workforce. The company is predicting a net loss of ¥450 billion for the full year ending 31 March 2013.

Whirlpool Corporation

posted Q4 net earnings of $122 million compared to $205 million during the same period last year. Sales in the quarter were $4.8 billion, against $4.9 billion in Q4 2011. Operating profit during the quarter rose from $205 million to $258 million. Operating profit for the full year totalled $869 million compared with $792 million in 2011. Full-year sales declined 3% to $18.1 billion. Net earnings for the year increased from $390 million to $401 million.

Sony showed signs of a recovery after net losses

for the three months to the end of December 2012 fell to ¥10.8 billion from ¥159 billion in the same period last year. An operating income of ¥46.4 billion compared to a loss of ¥91.7 billion in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. Sales for the quarter increased 6.9% to ¥1,948 billion.

The Word : Industry News

John Lewis announces multimillion pound refurbishment programme John Lewis has announced an investment of £32 million to fund an extensive refurbishment programme in four shops this year, including its flagship department store on London’s Oxford Street. John Lewis High Wycombe, Kingston and Nottingham are also to benefit from the investment and a further £25 million is earmarked for additional, smaller refurbishments across the retailer’s 39-outlet estate before 2014.

CI(H) gears up for 50-year celebration Buying and marketing group Euronics has announced plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of CI(H) in style, with a Gala Dinner completing an afternoon business get-together. Combined Independent (Holdings) Limited was officially registered on Tuesday 16 July 1963. The event will be held on 17 and 18 July 2013.

Cost of running retail businesses up £20 billion since 2006 An independent study produced by Oxford Economics for the BRC shows retailers’ operating costs have increased by 21% since 2006 and it is centrally-driven costs that have risen most rapidly. The cost of doing business rose by £20 billion to £116 billion, according to the data. Over the same period, retailers’ sales values increased by just 12%. The research also demonstrates that while many private sector marketsensitive costs such as rents have responded to economic realities, centrallydriven costs such as business rates and utility bills have risen sharply. Ahead of this month’s Budget, the BRC is proposing that the Chancellor helps

consumers and cuts business costs to support jobs and growth. Director General Helen Dickinson said: “Retail is a major force for good. It’s the UK’s largest private sector jobs provider and has been a powerhouse for investment and growth, even during the relentlessly tough times of the last few years. “The Chancellor has the opportunity to improve the business environment as a way of re-establishing and maximising retail’s essential contribution to recovery. We’re setting out priorities to help achieve that most effectively.” for further information on the BRC’s proposals.

Argos closes TV channel Argos is to close down its TV channel which airs on Sky and Freesat as part of its move to become a digital-led retail operation. The channel launched on Sky in June 2011 and later on Freesat and was said to be performing well, despite a slowdown in the TV shopping market.

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Recession costs retail sector £23 billion New research shows that the UK’s economic crisis has cost retail £23 billion in lost revenue and the sector is expected to continue to lose out as consumers find other ways to spend their disposable income. The study, commissioned by ecommerce partner Webloyalty and compiled by research specialists

Conlumino, explores what consumer spending on retail might have looked like between 2007 and 2012 if the financial crisis and subsequent downturn had not developed. When compared with actual expenditure over this period the results show that the electricals market was hardest hit with a gap in spending of £6.4 billion.

The research also reveals that retail is set to lose out still further over the next decade as the proportion of discretionary income spent in the sector, which today stands at 32%, will decline to 27% by 2022. Commenting on the findings, Neil Saunders of Conlumino said:

“Consumers are thinking more carefully about what and why they’re purchasing. This means retailers have to work much harder at interpreting what customers want. Unfortunately, this is more complicated than ever because of the fragmented and multichannel nature of shopping today.”

Moves Panasonic has appointed Andrew Denham (pictured) as UK Managing Director, effective 1st April 2013. He succeeds Keith Evans, who leaves the company after 32 years’ service. GDHA Sales and Marketing Director Jonathan Casley (pictured) has been promoted to the newly created role of Managing Director. He will be succeeded by David Garden, current commercial manager for freestanding cookers and Lec refrigeration. LG Electronics has appointed Carolyn Anderson, former Head of Channel Marketing & Partnerships at Samsung UK, as the new head of its UK Mobile Communications

Marketing division. The appointment follows the recent departure of Stephen Gater, previously Marketing Director of Consumer Electronics at LG UK. Pure has appointed Nick Hucker as director of marketing, succeeding Colin Crawford, who was part of the team that introduced the Pure brand and is leaving to pursue “a long-held career dream.” Indesit Company UK has appointed Michelle GorringeSmith as Marketing Director for the UK and Ireland. She joins the

company from Comet Group plc, where she progressed to hold the role of Director for Multi-Channel marketing. Caroline Wall has joined buying and marketing group Euronics as assistant buyer, responsible for small domestic appliances including floorcare and microwave ovens. Former Sony national account manager Lee Smirthwaite has joined Otone Audio in the role of new business development manager. Smeg has announced the recruitment of four new field-based Regional Sales Support Managers: Poppy

Backhouse, Jess Cutler, Allister Reed and Jaime Wright are pictured with Joan Fraser, Product Development & Training Manager (centre). Assurant Solutions has appointed Matthew Dixon as product and marketing manager of extended service contracts and mobile device protection for its European operations. InSinkErator® UK Sales & Marketing Director Ashley Munden has been promoted to the role of Managing Director, Europe.






The Word : Industry News

Philips sells Lifestyle Entertainment Business to Funai Philips is to transfer its Lifestyle Entertainment business (Audio, Video, Multimedia and Accessories) to Funai Electric Co Ltd for €150 million, plus a brand licensing agreement fee for an initial period of 5 ½ years with an optional renewal of five years. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2013. The Video business related to existing intellectual property licensing arrangements will transfer in 2017. Philips’ Remote Control activities, which are predominantly business-to-business, are excluded from the agreement.

Lord Sugar departs YouView Lord Sugar is to step down from his role as non-executive chairman of YouView after two years with the company. Lord Sugar was appointed to the role in March 2011 after Kip Meek stood down following eight months as nonexecutive chairman. At that time, Meek said: “It has been apparent for some time that the YouView board would benefit from additional expertise in consumer marketing and technology delivery. Lord Sugar clearly supplies this. As the

venture progresses towards launch, the change in Chairman makes sense.” Lord Sugar commented on his departure: “When I joined YouView in 2011, my brief from the shareholders was to use my experience in the electronics industry to get the product to market and into the homes of consumers. Having done that successfully, my job is complete and I will now focus my time and attention into my other businesses.” YouView said that a new chairman will be announced in due course.

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Sponsorship News Beko is to become the Presenting Sponsor of 2013 FIBA EuroBasket, which takes place in Slovenia September this year, and the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup which will take place in Spain. LG Electronics has announced its return as the Official Garment Care Supplier to London Fashion Week for the fourth consecutive season. The campaign will involve LG’s Steam Team providing expert fabric care support to designers and exhibitors backstage at Somerset House and the brand working with recent Fashion Forward winner, designer Holly Fulton, to raise awareness of the need for innovative fabric care technologies. AEG has announced its sponsorship of the Good Housekeeping cookery demonstrations for 2013 – a series of ten evening events for Good Housekeeping magazine readers. Kenwood has partnered with The Scouts Association to sponsor the Beaver Scout Healthy Eating Badge, which encourages children to learn the value of their involvement in food choices, preparation and cooking.

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The Word : Industry News

Aves Digital has appointed Vivanco as exclusive distributor to the UK independent sector. EPE Group has been appointed exclusive distributor of Gaggia and Philips to UK department stores, independent electrical retailers, electrical multiples and cook shops.

into the Sky team. The move will expand Sky’s workforce, with over 700 engineers, key management and support staff joining its Home Service and Supply team. The transfer of AVC personnel will take place on 1st October 2013.

Invision UK has become a distributor for Aquavision waterproof and in-wall TVs.

Technology distributor Midwich has entered into a distribution agreement with BenQ, initially dealing with the company’s range of projectors for leisure and corporate use.

Trade Electricals Direct (TED) has announced that it will now supply a full range of commercial dish and glass washers under the Ecomax, Bar Air and Hobart brands.

Leisure is claiming the title of fastest growing brand in the range cookers market, with year-on-year volume sales growth of 30% during 2012 placing it in second place with a market share of 21.2%.

Sky has reached an agreement with outsource partner AVC to bring the engineers who install and service Sky customers’ in-home equipment

Chinese MDA brand Haier has appointed Big Red Sales to target the independent retailer sector in the UK.

Electrolux has partnered with Zwilling to offer purchasers of induction hobs from the Inspiration range a free pan set worth £165. The promotion runs from 4 March to 27 May 2013 and will be supported by in-store POS and training demo kits. TV company Linsar has moved to new, purposebuilt premises at Unit S, The Fulcrum Centre, Vantage Way, Mannings Heath Road, Poole, Dorset BH12 4NU. The phone number remains the same 0845 555 1101. Beko has taken to Facebook to launch ‘Beko Mum of the Season’, a search for the UK’s premier football mum. The competition is fronted on the Beko Mums United Facebook page by ambassador for the brand’s FA Cup activity Jamie Redknapp.

Sony completes second phase of alpha=alfa incentive Sony’s Chris Bowen presented Richard Menkin of the London Camera Exchange in Chester with the prize of a new Alfa Mito after completing the second phase of the alpha=alfa sales incentive programme, created by Sony to educate and encourage photography retailers to increase sales of the brand’s equipment.

BSH announces TOPS award winners Susie Sotiroulla Robinson of Siemens, Ian Adams of Neff, and Tony Sedgwick of Bosch have received the BSH TOPS award for 2012 in recognition of their achievements. The award is presented annually to the top sales personnel throughout the BSH company worldwide. 14


Alpha=alfa has been one of the most successful sales incentive programmes Sony UK has run to date. The company said that, not only was there a clear increase in the sales figures of Sony products over the programme period, but it also had the highest participation rate, with 100% of photo specialist stores taking part.

Herts, Beds and Bucks join the DAB era Chairman of MK Dons Pete Winkelman and David Pleat, football broadcaster and ex-Luton Town manager, switched on three of four new local DAB digital radio transmitters for Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, at the National Radio Centre in Bletchley Park during February. 1.8 million listeners in the area can now receive local DAB stations for the first time.

Blomberg competition winners announced MDA brand Blomberg has announced the winners of a window display competition run in conjunction with Euronics to identify ten top retail window displays. And the winners are: Harris Electrical, London; Ross TV, East Ayrshire; Blatch’s, Derbyshire; R.D.O, Surrey, Havills, Exeter (pictured); Leonards Electricals, County Durham; Pee Jay, London; J.H. Donald, North Ayrshire; Coopers and Elms, Norfolk; Wellingtons, Kent.

Haier named 8th most innovative company in the world Haier rose 20 places to No.8 in the Boston Consulting Group’s 2012 study of the 50 most innovative companies in the world. The move places Haier as the leading Consumer and Retail firm after Technology and Telecoms giants such as Apple, Samsung and Sony.

Sustainability is in our DNA As a global leader in professional and domestic appliances,

is ranked among the world’s leaders in sustainability and has been

selling more than 40 million products to customers in more than 150

included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index every year since

markets every year, Electrolux takes sustainability seriously and

its launch in 1999 and leader in its sector for the sixth consecutive year.

is committed to leading the quest for sustainable living through its

Our mission goes beyond meeting the needs of today’s consumers;

products, brands, manufacturing, services and operations. Testament

we are committed to making appliances safe for the environment

to this is our strong track record in sustainable operations: Electrolux

now and for future generations.

Electrolux Green Range Electrolux is the only appliance manufacturer in Europe with an entire range which meets the highest environmental standard across cooking, cleaning, washing and cooling appliances. Within Europe, sales of Electrolux Green Range products have seen progressive growth and now account for 22% of overall sales. Our Green Range products have been designed with environmentally-savvy technology that enables super-efficient operation. Highlights include our SteamSystem washing machines with EcoInfo feedback on energy consumption, rated A+++-20% for energy, which is 20% more efficient than the highest rating in Europe. Weight sensors that adapt water consumption and detergent according to the load. Pioneering innovations from our professional product developments in HeatPump technology, now offering best in class A-50% energy rating, equivalent of running one cycle for free! Leading innovations in steam cooking combine heat and steam for 20% faster cooking with less energy consumed due to lower temperatures, providing the user with healthier and tastier meals as a result.

Efficient use of Products Since over 70% of the environmental impact and life-cycle costs are related to the use of products, informing consumers about the best way to use them efficiently is an important part of our approach. Electrolux Experiences and in-store training demonstrations throughout 2013 will allow customers to really engage with our technology and see first-hand how simple and efficient our products are to use. They will also learn concrete energy and money saving facts that will illustrate just what a difference an efficient appliance can make.

Green is good for business! You can reach a growing number of customers who are interested in sustainable products as well as customers who are looking for a smarter investment through hard cash savings on running costs. These customers are willing to pay higher prices for the longer term payback. Together, Electrolux and its partners can achieve profitable growth.

Investing in Green From cash back promotions to energy and water saving hints and tips, our support package will provide Electrolux Partners with rewards and concrete facts that you can use to show prospective customers just how much they can save by ‘going green’. Your RSM will be discussing this with you in more detail. Find out more about how Electrolux are investing in a sustainable future by visiting our website tab sustainability at

The Product Gallery



Geneva WorldRadio Geneva’s WorldRadio is a compact, portable receiver equipped with rotary controls for menu selection and volume in combination with a touch-sensitive LCD display. Its digitally optimised audio system delivers accurate mid and high frequencies and produces a warm, rich bass down to 70Hz (-3dB). Mains and battery power operated – rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery provides 6 hours of music playback. Available in black, red and silver metallic finishes.


3” full-range driver / Frequency range: 70 Hz to 20 kHz (-3 dB) Digital tuner with RDS / Digital Radio supporting the DAB, DAB+, DMR and DMB standards Digital and analogue amplifiers Digital clock with alarm Bluetooth 2.1 A2DP for high quality audio streaming 1 × stereo mini line-in with 3.5 mm (B inch) plug for external audio sources


0843 289 7195

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Pioneer Bluetooth speakers Pioneer has announced the launch of two new speakers that pair with any Bluetooth device, allowing users to stream and share music easily. The XW-BTS1K/W and XW-BTS3-K/W come at affordable price points, each with a pair of highquality drivers with the ability to produce a detailed midrange sound and a bass reflex port for powerful bass. Both units come in black or white finishes. XW-BTS3K/W – the higher-end model – features: j j j


Cresyn CS-HP500 foldable headphones These street-style headphones from Cresyn offer punchy sound and fold neatly away for easy carrying. The CS-HP500 series is available in three colour options: white, black, and black with a central red accent at the back of each earpiece. j j j j j


Neat twist and fold mechanism Large 38mm drivers / Deep bass / Extended high frequencies Premium-quality ear pads for cosy fit and effective noise isolation Sturdy, padded headband

01656 7900 30


Wooden casing for superior sound quality Integrated iPod/iPhone dock Rich acoustics from dual 3-inch speakers

01753 789789

Electrolux EKC607601 freestanding cooker This freestanding cooker from the Electrolux Inspiration range offers rapid power zones that heat up in less than 5 seconds and touch control operation for precise control over temperatures. The appliance has an A-rated top oven and an A-10% rated 74-litre bottom oven. j

Ceramic hob with 4 cooking zones


Red LED display


Catalytic liners


XL fan / Fan-controlled defrosting / Pizza function


Anti-fingerprint stainless steel


08445 613 613

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High-quality mesh fabric covers 30W total system power Video output and remote control

The Product Gallery

Liebherr ECBN 6156 90cm fridge freezer The new ECBN 6156 90cm fridge freezer from Liebherr is one of the next generation of built-in models from the company and will be available in the UK in April this year. The A++ rated appliance incorporates BioFresh technology, which keeps food fresh up to three times longer than in a traditional refrigerator compartment. The unit also has 3 climate zones and pullout NoFrost freezer drawers.

KEF Q Series speaker collection KEF has added Linear White and Rosewood finishes to its awardwinning Q Series speaker range. The Q Series utilises an extensive variety of leading-edge technology, most notably the Uni-Q driver array and bass drivers which help deliver an extremely detailed and spacious sound, even from the smallest models. There is a wide choice of options in either two-channel or home cinema applications, and the range now comes finished in the new Linear White (currently only available on Q100 and Q500 speakers), Rosewood, European Walnut, Cherry and Black Oak. Nine models in all:


3 x floorstanding speakers 2 x bookshelf speakers 2 x fully specified and timbrematched centre channels Dipole surround Powerful 200-Watt subwoofer


01622 672 261

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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




0844 122 655



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Samsung Smart oven

‘Raw Ingredient’ cooking technology cooks at the appropriate temperature to ensure perfect results Sensor Defrosting with control settings for ‘hard’, ‘mid’ and ‘soft’ Pre-programmed recipes Ceramic enamel interior

01932 455000

Samsung’s Smart Oven (MC32F606), due for UK launch in the first half of 2013, incorporates a range of smart features designed to provide convenience for busy households and to save time and effort when preparing healthy meals, with features such as a yogurt maker and ‘Slim Fry’ setting, which crisps without the use of additional oil.

Audio Pro ‘Allroom Air One’ multiroom loudspeaker system Swedish specialist loudspeaker brand Audio Pro has announced the latest addition to its wireless multi-room audio range, Allroom Air One. The unit is a single stereo speaker with Apple Airplay and DNLA compatibility, available now in red, white or black leather finishes.


Loudspeaker system with DSP, 2-way bass reflex 100W (4 x 25W) digital Class D amplifiers Frequency range 45 – 22.000Hz / Crossover frequency 2500Hz (24dB/ octave) Inputs: AirPlay (& DLNA), 3.5 mm stereo, USB, optical TOS-Link Subwoofer out


01908 282498

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Allergen control

Allergy Busters Sleeping with the enemy... With National Allergy Awareness Week coming at the end of April, GC looks at the allergy protection features incorporated in laundry, floorcare and ‘air care’ appliances and the advantages of highlighting the anti-allergen benefits of products at the point of sale

in soft furnishings, but seems to thrive particularly well in the bedroom, in mattresses and bedding, feeding freely on flakes of our dead skin. According to Allergy UK, “the nation is literally sleeping with the enemy.” The allergens produced by house dust mites can be the cause of both asthma and eczema and are the major trigger for indoor allergies, followed by pet dander and mould, which also serve to exacerbate the problem of dust mites as both provide additional food for the insatiable blighters. Darren Peake, Senior Category Manager for Laundry and Dishwashers at Hotpoint, says that his brand now includes allergy protection on its entire range of washing machines at all levels of the market, and Dyson scientists grow their own dust mite cultures to help forward product development



would appear that a great proportion of the world’s population is becoming allergic to modern-day life. Around 21 million adults in the UK alone suffer from at least one allergy – a figure said to be rising by 5% every year – and allergies are becoming more common amongst children here, with the prevalence of diagnosed allergic rhinitis and eczema both trebling over the past three decades. By 2015, EFA (European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations) predicts that 50% of Europeans will suffer from an allergy. The UK is reportedly one of the top three countries in the world for the highest incident of allergy (costing the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds per year on primary care and hospital admissions), the most common being ‘seasonal allergic rhinitis’, more widely known as hay fever, from which one in four of the population suffers. And while we can’t rid the outside air of grass pollen, the most common cause of hay fever, it is worth bearing in mind that pollen drifts indoors and can live in carpets for up to 2–3 months. Another bugbear for allergy sufferers is the proliferative dust mite, which is every bit as happy living in carpets as


House dust mites can be the cause of both asthma and eczema and are the major trigger for indoor allergies its anti-allergy programmes have been tested by Allergy UK and awarded the organisation’s Seal of Approval. He explains that the special anti-allergy cycle on Hotpoint’s new Experience washing machines uses patented high temperature technology and extra rinses to neutralise and remove all major allergens. Increased water usage also helps dissolve and wash away detergent residue, which brings comfort to people with sensitive skin, especially young children.


Peake stresses that retailers should make sure they can communicate clearly and simply how anti-allergy technology works and how its neutralising properties can help people with sensitive skin. “They should also promote appliances that carry independent endorsement, such as the Allergy UK Seal of Approval,” he adds.

Baumatic Marketing Manager Rita Balestrazzi, however, cautions that endorsements by Allergy associations can be misleading for consumers, bringing them to believe that all programmes are suitable for allergy sufferers when, in fact, this is not the case. “For example: Rapid and Quick programmes can really only be made safe for those who suffer from moderate detergent allergies and this is only if a mild liquid detergent is used.” But she says that manufacturers have been inspired to create a whole new range of laundry appliances that can offer a greater level of allergy protection against a wider range of allergens and spores. “Many are equipping even their entry-level washing machines with optional Spin and Rinse cycles – add-on programmes that can help remove all traces of potentially harmful laundry detergent – and more highly specified washing machines offer additional detergent removing features, with customisable extra rinse options for programmes and adjustable spin speeds which allow the user to increase the velocity of the spin. Some models also provide Anti-bacterial wash programmes which offer almost boiling-point temperatures to remove harmful bacteria, fungi and dust mites.”


Balestrazzi also observes that anti-allergy benefits can sometimes be by-products of other features: “Pause functions as well as Soak options can help to reduce the risk of allergies, providing a cost-effective way in which the user can optimise rinse conditions for a particular wash load. The clockwise and anticlockwise spin action on programmes such as the Anti-crease cycle will not only help to reduce creasing but also to eliminate allergy-causing mites. Time management features also double up to offer consumers some potential allergy-busting help, enabling them to keep an eye on the progress of the wash so that clothes are not left in the drum to accumulate harmful bacteria.”

Allergen control

AEG’s L98699FL ProTex washing machine incorporates an anti-allergy programme that ensures the temperature is constantly maintained above 60°C

allergens such as pollen and Allergy Care technology is proven to remove common household allergens. Stockell explains that TrueSteam™ technology is based on a dual spray system that uses steam and water in tandem. Steam is sprayed from one nozzle to loosen stains and dirt, whilst detergent water is sprayed from another nozzle to wash both away. “Steam molecules are 1,600 times smaller than water molecules so they penetrate right into dirt, removing far more than in a normal wash process,” she advises. “At 60-degrees, a combination of tiny steam particles and a 10-minute spin washes out 99.98% of all allergens, including dust, pollen, dust mites and pet hair, eliminating allergy enhancers from clothes, sheets and towels.” LG’s TrueSteam™ washing machine capacities range from 8kg to 12kg. The brand is also promoting its first TrueSteam™ tumble dryer (RC9042AQ3Z – launched in the UK at the backend of 2012), which incorporates a Steam Hygiene programme that removes allergens in the drying process.

At 60-degrees, a combination of tiny steam particles and a 10-minute spin washes out 99.98% of all allergens a better quality of life. The Bosch Allergy+ program is certified by ECARF – the European Centre for Allergy Research – whose Quality Seal helps sufferers select appropriate goods and services.


With the number of adults and children suffering from allergies increasing year on year, LG Marketing Communications Manager Dawn Stockell believes that it is now more important than ever that retailers should understand how LG’s TrueSteam™ appliances and technology such as ‘Allergy Care’ can ease sufferers’ lives: the brand’s Steam Direct Drive washing machines help to eliminate





For retailers selling allergy-busting appliances, Stockell recommends in-store demonstrations of the features and benefits of steam appliances, stating that this will “bring to life what steam can achieve and provide consumers with experience of the product so they can see the benefits for themselves.” She also makes reference to online purchasing and advises that a well developed and detailed website can help to inform consumers of what they can expect from technologies they might not have experienced before. Laura Selten, Laundry and Dishwashers Product Manager at Beko, adds that



Ros Collins, Laundry Product Manager for Bosch, maintains that consumers in the market for appliances with special programmes designed to aid allergy relief should look especially at those with features such as additional rinses that ensure the removal of all residues. She highlights Bosch’s Allergy+, a special programme available on Logixx and Exxcel washing machines and the Logixx washer dryer, and from May 2013 on Exxcel tumble dryers as well. Collins explains that the programme hosts a variety of benefits such as 99.9% removal of pollen, 99.9% removal of animal hair, with extra-gentle textile care and long-term prevention of “roughening”, all of which offer consumers Tel: 0844 854 6715 Fax: 0844 854 6716

Allergen control

point-of-sale material is an extremely effective way to begin the information process with consumers while they browse in store. “Displaying stickers on products, or signs that highlight desirable features, will enable retailers to help the customer start their journey with topline information. Staff on the shop floor should then be able to expand upon these credentials and bring the product to life by posing examples of how features might be particularly useful to the shopper in everyday life.” Beko is launching an anti-allergy programme which has been endorsed by Allergy UK on its WMB81442LW washing machine this month. Selten says the programme is ideal for washing baby clothing on a daily basis and it is also a pertinent feature for allergy-sensitive adults. “Whilst anti-allergy technology has often been seen as a concern only for those with young children, particularly with figures showing that 12% of all babies have some form of allergy, it is now becoming increasingly important for a wider audience,” she comments. For those sensitive to pet hairs, Beko’s WMB61631 washing machine offers a ‘Pet Hair Reduction’ option. The function helps rid laundry items of pet hair by adding a pre-wash and additional, prolonged rinsing steps to the normal washing cycle.

Simon Freear, country manager Amica UK, adds that, “even some pets need bedding and towels super-rinsed to help alleviate aggravating skin conditions. There’s always a reason to use an antiallergy function.”


For allergy sufferers, a vacuum cleaner must be chosen wisely and there are several features that need to be taken into consideration, not least the fact that some appliances will allow allergens to escape back into the room during cleaning. Allergen tests conducted by Which? magazine showed that there can be significant differences in appliances, with the worst vacuum cleaners retaining less than 10% of allergen particles, compared with more than 99% retention in the very best models. According to Dyson, the key features that a vacuum requires for helping to prevent allergen exposure is constant performance and good particle retention. “The purpose of a vacuum is to be able to remove fine dust particles from the home environment where the majority of allergic substances are found. Vacuums need to be capable of picking up these particles with high efficiency on all floor surfaces – carpets, hard floors, and the gaps and crevices that exist in and around hard floors – and also to perform constantly at this high level, rather than picking up less and less dirt the more you use them. All bagged and a large number of bagless machines lose suction over time and this affects performance.” Jane Lee, Bosch Floorcare Product Manager, stresses that Bosch vacuum cleaners are hermetically sealed so that air passes through all filtration stages without leaking at any step of the process. “This gives you maximum dust and allergen pickup and also ensures that the air coming out of the cleaner has been properly cleaned by passing through the filters. Many of our products have HEPA filters, which filter out very fine dust particles, pollen and other allergens and mean the air coming out of the appliance is 99.997% clean.”

Bagged vs bagless: the debate continues….



Haier’s 86 Series washing machines offer up to 9 rinses so users with allergies and sensitive skin have greater control over detergent residues


A somewhat contentious issue in floorcare is the benefits of bagged over bagless cleaners (and vice versa), which Susan Morris, Trade Marketing Manager for Floorcare and Small Appliances at Electrolux, says is an important matter if the vacuum cleaner is regularly emptied by the allergy sufferer. “Bagless models will demand the often unpleasant task of emptying the dust container, providing no protection at all from airborne particles. A sealed bagged model like the AEG Ultraone with a HEPA 13 filter provides the highest level of filtration as it offers state-of-the-art airflow and captures 99.95% of pollen, dustmites, allergies and odours so would give maximum protection to the user.

Allergen control

Ebac 2650e dehumidifier The Ebac 2650e is the perfect example of simplicity integrated with supreme technology. Ebac dehumidifiers are the only dehumidifiers designed, engineered and built in the UK, specifically for the UK climate. Awarded the ‘Which?’ magazine Best Buy in the 2012 Dehumidifier report, the Ebac 2650e surpassed the competition, gaining top marks for Water Extraction, Energy Efficiency and Ease of Use. Patented Smart Control technology, exclusive to Ebac dehumidifiers, means you simply plug in your dehumidifier and let it do all the hard work. It continuously learns about environmental factors in and around your home so that it knows when it needs to work and when it doesn’t. S Contact:

Retailers should promote appliances that carry independent endorsement such as the Allergy UK Seal of Approval



Dyson’s argument against bagged machines is that they lose suction performance, as the bag clogs in order to stop the particles from escaping back out of the exhaust, which then blocks the airflow. Toby Saville, a Dyson performance engineer and microbiologist, tells GC: “Bags are often thought of as being a more hygienic way of emptying the dust out once the machine is full. However, many bags can be covered in dust on the outside, which has to be handled by the user, and dust can ‘puff’ back out of the inlet hole when being handled, so they are not the perfect solution by any means. “Dyson machines use trigger-bin emptying systems to allow the user to empty with one hand and to hold the bin lower down in the emptying receptacle in order to minimise dust disturbance. The levels of particles emitted during emptying are also tested by Allergy UK, so have been proven to be low enough to be suitable for allergy sufferers to use.”

“ D.A.D Are LG’s

leading UK distributor with many exclusive laundry products ....FACT!

Baumatic: “Anti-allergy benefits can sometimes be by-products of other features”

“Retailers should inform customers of how maintaining a dust-free environment will enable everyone in the family to breathe easier and feel better. This is obviously especially important to people who already have allergy problems. As well as the HEPA 13 filter, the AEG UltraOne range has other thoughtful design details: for instance, when the dust bag needs changing you don’t have to remove the hose and the bag automatically seals as it is being removed. The motor filter also has a hygienic tab for removing it, so it does not need handling.” Morris adds that this model uses patented ‘S bags’, which provide excellent filtration in the multi-layer material so that even the finest dust will be captured, providing cleaner air in the home. “The special closing system makes the removal of the bag clean and hygienic while preventing any spillages. These special anti-allergy S bags have been awarded the ECARF seal of quality and are TUV certified.” Tel: 0844 854 6715 Fax: 0844 854 6716

Allergen control


Saville remarks that it can be difficult for retailers to understand how each individual class of product can be beneficial for allergy sufferers and which individual components or technologies contribute to that, so schemes like Allergy UK accreditation can help by giving an easy reference to show that products have been assessed and tested to prove that they can be of benefit to people with allergies. “In floorcare, this is particularly important,” he adds. “Many manufacturers suggest that their machines are suitable for allergy sufferers purely based on the claim that they contain a HEPA filter, for example. But if that filter is not properly sealed into the machine, which in many cases it is not, then the dust particles can just go around it and leak back into the air in the room. This is why a scheme that actually tests machines is important.” A measure of Dyson’s commitment to improving health and hygiene in the home is the firm’s ongoing investment in R&D and in its fully-equipped in-house microbiology lab, built in 2001 at the cost of £100,000. Here, Dyson scientists grow their own dust mite cultures. The lab colonies are fed on a ground-up mixture of yeast, wheat germ and dog biscuit and kept in their favourite conditions: 25ºC and 75%+ relative humidity. Saville says that Dyson having its own culture of dust mites enables the Malmesbury-based scientists to study dust mite behaviour and the allergens they produce, which in turn helps the design engineers to develop products that better combat the tenacious, microscopic creatures.

Amica expands laundry range 9kg joins the laundry line-up from protected brand Amica Set to arrive in the UK during March, the Amica 9kg range of freestanding laundry appliances will feature this new black model and will also include a new washer dryer, too. A+ rated, the new washing machine incorporates an elegant blue LED illuminated display panel, an extrawide porthole and the usual array of super-efficient wash programmes that retailers and consumers now expect from the brand. As with all Amica appliances, the new 9kg laundry products come with a 2-year parts and labour warranty. S For further information: 22



Controlling allergens in the home is a job made considerably easier if the right tools are at hand, and in that respect the floorcare sector can command add-on sales. Steam cleaners, mops and tools will keep allergens at bay on many types of hard surfaces (and some soft furnishings), cleaning hygienically without the use of chemicals which, for some, also trigger allergy symptoms. Turbo brushes and deep cleaners will help remove dirt and allergens embedded deep in the fibres of carpets, while handheld appliances and/or the appropriate tools for main vacuum cleaners will assist in cleaning dust and allergen particles from surfaces above floor level such as picture frames, skirting boards, behind radiators and suchlike. Dyson’s Saville reminds us that “allergenic particles are very aerodynamic and will settle on other surfaces around the home or be deposited directly there by pets.” Since vacuuming is a vital part of the daily routine for the allergy sufferer (or their carer), it may be warranted that a second appliance is stored upstairs for greater convenience or that one suitable for quick ‘touch ups’ is purchased.


On a final note, we touch briefly on products that help control the quality of indoor air, as airborne pollutants and damp conditions that promote mould/mildew growth and dust mite reproduction serve to worsen allergy symptoms.

Up to 1,000 dust mites can live in just one square metre of carpet

It is generally recommended that the air in a room be changed around three or more times an hour, yet with many modern homes being virtually draft-free, very little air circulates. Pollution levels therefore build and can seriously affect allergy sufferers. Air purifiers will help clean the air in a room by circulating it through filters which trap allergens such as pollen, dust and smoke, pet dander, dust mite debris and mould spores, thereby improving the indoor environment and reducing allergy symptoms. Some households in the UK may also benefit from the use of humidifiers to combat respiratory and dry skin disorders aggravated by central heating, but many more are likely to benefit from the use of a dehumidifier, as condensation is a problem widely experienced, particularly in the winter months. Dehumidifier manufacturer Ebac points out that this excess moisture in the air is a consequence of us merely going about our daily routines: running a bath, boiling the kettle, drying laundry on a clothes horse or radiator – even breathing causes condensation in the home. But the important point is that excess moisture in the air can lead to various problems including damp, mould spores and increased numbers of dust mites, which thrive in moist conditions. If the atmosphere is not humid enough for the mite, it cannot survive. The use of a dehumidifier to remove condensation in the home will create a drier, warmer environment which in turn will help relieve allergy symptoms. Ebac is also keen to note that its dehumidifiers have the added protection of an optional Bactiguard filter which has been specially developed to kill bacteria and many fungi, purifying the air that flows through the appliance to ensure a cleaner, healthier home.

A professional performance Give your customers the red carpet treatment! SEBO professional uprights have been world leaders for many years due to their outstanding German build quality, design excellence and superb performance. SEBO domestic vacuum cleaners are built to the same high standards: That is why they routinely come top in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys and that is why, when you sell a SEBO, you can sell with confidence

SEBO – the vacuum cleaner professionals 01494 465533

Audio products & Digital streaming

Digital audio streaming comes of age The audio sector has seen many changes in trends, developments, technologies and listening habits, with formats and products constantly being replaced or renewed. The question for many manufacturers and retailers is: where is the market going? George Cole reports

a constant stream of new music. He also points out that services like Spotify give consumers access to a world of music for £5 a month, while mainstream CDs remain the wrong side of £10. “Easy to use network audio products like Sonos and Airplay-enabled docks have brought the concept of streaming and multi-room music to the mass market due to their simplicity and great sound quality.”


The latest BPI figures show that CD album sales declined 20% last year in the UK, to 69.4 million units. Add to this the problems facing high street retailer HMV and there is a question mark over the future of the CD. “The demise of HMV is a strong indicator that the days of physical media are numbered and consumers are increasingly expecting the convenience that wireless streaming delivers when they invest in a new gadget. Responding

Multi-room solution from Paradigm


ccording to a survey by the UK music industry body BPI, more than a quarter (27.7%) of British consumers now purchase music via legitimate downloading or streaming, with digital sales now accounting for around half the music market by value. The BPI adds that, with the rollout of super-fast 4G mobile networks, for many consumers, the mobile will become the primary device for digital music consumption.


So, is streaming set to become consumers’ preferred method of listening to music? Owen Watters, Chief Executive at Roberts Radio, believes so. “There is no doubt that the future is in streaming. Consumers are moving to convergence products that provide a full music listening solution around the home and this presents a great opportunity for independents. Streaming technology is one of the most impactful demonstrations a retailer can give in store – all you need is a broadband connection and a router. Once consumers see how simple this technology is and how it enhances their listening, they will buy into it.” 24


Retailers should watch out for introduction of Bluetooth products as this will present a great incremental sales opportunity Ian Bywater, Philips’ lifestyle entertainment market leader, UK/Ireland, remarks that streaming is enjoying huge popularity, “but we doubt there will be one preferred method of listening to music, as CD and FM radio are still very popular, as is direct docking and listening via headphones. So manufacturers need to provide an easy transition that covers all options.” Colin Crawford, director of marketing at Pure, is of the opinion that streaming is fast taking over as the way that customers want to enjoy their audio content and is set to dominate the market. “As a result, we are focusing on growing our range of products with Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth,” he comments. According to Steve Simper, MD of AV distributor Alltrade, streaming is largely about convenience, uninterrupted music and access via services such as Spotify to

to this trend, many audio companies are using apps, like our latest Pure Connect app, with the audio streamed wirelessly to speakers with AirPlay, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth,” comments Colin Crawford. But Robert’s Watters thinks there is still a lot of demand for CD playback on products. “Clearly there is a shift to downloading music services versus purchasing CDs, but there are still those who prefer to have a tangible CD in their hands. CD sales may be in decline, but there is still an audience that has a huge CD collection so require a solution to accommodate both needs.” Roberts offers a range of sound systems that provide DAB radio, iPod docking and CD solutions. The Stream 63i, for example, includes FM/DAB, Wi-Fi radio, iPod Dock and a CD player, with users able to record CD and radio onto a memory stick and stream music collections stored on a PC to the sound system.

Audio products & Digital streaming

Sonos wireless Hi-Fi music system

Media streamers and docks are replacing what we used to term as the mini-system and micro-system market Alltrade’s Simper believes that HMV’s problems stemmed from consumers switching to buying their CDs through online channels rather than big high street stores, “and I don’t think the CD is ready to retire just yet,” he states. “Just look at the market for turntables, which has been growing steadily for the last five years in something of a vinyl renaissance.” He adds that, for retailers, “the key is to exploit all that new content and today’s easy to use streaming devices to leverage hardware and accessory hardware sales. PowerLine networking devices are a great add-on sale to customers whose Wi-Fi signal doesn’t reach every corner of the home and we always view multi-room as ‘multi-sale’.” Philips’ Bywater says that the CD is in fairly fast decline but it still remains a very large part of the market, “and there is also the large legacy issue of existing CD collections,” he adds. “So, although the future does belong to downloads and streaming, manufacturers need to focus on providing products with the flexibility and ease of use to make the move a simple and enjoyable one.”


The typical home audio system used to include an LP deck, cassette deck and CD player, but today it’s usually CD, radio and iPod dock. But are media streamers and iPod docks replacing the traditional home hi-fi and, as the BPI suggests, are mobile phones fast becoming the portable audio device of choice? According to Pure’s Crawford, “the trend is towards wireless streaming which allows consumers to use their smartphone or tablet to control the audio content from the comfort of their sofa. Pure’s Jongo system allows users to integrate their hi-fi system into the multiroom audio environment.” “There is still a huge audience with earlier generation iPods and Smartphones that will look to maximise the usage of these devices and desires streaming in the home,” comments Robert’s Watters. “This year will see an explosion in Bluetoothenabled products, which will open up the huge smartphone audience and lead to mobile phones being increasingly used as a portable audio solution more and more.”

Philips’ Bywater states that streamers are rapidly replacing traditional home hifis and the mobile phone is becoming the main portable audio product, “although tablets are increasingly popular and there remains a good market for small, high quality, dedicated audio products,” he adds. Alltrade’s Simper thinks that media streamers and docks are replacing what we used to term as the mini-system and micro-system market rather than true hi-fi. “That is good news for retailers,” he says, “because the mini/micro system market had reached catastrophically low price-points and disastrous margins, while the latest docks and streamers still command healthy premiums.” He also believes that mobile phones and smart devices are rapidly becoming the music device of choice for many consumers. “Many customers have smartphones with a large music storage capacity and easy ways to purchase and download music on the same device. Even when these consumers return home they can dock the device and stream music directly from it over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The power of the smartphone to shape every aspect of the future of home audio cannot be underestimated.”

New Peachtree Audio Range Designed to make great sounding digital audio easy The Peachtree line-up includes integrated amplifiers with built-in DACs. These allow music collections stored on phone, computer or the cloud to sound fantastic in the home. They work seamlessly with Sonos and Apple devices and operate across a range of formats including Airplay. Their unique style is eye-catching in store. This American brand, which is only 5 years old, scooped the 2012 Inside Track ‘Best Home Audio/Electronics Brand’ in its home market: an award voted for by dealers. Dealer support includes in-store product training and best practice demonstration guides. S Distributed by Anthem AV Solutions: 01825 750 858 MARCH 2013 GET CONNECTED


Audio products & Digital streaming

Philips Fidelio portable speaker


With the audio market is such a state of flux, what are the ‘hot products’ that retailers should be stocking? “As streaming grows, units with superior sound quality will become increasingly important and sound systems will deliver on sound as well as offering everything the consumer could need in one unit. Retailers should watch out for the introduction of Bluetooth products as this will present a great incremental sales opportunity,” advises Roberts’ Watters. Philips’ Bywater says there are a number of hot product areas, including docking products. Philips is one of the first brands with docks for the new Lightning connectors found on the iPhone 5. Bywater adds that wireless products using Bluetooth

technology are a rapidly growing segment with models such as Philips’ new Fidelio P9 speaker and wireless hi-fi such as the AW series. Alltrade’s Simper recommends products from Sonos. “Its Mesh networked Wi-Fi connectivity makes setting up multi-room music extremely simple. A Sonos system also offers potential for accessory sales. For example: we offer a range of Flexson brackets for wall mounting speakers and zone amps.”

“Pure’s Jongo family, which delivers multi-room audio, is an easy sell, but needs a knowledgeable, assisted sale,” adds Pure’s Crawford. “This is the perfect time for independent retailers to capitalise on this market by selling a single unit and then taking advantage of follow-on sales. We would encourage retailers to stock a variety of colour options with products like Jongo as they are a great draw for the consumer at point of sale.” Roberts Stream 63i with FM/DAB, Wi-Fi radio, iPod Dock and CD player

New Products added to Paradigm’s Shift Series Designed for how people listen to music today Paradigm has added compact cinema systems, on-ear headphones and wireless speaker systems to its Shift Series of digital audio products, which also includes in-ear headphones and powered speakers. This new, affordable line of digital audio products, from one of the world’s biggest audio brands, offers a standalone range that is ideal for independent retailers looking to move their audio offering to the next level. Ease of use and outstanding sound and finish quality are key features of all the products in Paradigm’s Shift Series. S Distributed by Anthem AV Solutions 01825 750 858

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Growth from Knowledge

Connected? Audio Systems and Docks GfK’s Nick Simon reports on the growing demand for audio systems and docks and the rise of wireless audio streaming


does not seem too long ago that the main focus of the Consumer Electronics market was the seemingly endless flow of variations on the theme of Vision, with pride of place going to the development of Freeview HD, which was likely to be equipped with internet

At first glance, signs are not auspicious. Sales of Portable Media Players were below three million in 2012, down from a peak of 9 million in 2005. However, this must not detract from the fact that 25 million have been sold in the last five years, to say nothing of the even more impressive sales

The British Phonographic Industry, in its Digital Music Nation 2013 report, waxes lyrical about the increased share that digital files take in the recorded music market. connectivity and quite possibly offering 3D as well. These products still occupy the lion’s share of the CE market, but it is to Audio that we must now turn to celebrate a whole range of successes in 2012 and some encouragement for 2013.

of Smartphones in the same period, meaning that combined sales of both products provide enormous scope for manufacturers and retailers of docking products. 2013 promises to be the year that sees the further transformation of this latter

Still an encouraging share for £1000+ Connected Audio Systems in a value segment that grew by 37% in a difficult year AUDIO HOME SYS. Connected Audio Jan 11 - Dec 11

Panelmarket Great Britain

Jan 11 - Dec 11

Jan 12 - Dec 12 Th. Sales Volume GBP Jan 11 - Dec 11 : Jan 12 - Dec 12

Up to 500



For further information, contact Nick Simon, Account Director, Consumer Electronics +44 870 603 8128

category, from actual docks (cradles) to wireless connected audio. Total volume sales of wireless docks are already over 20% and we would expect that to double in 2013, with a value percentage that will be worth well over half the market by the start of 2014. Nothing is won without sacrifice and increased volume sales have necessarily brought average prices down. Nonetheless, there is activity way above £500 as this market is blessed with a significant presence of many British and International Hi-Fi giants. While Airplay has generally attracted most publicity, it is important to point out that Bluetooth currently has a much higher share of the market. Also worthy of note is the use of other devices, particularly Tablets and Smartphones, as control devices for these products, and the same could be said for their employment in the Audio Systems market as here, too, consumers embrace the world of streamed Hi-Fi audio. Streamers, Servers and Clients have been the traditional preserve of one manufacturer, but others are now moving in to take advantage of the increased reliance on music that is no longer owned as a series of physical vinyl or CD albums but rather as a selection of the tens of millions of digital files that are available to stream or download (hopefully legally) from cyberspace. The British Phonographic Industry, in its Digital Music Nation 2013 report, waxes lyrical about the increased share that digital files take in the recorded music market. Of course, there are still enthusiasts who treasure the old fashioned sensation of browsing through vinyl or CD albums in specialist independent stores. Fortunately, there are still significant numbers of consumers who will continue to frequent these stores, even while many of their multiple equivalents are disappearing, and a similar loyalty to independent stores is also demonstrated in specialist Hi-Fi outlets. Some may no longer be active and overall turnover in specialist stores may be modest compared to many other Durables markets, but solace is found in the undiminished strength of the highest (£1000+) product price bands. MARCH 2013 GET CONNECTED


George Cole

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

MiniDisc RIP T

he news that Sony was to be cease production of MiniDisc products from March 2013 was greeted with much surprise, although a lot of the surprise generated was along the lines of: “Are people still buying MiniDiscs?” I can’t remember the last time I saw a MiniDisc player or disc in the shops or the last time I used a MiniDisc player. In an age of iPods and MP3 players, it’s easy to see why many were surprised to discover that Sony was still making new MiniDisc products. MiniDisc was the victim of three powerful forces – flawed marketing, fast-changing technology and changing patterns of consumer behaviour. It was unfortunate, to say the least, that Sony and Philips decided to launch two new digital music formats in the same year – Philips’ Digital Compact Cassette (DCC) and MiniDisc. Back in 1992, I attended press launches for both formats, and their supporters were convinced that their format represented the future. Journalists were shown slides of analysts’ sales forecasts, all of which displayed graphs with steep upward curves. As things turned out, the graphs would have been more accurate had they been displayed upside down. So what went wrong for MiniDisc? Well, it wasn’t the technology, which was very impressive for the time. A disc roughly half the size of a CD could store up to 74 minutes (80-minute discs and long-play mode arrived later) of near-CD quality sound. What’s more, you could record and re-record on a MiniDisc, edit tracks using your MiniDisc player or a PC, and portable players had a memory buffer, which stopped the music skipping whenever you jogged. In fact, MiniDisc became a firm favourite with broadcast journalists, because of its portability and editing features – the format is even name-checked in the novel ‘The Ghost’ by Robert Harris 28


But at the time of the launch, Sony didn’t seem to know whether MiniDisc was a replacement for the CD or the compact cassette, or both. Pre-recorded MiniDisc titles trickled onto the market, but their numbers were never going to compete with the vast number of CD titles on offer. Sony licensed its MiniDisc technology but there were few takers, although Sharp, JVC, Panasonic and Pioneer did launch products. Blank MiniDiscs cost more than cassettes, but couldn’t match the recording time of a C90 cassette tape, and so for many consumers, tape was still the better option for home recording. A series of relaunches and re-brands (Net MD, Hi-MD) added to the confusion. Advances in technology also made life harder for MiniDisc: blank CD-Recordable discs became cheap and widely available and solid state MP3 players arrived. These had no moving parts and were smaller, lighter, less power hungry and had a bigger storage capacity than MiniDisc. Then came the Apple iPod... It’s likely that even if Sony had got MiniDisc marketing right, the format was doomed in the long run. Although few people will be shedding tears over the demise of the MiniDisc, it does remind us of the days when consumer electronics companies were at the cutting edge of innovation in the audio market – and Apple was just a struggling company selling computers to a small band of supporters.

YouView: a different channel R

ecent reports suggest that YouView, the hybrid Freeview/broadband TV service, clocked up nearly a quarter of a million sales in the first six months of launch, which is not bad going. But a closer look at the figures shows that the vast majority of sales are via broadband service providers TalkTalk and BT Vision, with high street sales representing just 10,000 – 20,000 of the total figure. It’s easy to see why this has happened. Broadband companies can offer YouView as part of a subscription package (with the YouView box thrown in for free), and this seems to be an attractive proposition – Talk Talk says it’s signing up 10,000 YouView customers a week. With only Humax having a YouView product on sale in the stores at the time of writing, it’s clear why high street sales have been much lower, and there’s no sign that major manufacturers with their own smart TV platforms to support will launch YouView products. So, in the short term at least, broadband companies will continue to be the main sales channel for YouView. It’s ironic when you think that YouView’s main marketing message is that you don’t need to pay a subscription to use it.

From The Bench

Wireless home networking

Wi-Fi and cordless video senders come under Alan Bennett’s gaze this month


the last issue of GC, we examined inhome cabling networks; time now to look at wireless links for video and data.


Obviously, wireless devices are simpler to install and connect than those using cables and are popular and widespread as a result, especially in view of the

a maximum legal radiation power (EIRP) of 10mW/–10dBW which provides an operating range of about 32m/120ft in an average building. The data rate varies with the design, cost and age of the equipment: up to 54Mb/s currently, up to 7000 Mb/s with the new IEEE standard just published and expected to be up and running by early 2014. Generally the WAP (Wireless Access Point) is a router incorporating a modem facing into a telephone line, copper or glass fibre, but Wi-Fi direct devices can talk to each other directly without the need for a WAP. A single router can cope with almost any number of Wi-Fi communicating devices like laptop PCs etc. but as the number of users goes up, the data speed is liable to drop, as the available bandwidth/spectrum is shared between them. This sharing is made possible by a sophisticated modulation system, COFDM, Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing, a form of which is also used for Freeview terrestrial TV broadcasting: the data is fragmented and spread amongst a large number of separate carriers. Loss of several of these frays the data, but not beyond repair by the inbuilt error-correction ‘armour’. CCK (Complementary Code Keying) is similar in its effect.

At present the 5GHz band is less crowded and thus less vulnerable than the 2.4GHz band, though its range is somewhat less. propensity of UK internet service providers to throw in a wireless-equipped modem/ router as part of the deal. Even so, wireless systems can have drawbacks, mainly in terms of security, data transfer speed/mutual interference and sometimes operational range....


The almost-universal system for exchange of computer data – and hence today’s video signals – is Wi-Fi, used by laptop PCs, Smart TVs, video game consoles, telephones, Blu-ray decks, media players and others. Transmissions take place in the 2.4 (2.4–2.5) and increasingly the 5GHz band; microwave ovens – also familiar to many of our readers! – operate at about 2.5GHz and can be a source of interference, see below. Wi-Fi signals have


This and other techniques ruggedizes the data but still there can be interference from other equipment: Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, wireless cameras, video senders (see below), microwave ovens, fluorescent lights, game controllers, ZigBee devices, cordless headsets, baby monitors etc. Some of these share the IEEE 802 protocol (which minimises trouble) and some do not. The effects of interference can be at best a reduced data throughput rate; data drop-out; and at worst, device auto-disconnection. There are various possible cures – at present the 5GHz band is less crowded and thus less vulnerable than the 2.4GHz band, though its range is somewhat less. Some new WiFi equipment can operate in both bands and auto-select between them.


There are on the market a handful of wireless video senders in standalone form; they have multi-way plugs to fit source and destination boxes, typically a tuner or recorder and a TV screen respectively. The cheapest types, generally retailing at about £65, provide an SD (standard definition) link and are only suited to equipment with Scart sockets; they are adequate for screens up to 32” diagonal. They commonly have an infrared link-back feature whereby the source box can be controlled by its remote control zapper at the receiving end of the link. I believe the Marmitek model GV545 is the best of these. High definition pictures are now the order of the day, and HD video senders using HDMI ports at each end are available at between £200 and £400 retail. Like Wi-Fi devices, they generally operate in the 2.4GHz band; some work at 5GHz and are less vulnerable to interference. At the lower end of the price range, models are quite basic with a single HDMI port at each end. As you move up the scale, features like dual HDMI input, HDMI loop-through and additional legacy (Scart) coupling become available. If your customer requires facilities like 3D operation or exotic sound coupling (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio etc.) it’s important to check the sender’s specification: not all models can handle these. For TV gaming, check for excessive propagation delay – most devices come in under 5ms. A good example of HD video sender is Marmitek’s Gigaview 821, retailing at about £280 and available through Keene Electronics and others. It has two HDMI inputs and a very good performance including Full HD 3D, but this price bracket does not afford advanced sound handling: core 5.1 Dolby mix is the best it can do. For eliminating the signal cables to wall-mounted thin screens and ceiling-hung projectors, the ZyXEL WHD6215 Aerobeam is recommended at about £185 retail. Interference from or to Wi-Fi links may be experienced with video senders in some (mainly crowded) environments. Choice of a 5GHz unit can mitigate this, though many video senders offer a selection of operating channels within their band, typically amongst four with a factory default set to 1. MARCH 2013 GET CONNECTED



2-minute Interview A

lover of art and seditious British comedy, with a lingering passion for hard rock, Teresa Arbuckle, Beko plc’s spirited Marketing Director, could see herself belting it out in a big musical production. And there lies just a tiny problem….

Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry? Working for Beko gave me the chance to talk to Mums about products that matter to their everyday lives. Ironically, given the amount of time that appliances save, they don’t get a lot of attention! Beko has utilised consumer insights to make its products helpful in everyday life, which is something I have thoroughly enjoyed developing and communicating to British consumers in the last 18 months

Favourite TV programme? Right now, I am loving The Good Wife Favourite cuisine? I love all food, but particularly sushi and Italian

As an American, I love subversive British comedy such as Have I Got News for You and Mock the Week. I think English comedians are the best in the world

What do you daydream about? My next holiday... where it will be, what cocktail I will drink, and how hot the weather will be

What was the greatest turning point in your life? Moving to Paris after finishing my MBA, which led me on to moving to London a few years later and meeting my husband, with whom I now have two wonderful children

If you weren’t in your present position, what job would you choose to do? I’d love to run an art gallery, but I’m not sure it would be as fun as my job is now

How would you describe yourself? Positive, energetic and passionate

You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice, what character would you like to play? I would love to play the lead in a big belty musical, such as Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. Although, this would actually rely on me being able to sing!

How do you think others see you? Positive, energetic and passionate… and occasionally a pain in the backside What makes you laugh? As an American, I love subversive British comedy such as Have I Got News for You and Mock the Week. I think English comedians are the best in the world Hobbies? Not much outside of being a mum! If I’m lucky, I occasionally get the opportunity to go for a run, and every so often visit an art museum (I studied art history at university) Greatest achievement? My children Do you have any bad habits? Chardonnay and Rioja What surprises you? The number of items that end up on my super-urgent priority list – everyday! 30

Favourite holiday destination? Anywhere near the water, where the sun shines


You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day, what would be the first change you would make? Remove all the guns Pet hate? Cruelty – there is too much hate in the world What sort of music do you like? Hard rock from the 1970s and 1980s – Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Springsteen Who do you most admire? People that work in the not for profit sector, they really do deliver the most to society What motto do you live by? Be thankful for what you have Tomorrow I will… ...try my best and make a few people smile.


50 0m

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Profile for Get Connected Magazine

Get Connected Magazine - March 2013  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry

Get Connected Magazine - March 2013  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry