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w w w. g c m a g a z i n e . c o . u k

GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED Keeping entertainment physical

RETAILER OF THE YEAR AWARDS Domestic & General announces the 2012 winners

FROM THE BENCH Alan Bennett says goodbye to analogue TV





A world of music at your fingertips Enjoy all the listening that matters to you, whether that’s music streamed from your Apple or Android device; or from your PC or Mac; millions of tracks via the Pure Music subscription service; live internet, digital or FM radio; or on demand radio programmes and podcasts. Sensia 200D Connect’s responsive touchscreen makes it quick and easy to access all this listening. It displays album artwork, station slideshows or your photos via Picasa, and lets you keep up to date with Facebook and Twitter. And it has a USB socket for radio record and playback, an input for your iPod/MP3 player and a sleek remote control. Your music • Your radio • Your world



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Editorial Comment

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The Word

In and around the industry

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George Cole Gets Connected Physical carriers have a future

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Retailer of the Year

D&G announces the 2012 winners of these prestigious accolades / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

From the Bench

Alan Bennett’s farewell to analogue TV




A seasonal look at some of the principal electrical and electronic product categories that will be leading the retail charge during the crucial Christmas period, featuring:


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30 Copyright © 2012 Mud Hut Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the publisher. Get Connected is published by Mud Hut Publishing Ltd., Alresford House, 60 West Street, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7EH.

Get Connected Greyfriar Cottage Winchester Road Chawton Alton Hampshire GU34 1SB

32 34

/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Seasonal Cooking Solutions for all seasons

/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

TV and Home Entertainment The consumer love affair continues

/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Small Kitchen Appliances

The remarkable fight back for top-end quality and value / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Pick of the Season

A gallery of outstanding products / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Gadgets & Accessories

Where retailers can reap the benefits / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Heating & Fires

Profitable winter warmers

Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33 

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

Production and Print: Blackmore Press, Shaftesbury, Dorset

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Creative Director: Will Dobson 

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Advertisement Production Administration: Will Dobson Telephone: 01342 850 456 

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




Autumn’s here,

Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

and October is the time when electrical retailers look to round off the year with a substantial final quarter’s festive trading.


ike the weather, trading patterns are becoming more and more unpredictable, and the difficult, volatile retail environment we’ve seen through 2012 has been of little help in encouraging optimism. However, you don’t need to be reminded that the next three months, and into January 2013, have to be mined vigorously and expertly for all the retail treasure they can be made to yield: especially so if this season’s mother lode is not a particularly rich one. For all the negative figures that 2012 has delivered, it has been remarkable for its powerful “feel good” events, including the Diamond Jubilee and the magnificent achievement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Get Connected has, in the spirit of seasonal optimism, produced its regular “Changing Seasons” Supplement (pages 19-34 of this issue), in which some of the industry’s thinkers, movers and shakers offer their take on the products and the trends that will work best for retailers during this vital period. We can only wish all electrical retailers a profitable season. Having said that, there have been in the broader UK business context two recent incidents that are rather ominously indicative that the business world – or at least the world of small and medium-sized businesses that forms the backbone of our economy – has turned down the opportunity to round off 2012 with some fundamental changes. It seems that politics and banking have both made the assumption that they can, and will, continue to operate according to a status quo that keeps the burden of recovery squarely upon the shoulders of SMEs. First, imagine that you’ve had a “long and frustrating” day at work, and as you’re leaving, some police person asks you to observe some petty but established security rule. You lose it, and swear and sneer at the police person, who makes notes of what you’ve said and reports you for it.

You attempt to deter further investigation by presenting the “long and frustrating day” argument and saying you “want to draw a line under it.” Do you think the police would say to you “OK, then, let’s leave it.” Or would they continue to investigate – and to prosecute – this alleged public order offence? I think we know the answer. But for some reason the Government Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell, appears to have persuaded the police to leave him alone. Did he commit the unpardonable arrogance of telling the police person to “learn your place”, and call him/her a “pleb”? We may never know. But significantly, whether or not it’s true, this use of language by a Government office-holder appears entirely plausible and possible to us. (It’s not “Tory arrogance” we are worried about here. We have seen politicians of all colours assume an arrogant, above-the-law dismissiveness in their dealings with lesser citizens. It’s political arrogance in general that is the problem.) Put that in context with the recent announcement of the “Funding for Lending” scheme whereby banks will be encouraged to lend to SMEs. Encouraged, it appears, by more guarantees and risk assumption by the Government (whose only source of funding is taxpayers’ money.) So what happened to the “binding” lending commitments that the banks made under Project Merlin, and signally failed to meet? It seems that the politicians who lord it over us have bottled it again, and abjectly offered the banks and the markets a deal that minimises their risk but allows them to keep any profits, while small businesses struggle to expand and have to pay twice for the privilege of doing business with their bankers. If there’s a pecking order, the markets are top, with politicians next and the people who actually produce the wealth clearly kept at the very bottom. Not good for morale, or, ultimately, the economy.

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

Average net circulation for the 12 issues distributed between Jan-Dec 2008 is 6,228



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September sales volumes record marginal rise

Small shift upwards in UK consumer confidence Consumer confidence in the UK edged up slightly in September, providing “some grounds for optimism” in the economy, according to analysts GfK NOP. The GfK NOP Consumer Confidence Index increased by one point to -28 from August to September, and small though the rise may be, the Index is now higher than at any time since June last year. “With the much-anticipated but ultimately unseen lift from the Jubilee and Olympics, even a one point increase in the Index will offer some grounds for optimism

to the Government after such a stagnant summer,” said Nick Moon, Managing Director of Social Research at GfK. Moon added that Government and retailers will hope this means we could be seeing the start of an uplifting autumn, but cautioned, however, that we will have to wait for next month’s figures to see if there has been a real change in public mood – whether people are beginning to feel more secure economically just in time for Christmas or whether this is “just an end of summer blip.”

End of the road for HI Group Months of speculation on the poor health of the HI Group, one of the industry’s most prominent distributors, was confirmed on 26 September by the appointment of Joint Administrators Sam Woodward, John Sumpton and Tom Jack of Ernst & Young LLP. The 35 year-old West Yorkshire business owned by the Isherwood family finally fell under the weight of tough market conditions and resulting cash flow problems. HI Group plc and eight subsidiaries were placed in the hands of the Ernst & Young representatives. 109 redundancies were immediately made. Joint Administrator Sam Woodward said the Group suffered from “challenging market conditions” in recent years, which seriously impacted its white goods business. As a result, turnover declined and severe cash flow difficulties ensued. Woodward confirmed that the Administrators had completed the sale of the Hi-Way Express Home Delivery business to Pacifica Group, an electrical repair, warranty and servicing company based in the North East, saving 57 jobs and ensuring continuity of the business. “The Joint Administrators are continuing to seek offers for the remaining parts of the Group,” he added.

The latest CBI monthly Distributive Trades Survey showed a slight rise in sales volumes in the year to September along with the expectation that growth will strengthen again in October. With 33% of retailers reporting sales up on a year ago and 27% recording a fall, the resulting balance of +6% was in line with expectations and an improvement on last month’s weaker performance of -3%. Nonetheless, for the fifth consecutive month, high street retailers considered the volume of sales to be significantly below average for the time of year, and to a greater extent than expected.

Government relaxes Health and Safety regulations Plans announced by Business Minister Michael Fallon to exempt sections of the business population from health and safety inspections will come to fruition next year when new rules are introduced in April 2013. Firms considered “low risk”, such as shops, offices, pubs and clubs, will no longer face routine health and safety checks, unless they have had a previous incident or possess a track record of poor performance. Business Secretary Vince Cable said businesses need to focus on creating jobs and growth rather than being tied up in unnecessary red tape. The move has been welcomed by a number of business organisations and is part of the Government’s plan to remove or change 3,000 regulations in a bid to cut bureaucracy and save businesses millions of pounds.

Midwich enters SDA market MidwichHome, the consumer electronics and home technology specialist division of the Midwich group, has introduced small domestic appliances into its portfolio of products and appointed Mark Flesher to the role of SDA Divisional Manager. MidwichHome said its entry into the market is “a natural progression of its strong focus on supplying the independent reseller channel.” Distribution agreements have been signed with Morphy Richards, Philips, Russell Hobbs, Breville, George



Foreman, Electrolux, Prestige, Daewoo, Swan, Honeywell, Numatic and Karcher, and discussions are currently underway with a number of other brands, the distributor said in a statement. Flesher (pictured) said the company had received “positive responses” from the supply base and will work closely with customers and suppliers to maximise opportunities for both. “Distributors have to keep evolving as the retail landscape changes and Midwich

believes the time is right to introduce SDA into its portfolio,” commented Flesher. “I’m very impressed with the Midwich approach to providing support and service to its varied and expanding customer base, which will be a great strength in helping develop the SDA channel.”


Argos like-for-like sales strengthen John Lewis posts which together with further good growth in white goods offset market-driven sales declines in the video gaming and audio categories and weaker trading in seasonal products. Total multichannel sales represented 52% of sales, up from 47% a year earlier.

Comet tops high street ‘haggling’ poll

Dixons Retail records strong performances in UK & Ireland Currys and PC World parent Dixons Retail plc announced group sales up 5% on a like-for-like basis in the first quarter of its financial year, with a good performance in the UK & Ireland, where like-for-like revenues increased 7% in the 12 weeks ended 21 July 2012, and in Northern Europe, where its Elkjøp stores were said to have outperformed the market with 13% growth. Trading in Southern Europe remained tough, however, and Dixons said its Italian and Greek businesses there were taking “appropriate actions” in continued difficult economic environments. Sales in the SE region declined 10% on the same period last year. Group multichannel sales grew 39% in the quarter, with a 48% rise in the UK & Ireland. But trading at the group’s PIXmania operation remained “challenging.”

Comet has topped a poll of the easiest high street chains to haggle in, with 78.4% of those who tried having success in obtaining discounts in stores. The poll, conducted by consumer help website, indicated that big-ticket items such as garden furniture, electricals and digital equipment could be the best products to try to haggle down the price on. Comet was closely followed by B&Q, at 77.8%, and Currys or PC World branches, at 77.7%. In all, 2,544 people were polled, of which 1,131 had never tried haggling – only retailers where at least 100 people attempted to haggle were included. Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert. com founder, said: “There are real rewards for charm and chutzpah on UK high streets.” Even John Lewis was found not to be averse to negotiation, with 63% of hagglers succeeding, and supermarkets Asda, Tesco and Sainsburys also obliged more than 50% of determined discount seekers. The poll stated it was likely that supermarket discounts were on nonfood goods.

strong first-half sales John Lewis reported gross sales up 12.8% to £1.6 billion for the half year ended 28 July 2012, underpinned by strong growth from Electricals & Home Technology (EHT) and multichannel sales. Like-for-like sales grew by 9.2%. Operating profit rose 188.6% to £45.6 million. The retailer, who in April this year was voted ‘Best Electrical Retailer’ at Verdict’s annual awards, made significant market share gains in each of its three main categories, with EHT ahead by 31.8%. Website gained 43% and now accounts for 24% of total sales.



See for the stories behind the news…

 Lack of lending to first time buyers hurting DIY and household retail sales Home ownership and mortgage credit crucial to macro-economic recovery

 VARTA Indestructible range gains Plus-X status Consumers invited to put products through their own toughness tests

 The power of Euronics… Price-competitive indies receive acknowledgement from Which?

 Four years on and retail sales growth half pre-Lehman levels BRC calls on Government for consumer and business support

 EPE Group in indie drive SDA an opportunity not to be missed, says distributor

“ D.A.D Are LG’s

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

Home Retail Group reported like-for-like sales at its Argos chain up 1.4% in the second quarter of its financial year, but gross margin declined 75 basis points. Consumer electronics continued to deliver an improved sales performance, driven by strong growth in tablets and e-readers, Tel: 0844 854 6715 Fax: 0844 854 6716

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Belling’s 100 years celebrated in style GDHA was greeted with appreciation and goodwill aplenty from a gathering of more than 200 guests, as it honoured the Belling brand’s 100th anniversary in the splendid surroundings of The Savoy hotel in London, before topping off the celebrations at the Proms in the Park on the evening of the traditional Last Night of the Proms. For all present on the day, September 8th, it was one to remember. In the opulence of The Savoy’s Lancaster Ballroom, guests enjoyed celebratory drinks and afternoon tea with a musical interlude courtesy of The Imperial Marching Band. The day was part of a year-long celebration of Belling: a calendar of events for retailers, customers and employees, which has incorporated the launch of the Belling 100 Collection of appliances and support for selected charity the Anthony Nolan Trust. “Not every brand lives to celebrate its centenary,” said Denver Hewlett, GDHA Chief Executive, who welcomed guests

including dealers and their partners; brand ambassador Brian Turner; Member of Parliament for St Helen’s and Whiston, The Right Honourable Shaun Woodward; members of the media, and some of the company’s longest serving employees, past and present – individuals who have been with the business “through thick and thin” and whose dedication Hewlett said he was “immensely proud of.” A special mention was given to team managers Steve Budd and John Hutchinson,

Area Sales Manager

service engineer Bob Maisuriya, Field Service Technician Bill Straughan and Multiple Account Manager Nick Sykes, who have been with the company for a combined total of almost 130 years. Also present at the event were Glen Dimplex President Martin Naughton and Group Chairman & Chief Executive of the Glen Dimplex Group Sean O’Driscoll. O’Driscoll recounted how Glen Dimplex had rescued Belling from receivership 20 years ago and read out a number of letters of that time from customers offering praise, support and good wishes for the future of the brand. Belling’s history has been well documented throughout 2012, and for parent GDHA this has been a momentous year. It has received The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade, welcomed His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent to its Prescot site and won the coveted D&G Total Excellence & Quality service award for the fourth time.

Witt UK & Ireland Ltd

White goods and Small domestic appliances

Opportunity for ambitious Area Sales Manager to establish and develop their career. Locations: Ireland, Scotland & North England, Midlands, South.

We are seeking two enthusiastic and self starting Area Sales Managers with a proven sales record in MDA / SDA who are well connected in the independent retail sector and beyond. You are result orientated and have the ability to communicate with a diverse customer base. You are highly organised, with a desire to grow with Witt and create lasting relationships with key customers in your area. Diversity and willingness to embrace changes is second nature and a driving force in your life. The job:


• To develop new business as well as managing and increasing turnover with existing core client base on a 70/30 basis in your area.

The job offers individual responsibility and personal freedom. Great opportunities for personal development and promotion within the company

• Maximize product sell-in to independent retailers and buying groups. • Identify, assess and appoint selected independent retailers to grow revenue and market share. • Identify and facilitate opportunities for sales training. • Meet agreed volume and value targets and establish appropriate product mix for all customers

Additional benefits: Fully expensed company car, mobile phone, laptop, home telephone/broadband, company contribution to Pension, Medical Plan and comprehensive training.

• Participating in fairs and trade shows in UK and Denmark

COMPANY PROFILE: Founded in 1993, Witt A/S has grown through innovative product development and fostering partnerships all over the world. Witt A/S is still expanded vigorously. Today Witt A/S sells products from 11 different countries. These products are sold to the largest department stores, specialist cook shops and white goods stores, not just in UK and Ireland, but all over Scandinavia. We have an excellent network of service centers and our aim is to be at the forefront of

development and promoting new ideas. Quality and value for money are cornerstones of our ethos. The company employs 60+ enthusiastic people who are achieving the highest levels in service and customer care. In this difficult international financial climate, Witt A/S has continued to expand and be successful. Growth and stability within Witt A/S have been acknowledged through several prestigious awards.

For more information please see or contact Market Manager Mr Bo Simonsen Telephone: 01483 516633 To apply, please forward full CV to: Application deadline: october 22nd · 2012

Leisure Range Cookers now in Colour.

Delivery within days.

Not weeks.

You have it in black and white. Now it’s easy to add a splash of colour to your customers’ dream kitchen. To learn more about Leisure please visit or call 0845 8505008. Leisure Colours are stocked in the UK for delivery within days, however due to demand there may be some rare occasions where stock is not available. Some models available from Summer 2012, contact your local sales consultant for more details.


Gorenje has announced that its aftersales service and spare parts provision will now be undertaken by Repaircare, the UK’s largest independent service provider. Philips has appointed Joanna Elliott, former Senior Marketing Director, Consumer Lifestyle UK & Ireland, to the role of Managing Director. She succeeds Neil Mesher, who moves to the position of MD, Healthcare UK&I. Kenwood is targeting an average weekly TV audience of 1.6 million viewers in a 6-month, six-figure sponsorship deal with Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch. The Cube by Electrolux is to have its London stay extended until 1st January 2013 following a “hugely” successful first three months. The restaurant has been sited on top of the Royal Festival Hall since June. Sky Independents has announced an increase in the marketing funds available to promote its network of authorised Sky agents. At 20% more than last year’s budget, the total allocation represents the division’s biggest ever marketing spend. Beko is to become an Official Supporter of The FA Cup to the end of the 201314 football season. The move grants the manufacturer an extensive range of image rights, advertising and promotional opportunities.

Leisure is launching a £1 million integrated marketing campaign to support the introduction of its new Colours collection. Interactive digital advertising on key lifestyle, homes and cookery sites will help drive traffic to a new Leisure website, and is complemented by press advertising across homes and lifestyle media and national newspaper supplements. The campaign is supported by PR and an in-store consumer promotion. Leisure is also aiming to drive pre-Christmas sales with a luxury Christmas hamper consumer offer, available with every 90cm and 100cm model purchased. The incentive commences 15 October and will run for ten weeks.

Audio brand Peachtree returns to UK US brand Peachtree Audio is returning to the UK with a new line up of products in two ranges distributed via Sussex-based Anthem AV Solutions. Peachtree recently won the Inside Track ‘Best Home Audio/Electronics Brand’ award in its home market and is hoping to replicate such success in the UK with its ‘Performance’ and ‘Grand’ series products and the backing of the Anthem team.

TV company Linsar has launched a window display competition running through to 18 December and supported with eye-catching POS. The initiative is open to all independents, with single and double window categories both offering a top prize of £1,000 (RSP) worth of Linsar products of the winners’ choice. Runners up in each category will be offered £350 (RSP) worth of product.

Catch-up TV offers Sky customers more flexibility Sky+ has added a new 7-day Catch-up TV section to its On Demand service, providing access to ITV Player and Demand 5, with BBC iPlayer coming this autumn and 4oD arriving early 2013. Coinciding with the rollout is the launch of a new Sky+HD 2TB box providing a capacity of 350 hours of HD content – six times more storage than a regular Sky+HD box.

LG partners with fashion designer Giles Deacon LG Electronics has teamed up with celebrated British fashion designer Giles Deacon to produce a limited edition 6 Motion washing machine featuring Deacon’s fashion print. The move marks LG’s return as the Official Garment Care Supplier to London Fashion Week Spring/Summer for the third season running (2013).



Linsar launches window display competition




Watford-based BBG has been chosen as ONKYO UK’s sub-distributor for the TEAC brand and for a selected range of ONKYO products to independent TV retailers.

Leisure targets Christmas market Tel: 0844 854 6715 Fax: 0844 854 6716


George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics.


ast January, the US online videoon-demand (VOD) giant Netflix launched its service in the UK. For £5.99 per month, users can stream as many films and TV shows as they like to their Smart TV, PC, games console and other devices. Within six months, Netflix had attracted one million customers. Last August, at the height of the Olympic Games, the BBC iPlayer site had more than 196 million requests. UK consumers are spoilt when it comes to online video, and we haven’t even mentioned Amazon-owned LoveFilm, Tesco’s Blinkbox, Sky’s NOW TV, iTunes and YouTube. All this could give you the impression that the days of packaged media such as DVDs and Blu-rays are numbered, but a survey carried out by the British Video Association (BVA) paints a different picture. It divides the market into physical (discs) and digital (downloads and streaming services). In 2011, the UK video market was worth £2.3 billion and physical content accounted for 87.7% of this. Of the 369 million video units sold in the same period, physical media accounted for 82.2%. It’s true that physical media sales declined in 2011, with value £1.75 billion, down from £1.84 billion in 2010, but it’s also clear that physical media is more than holding its own against digital. What’s more, if consumer attitudes are anything to go by, physical discs will be around for a long time yet. A BVA consumer survey found that 59% of respondents were digital sceptics, who did not foresee a time when most of their video purchasing would be in the form of digital streaming or downloading. Another 23.7% were digital reluctants, who could see a time when digital services will dominate their video purchasing, but were reluctant to change. Only 17.3% were digital enthusiasts, and it’s no surprise that most of these were males under 35. There were many reasons for consumer reluctance to embrace



popular, but it’s hard for artists and record companies to make much money out of them. “Don’t talk to me about streaming,” says Adrian

digital video; some people like owning a physical object or displaying their video collection, or sharing videos with friends. Others said their internet connection was too slow, or they were worried about losing content. One in five (21%) said they found the process of downloading or streaming too daunting. It’s hard to overstate the importance that packaged media has for the film and video industries, with video accounting for almost half of feature film revenues. Take a film like Senna, the story of the Brazilian Formula One legend. Almost two thirds of its revenue (62%) came from video; 32% from TV sales, and 6% from the cinema box office. And this is by no means an unusual breakdown – video sales can account for more than 90% of revenue for some film releases. The film and video industries have mixed feelings about the rise of online video services. Lavinia Carey, BVA director-general, says her industry is aware that many consumers want to watch video on connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and smart TVs, but adds that this shouldn’t be at the expense of revenue. Music streaming services are very

Farmer, director of Wyastone Leys, owner of Nimbus Records. “If I had my way, I’d chop it off at the legs, because there’s virtually no money to be made from it.” Lavinia Carey adds: “An eat-as-much-as-you-like video streaming service doesn’t generate much revenue for video distributors or for film and TV producers.” The video industry thinks that the UltraViolet service offers a way of allowing consumers to watch video on multiple devices, while sustaining revenues for the film and video industry. UltraViolet (UV) allows consumers to store a digital copy of a film or TV title in an online digital locker, and own a physical copy. UltraViolet had a low-key launch in the UK at the end of last year and Carey says there will be a high profile UV campaign in 2013. But with so many rival and incompatible digital video services now on offer, and with such a wide variation in broadband speed and access across the UK, technical issues, rather than price or choice, could well extend the life of the physical media market.




Independent Retailer of the Year 2012

1. Barretts of Canterbury




he winners of the 2012 Retailer of the Year Awards, sponsored and administered by leading warranty provider Domestic & General, are announced. Get Connected reports on this year’s winners in all three electrical retail categories: Independent Retailer; Multi-Store Retailer; Internet Retailer. With more than 400,000 surveys sent out to customers of independent, multiple and on-line electrical retailers, this is the UK’s biggest consumer survey of its kind. Its simple, three-category format, transparent scoring system and unrivalled national consumer coverage have made this a highly respected measure of electrical retail excellence. Customers who have made a major purchase are asked to rate the retailer on a scale of

Aclands South Point Electrical Nicholl Bros TC Hayes Wellington’s Mains Electrical Top Discount Electrical Geoff Hill Electrical Gillmans

Multi-store Retailer of the Year 2012

1. Hughes Electrical 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Hydro Electric Apollo Bennetts Stellisons Beales Currys Argos Fenwicks Co-Op, Heart of England

Internet Retailer of the Year 2012

0-10 on four key parameters: the bricks-and-mortar outlets are rated on their presentation,

1. Crampton & Moore

product information, customer service and demonstration; on-line vendors are rated on

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

site presentation, ease of navigation, product information and convenience of delivery. The fact that the retailers are rated by the people who matter most – their customers – makes this the one to win. And the winners are:

Independent Retailer of the Year:

Multi-store Retailer of the Year:

Barrett’s Digital World

Hughes Electrical

Barretts this year achieved an excellent

Hughes Direct won the Internet Retailer

overall customer satisfaction score of 96.63%.

accolade last year, and for 2012 the Hughes

Last year’s winner Aclands came in as runner

chain of High Street stores really upped their

up with 96.08%, closely followed by South

game, scoring a class-leading 88.73% customer

Point Electrical scoring an impressive 94.25%.

satisfaction. The Scotland-based Hydro Electric

Domestic & General National Account

chain scored highly to achieve runner-up status

Director, Jeff Griffiths, said: “Barretts Digital

with 87.05% and the Apollo chain, also part of

World has once again shown the Industry

the Hughes group, took third place with 86.46%.

the way forward by delivering an excellent

D&G’s Jeff Griffiths congratulated Hughes and

shopping experience to their customers. They

commented: “Hughes TV are known throughout

have created a store that is one of the best

the industry for their high level of customer

known and clearly the best loved in the region

service, and Robert Hughes and his large team

with an enviably loyal customer base. The

can be immensely proud to have this confirmed

commitment to service runs tangibly through

by their customers. Attention to detail has always

every facet of the company and the results can

been a watchword for Robert and his team and

be clearly seen in the ROTY survey returns.

the ability to maintain this level of consumer

Shaun Barrett and the team can be justly proud

loyalty across multiple stores – whose scores

of the excellent scores in each of the categories

were averaged together for this award - can only

which have helped them reach the top spot

be admired as they have expanded the business

this year.”

to even greater heights in the last few years.”

Internet Retailer of the Year:

Crampton & Moore Crampton & Moore lost their top spot in the Internet category in 2011, having previously scored a number of victories, but after a close battle this year they regained the crown. The Sheffieldbased company scored an impressive 91.48% overall customer satisfaction, with runner-up Marks/365 Electrical scoring 89.78% and third placed achieving 88.57%. Jeff Griffiths said: Rob & Mel Moore are rightly proud of their achievements in receiving such positive plaudits from their online customers. Crampton & Moore has once again reclaimed the top spot. The commitment they have shown to improving their overall service to on-line consumers has shown the Industry that customers respond well to quality support throughout the purchasing and after sales experience. Moreover, it proves that price is not always the key factor in today’s consumer service-driven electrical market online. As the competition to win this award increases each year, the award accolade and logo can be a powerful endorsement of the customer service message on websites.”


2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.


Marks/365 Electrical Washking Discount Electrocentre PRC Hi-Fi & Video RGB Direct RDO Kitchen Appliances Sonic Hughes Direct

* If you want to know how YOUR store fared in the ROTY 2012 survey, email for your customer satisfaction percentage, overall position against all other retailers in the UK and a breakdown of your results question by question.

Strength to Strength Owners and managers of the three winning retailers were invited to an exclusive lunch in London, hosted by Domestic & General sales director Derek Hollingdale and national account director Jeff Griffiths, to celebrate their achievements and receive their Award trophies. Mr Hollingdale commented: “This year’s Retailer of the Year survey received one of the highest response rates since the survey began, and serves to underline the importance of great customer service in difficult trading times. The three winning businesses, along with all those featuring in the top echelons of the survey, can be justly proud of being rated as the UK’s very best retailers by the customers they serve. Domestic & General has built its business on over 60 years of delivering exceptional customer care, and we are very proud to sponsor these awards that celebrate the best in customer service.”

Looking ahead to 2013 The 2013 survey is already under way, and Domestic & General is asking electrical retailers to help maintain the momentum by encouraging their customers to fill in the on-line survey by putting a POS wobbler on their service desk, or using their website, receipts or e-receipt emails to gather customer feedback. Call your local D&G sales trainer or email richard.stevenson@domesticandgeneral. com for more details.

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CUSTOMER SERVICE 1,100 stores reviewed and rated Only three winners...





The end of analogue TV After 76 years the end has come for analogue TV broadcasting in the UK. As you read this the very last British analogue TV transmitter is being switched off after five years of dual-standard broadcasting. Alan Bennett says goodbye to PAL, teletext and all that Transition


errestrial DTV broadcasting began here in 1998, and the first analogue service to have its plug pulled was BBC2 at Whitehaven, Cumbria, in October 2007, followed a few weeks later by BBC1, ITV and Channels 4 and 5. It’s taken exactly five years to roll out the switchover across the country, involving over 1000 transmitter sites. Also in 1998 Sky went over to digital transmission, with highly subsidised settop receiver boxes. Thus we have had DTV for over fourteen years now, with an everexpanding bouquet of programmes. While the sound and vision signals are digitally encoded the modulation systems are necessarily analogue in nature: single carrier phase shifting for satellite, multi-carrier phase and amplitude shifting for terrestrial transmissions. For a given coverage area much less radiated power (hence consumption at the transmitter) is required per channel for digital broadcasting, a seldom-realised advantage in this energy-conscious age. Digital TV itself brought relatively little profit or pleasure to our trade with very low cost set-top converter boxes, and money which might otherwise have been spent on home equipment being diverted to Sky TV subscriptions! The simultaneous development of thin-screen TV sets did most certainly help the retail trade, however.

Digital bolt-ons The digital TV system we’ve now got owes itself to very fast real-time data processor chips, memory ICs with huge capacities, accurate and stable crystals – and the brilliant work of its inventors MPEG, the Motion Pictures Expert Group. But long before that there were digital bolt-ons in the form of teletext and NICAM. Teletext, first built-in (expensively!) to TV receivers in 1977, was developed jointly



by BBC and ITV engineers, and involved relatively simple pulse trains inserted in the field blanking interval of the vision signal, decoded – initially by a huge number of ICs – into text and crude graphics for field-synchronous on-screen display. It was effective and useful, but oh boy, what problems it gave us in the trade as the number of TV scanning lines it occupied increased! The effect was bright winking dots over the upper part of the picture, and many TV models needed modifications to overcome it. NICAM was launched by the BBC in 1991, and offered high quality stereo sound, a huge improvement on the single-channel (mono) FM sound system which had gone before, and with no compatibility problems this time. NICAM utilised a single low-power carrier, constant in amplitude and frequency but fourphase-modulated to convey a bit-reduced two-channel sound signal. Now ‘proper’ speakers could be justified, and the soundstage of a TV became more closely matched to the image; screens were expanding in size at that time. Retrofit kits were seldom available from setmakers, but freelance manufacturers produced modules and kits which worked well, allied to decent amplifiers and speakers. Late in the analogue era a hybrid system, a sort of halfway house, was introduced: MAC, Multiplexed Analogue Components, having separate sequential time-compressed luminance and colour signals with digital sound, data and control, as used by BSB for satellite transmissions during its short lifetime. MAC pictures were very good.

RIP analogue TV British TV broadcasts began on 2 November 1936 from Alexandra Palace in London. The transmissions were in black and white on 405 lines, shut down in 1939 and resumed after the war. Improvement was gradual; TV got boosts in 1952 with the Coronation and in 1955 with the advent of ITV. This was broadcast in VHF Band 3, bringing much work to the trade with the erection of new aerials and the sale of converters and new dual-band sets. The next big step came in 1964 with the start of BBC2, having higher definition (625 lines) and much higher broadcast frequencies in UHF Bands 4 and 5. Again there was business to be done in fixing up new aerials and selling TV sets (no converters this time!) but take-up was sluggish because BBC2 was regarded, perhaps rightly, as highbrow and obscure. Even when colour was introduced on BBC2 in 1967 there were relatively few sales: most people couldn’t afford colour sets at around £300 apiece, and were not enthused by the single channel of minority-interest programmes. Things perked up from 1969, however, when BBC1 and ITV got into colour, and in the ’70s fortunes were made in TV sales and particularly rental. The choice of the PAL (Phase Alternation, Line) colour system was an excellent one, whose compatibility with black-and-white receivers, in the majority for many years, was very good indeed. PAL was a German improvement on the American (1953) NTSC system, which latter could produce shocking hue errors in the picture. Channel 4 came in 1982 and 5 in 1997, just before the explosion of channels brought about by satellite broadcasting.

Radio It’s odd that broadcast radio, with its much simpler narrow-band signal structure, will be the last to go over completely to digital: the first radio transmissions (in the 1900s) were ‘kind-of’ digital, with Morse-coded pulse spark transmissions...












With most households gearing up for Christmas and the preparation of what is most likely to be the largest joint of the year, complete with trimmings, those in the market for cooking appliances will be looking for products that take the stress out of catering, ensuring that the majority of time is spent with family and guests rather than slaving in the kitchen, whilst feeling confident that the meal will not spoil. For retailers, the aim is to recommend the solution to consumers’ individual seasonal dilemmas, while also satisfying the many different cooking needs and preferences required throughout the rest of the year.

The great festive cook-in B aumatic Marketing Manager Rita Balestrazzi says the autumn/winter season is a pivotal time of year for the sale of kitchen appliances, with the period encompassing Halloween and Christmas traditionally resulting in the biggest uptake in product purchases as consumers settle in to enjoy their homes and entertain guests during the festivities.

It is the time of year that range cooking in particular captures the imagination of consumers, she notes, as this evokes the homely sentiments that define the holiday season. “It is also the only appliance that guarantees the additional space required for cooking large Christmas dinners,” she asserts. “Twin oven appliances are especially good to market in the autumn/winter period, providing consumers with a double oven capacity so more than one dish can be cooked at a time, or so that less energy can be consumed on occasions when only the smaller oven is needed.” Smeg Product Development and Training Manager Joan Fraser also notes the rise of the range during the autumn/winter seasons as consumers focus on the challenges of catering for larger numbers than usual. “Having the flexibility of more than one oven and the convenience and space for warming plates and serving dishes becomes increasingly appealing,” she comments. Sertac Sertler, freestanding cooking product manager at Beko, owner of the Leisure brand, actively advises retailers to encourage consumers to purchase a range cooker, stating that the appliance is “the ultimate” in cooking.

Millions of people throughout the UK have either struggled to fit their turkey into the oven on Christmas Day or know of someone who has”

“With up to four ovens, five gas burners and a griddle plate, the host can multitask easily when cooking the Christmas meal and spend more time with their family or friends.” Steve Dickson, commercial manager for range cooking at Belling and Stoves, comments that capacity becomes one of the biggest stress inducers for consumers catering for large numbers; in particular, Christmas dinner, which involves cooking different dishes at different temperatures and times. “It’s here that range cooking comes into its own, offering bags of capacity and the flexibility of having one dish cooking in the main fanned oven, something else in the second oven and the bonus of an added grill and spacious hob. Range cookers with a slow cooker are perfect when





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entertaining, as the cook can put the dish into the oven then return to their guests.” The popularity of range cookers is reflected in GfK figures, as the freestanding sector rose 8% in a total cooking market which grew by 1%, to £625 million, in the year to July 2012.

Capacity rocks Whirlpool Brand Marketing Manager Juliana Sado keeps us on the subject of large capacity as she points out that room for the ‘joint of the day’ is not always enough: “There needs to be space for a tray of roast potatoes too. “Most importantly,” she says, “capacity must be flexible, so the interior can be customised to suit everyday needs. If the oven copes with the festive rush, it will be more than adequate all year round.” It is a fact that more large capacity single ovens are coming on to the UK market and here we touch on the benefits of a few. The latest Fusion oven from Whirlpool boasts a 73-litre capacity, which Sado says will accommodate a 30lb-plus turkey and a tray of roast potatoes with ease. It also has a ‘keep warm’ function, so food can be kept ready and waiting for guests for up to four hours without spoiling. Siemens’ top-of-the-range iQ700 oven offers a 67-litre capacity that will take a 32lb turkey. Senior Cooking Product Manager John McLauchlan highlights the appliance’s 14 different cooking functions, which he says will accommodate the host’s needs even when the festive season has passed. Neff, meanwhile, offers a range of single ovens that hold up to 33lb in weight and will also provide enough room to cook potatoes on another shelf.


Then we have ‘split’ ovens – the large capacity appliances with a divider that separates the oven into two cavities. Hoover Candy’s 76-litre Prodige has a dividing system that can be adjusted to suit different cooking requirements with ‘flexi cooking zones’ operated by their own independent controls. Marketing Director Steve MacDonald says: “Millions of people throughout the UK have either struggled to fit their turkey into the oven on Christmas Day or know of someone who has. And as the traditional Christmas dinner often consists of several courses and side dishes that all require time in the oven, preparing it can not only be a challenge but a marathon, too. Hoover’s flexible Prodige oven is a real timesaver and makes cooking a breeze.”


Great combinations The use of steam in cooking is on the ascent in the UK as the choice of ovens with this facility expands and consumers come to understand that the method is not just for vegetables and fish and the outcome not, as some imagine, bland. Steam does, of course, hold the connotation of healthy cooking, yet it offers numerous additional benefits for the widest range of foodstuffs. Simon Freear, country manager for Amica in the UK, believes that “for the ultimate in convenience with functionality, versatility and great results, those cooking for friends and family this Christmas and beyond could do no better than invest in a combination steam oven as a standalone appliance or to work alongside another main oven.”

Keen, busy cooks will appreciate the extra responsiveness of induction hobs” Hotpoint’s 77-litre Openspace also offers the option to split the cavity into two independently controlled ovens. “This means you can get a good sized turkey in one compartment and use the other for the roast potatoes because the divider accommodates cooking at two different temperatures and in two cooking modes at the same time,” says Brand Director Ian Moverley. The Samsung Dual Cook Steam oven – another split cavity appliance – can be used as a full-size steam or traditional fan oven or as two separate ovens, one in fan mode and the other with steam assist.

In his view, “Using a steam oven will save time, with the ability to cook lots of different foods together without the risk of flavour transfer, and it will produce delicious, healthy and nutritional meals with the preservation of taste, nutrients and natural goodness without the need to add fat. With a combination multifunction steam oven, joints of meat will be a perfect golden brown, toppings and pastry crispy and the ability to steam vegetables removes the need to use the hob and extractor. Steam ovens are also easy to clean and can be used to defrost and reheat food quickly.” “Combination steam cooking also makes entertaining more relaxing and enjoyable,” adds Electrolux’s Sophie Davidson, Head of Product, UK and Ireland. “Food can be prepared before guests arrive and then kept warm, while still preserving moisture and textures. In many ways, steam is the entertainer’s best friend. With dry heat, the juices in food evaporate whereas steam keeps everything tender.”

Freedom Today’s appliances can make cooking and entertaining during the festive season and throughout the year “a breeze,” says Gorenje Sales and Marketing Director Bill Miller. “Modern technology has enabled the incorporation of features that minimise user input and control, allowing appliances to work their magic while the consumer enjoys themselves with their guests.” He suggests that Gorenje’s HomeCHEF built-in oven is the “ultimate choice” for the home entertainer. The 65-litre appliance has a comprehensive selection of preloaded menus and cooking functions accessed via the main  ELECTROLUX 72LITRE COMBISTEAM DELUXE OVEN







electronics to automatically monitor and adjust the operation of the appliance, saving users both time and effort and, says Gorenje, using up to 40% less energy than a conventional induction hob. Induction is the “standout” performer in the hobs category, according to GfK, with sales up 7% in the year to July 2012 within a total category that has declined by 2%, to £30 million, largely due to a fall in sales of gas hobs.

The bonus While consumers are reportedly keen to upgrade their cooking appliances in the run up to Christmas and anxious to replace unreliable products, they are also eager to find ways to minimise the post-cooking clean up, says Baumatic’s Balestrazzi, and functions such as pyrolytic cleaning will be “most in demand.”

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However, she believes that many consumers are still confused by the terminology, and additional sales can be generated by means of a simple explanation. “80% of Baumatic customers revealed they did not realise that this term [pyrolytic] described an automatic self-cleaning feature,” she reveals. Nonetheless, GfK’s Richard Allen, Account Executive, MDA, points out that pyrolytic appliances are defying the downturn in built-in ovens, a sector which fell by 9% in the year to July 2012, yet pyrolytic appliance sales reached £23 million and now account for over 10% of all integrated oven sales. The result suggests that the concept of reducing food debris and burnt-on grease that accumulates in the oven to ash that is easily wiped away is a preferable solution to expending time and elbow grease on one of the most dreaded household chores. Most manufacturers estimate the price of a light pyrolytic clean at around 25-30 pence. So, with (arguably) the best oven cleaner on the market costing in the region of £4.00, a pair of Marigold Extra Life gloves £2.00, a pack of cleaning cloths £1.80 and the additional cost of multiple sheets of kitchen roll, hot water and sponge scourers for stubborn grease spots adding up to a conservative estimate of £9/£10 for a DIY job (time and bother not included), the balance between the two cleaning methods would buy a pretty nice bottle of wine to accompany the Christmas dinner. There is, of course, another alternative: a professional clean costing in the region of £45. Pass the port please…


“We Carry the most comprehensive range of leisure cookers in the uk, many of which are exclusive to d.a.d ....FACT!

menu screen. The SIMPLEbake option, for example, has 9 images representing the most common categories of foodstuffs. The user simply chooses the dish required and the technology does the rest. From Siemens we have the cookControl electronic roasting system, which offers the simple and trouble-free cooking of stews, casseroles and roasts. The programmes are designed so users don’t need to turn, stir, baste or otherwise tend to the food. “All you have to do is bring it to the table,” says Siemens’ McLauchlan. Of course, intelligent cooking isn’t restricted to ovens. As Whirlpool’s Sado points out: “Keen, busy cooks will appreciate the extra responsiveness of induction hobs.” And for those who make traditional homemade Christmas puddings, then an induction hob that senses the water level during cooking is “perfect,” she comments. “A Christmas pudding can take up to 8 hours gently steaming on the hob, so the busy cook will appreciate the freedom such a feature delivers. It means they don’t have to worry about getting the setting just right or the pudding pan boiling dry.” Induction is the most energy efficient hob type on the market and those with flexible zones offer the greatest versatility for the enthusiastic cook. The technology is safe, clean, fast and exceptionally responsive and controllable and manufacturers are continuing to find ways to boost the intelligence of appliances so cooking becomes even easier and more convenient. The latest development from Gorenje, for example, takes the technology a step further with the introduction of ‘IQ’ sensors within a small disc placed on the lid of the pan. The disc communicates with the hob’s OCT 2012 GET CONNECTED


Tel: 0844 854 6715 Fax: 0844 854 6716





Screen presence

The change of the seasons can provide a great opportunity for retailers, manufacturers and suppliers of home entertainment equipment as consumers prepare for the annual festive programming


hristmas is a time that some households save and plan prudently for, and others throw caution to the wind in the hope that a spending spree will not come back to bite them when the New Year sets in and a sobering sense of normality returns. But whatever the motivation, apart from the ‘joy of Christmas’ itself, consumers will spend, and the ‘big’ TV (or ‘bigger’ TV in most instances), though not generally on personal gift lists, is never far from mind as a treat that will enhance festive enjoyment. When measured against years of consistently high growth, it’s been a difficult period for the TV market. July received a modest uplift prior to the Olympics yet the rest of the year has been worse than flat as consumers shied away from big-ticket purchases due to financial constraints. However, the uptake of new technology has been positive – without this, the landscape may have looked decidedly bleaker – and the move towards larger screen sizes encouraging, as a considerable proportion of market value is coming from screens of 43-inches and above. There has also been greater uptake in small screen sizes as households invest in TVs for bedrooms, kitchen areas and studies. With digital switchover at a close and most homes now owning a main flatscreen TV, comparisons made against the substantial market growth experienced over the past decade make market conditions appear pretty harsh. Yet taken sector by sector, great



opportunities do exist for retailers of TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, accompanying audio enhancement products and HE accessories, and if sold as packages relevant to consumer needs, margins start to look more handsome too. Gareth Thomas, business manager for consumer electronics brand Otone Audio, is confident that retailers can expect a stronger end to the year for home entertainment. “Sales of Smart TVs are starting to take off, 3D TV sales are also rising steadily and there is a growing demand for home entertainment to be more sophisticated,” he says. “And with consumers becoming more tech-educated and savvy, VoD and online gaming are likely to see an increase in demand which will further fuel the Smart TV market.” Along with this trend, Thomas believes we are likely to see a rise in quality audio support for TV and gaming platforms.

Seasonal sales If the sales trend for Smart TVs and 3D TVs follows that of last year’s festive quarter, Thomas’ prediction of a stronger end of year will stand true. According to GfK figures, Smart TVs grew year-on-year in volume by 380% to July 2012, yet the three-month period from November through to January recorded an uplift of 943%. Value rose by 254% and 458% respectively which, although showing the considerable depreciation in price as more brands (including own brands) came onto the market and the usual downward price pressure experienced

in the CE category took hold, proves that new technology is still in demand and no more so than during the festive season. With the demand from consumers for video content from OTT providers such as Netflix and LOVEFiLM, online gaming and extended device connectivity offering a platform for a widening range of activities, Smart TV is seen as the future of television and the central ‘hub’ of home entertainment as broadband speeds in the UK improve. 3D TV is also, of course, recording substantial market growth, with volume up 178% in the year to July 2012 and 218% in the three-month November to January period. Value rose by 99% and 98% respectively, demonstrating again the fast pace that the price of technology depreciates, but from a consumer point of view, making products more affordable. Hence, Otone’s Thomas believes we will see more consumers buying into the technology this year. “People are increasingly keen to create a cinematic experience in their homes and 3D TV is going to be another feature that can enhance this experience further,” he remarks. Thomas reminds us that the world’s first 3D TV channels launched 15 months ago under a blaze of publicity and says that, with the number of worldwide 3D channels, demo channels or 3D VoD services expected to rise from 90 to around 110 in the next year, the market for 3D TV is only going one way: “Futuresource Consulting predicts the number of 3D-ready displays sold in the UK will triple by the end of 2012 to 2.3 million,” he points out, “and predictions suggest that by 2015 close to half of US and UK households will own a 3D TV.”




Sound proposition Philips Marketing Manager for Home Cinema Claire Beard, though acknowledging the home cinema market is facing “challenging conditions”, commented recently on its seasonality tending towards peak sales between November and January and the increasing demand for superslim, bezel-free models in the 46” and above category, “which in turn,” she said, “is helping to boost the popularity of soundbars.” According to GfK, the Soundbar Reporting Channel grew 134% in volume and 94% in value during the 12 months to July this year, and during the 3-month period from November through to January, respective growth of 130% and 107% was recorded, the latter figure

suggesting that consumers were purchasing higher-end models to complement the viewing experience offered by larger screen sizes. Otone’s Thomas believes that people are starting to realise that the slim style of modern LED LCD TVs means that sound quality is reduced, and soundbars, 2.1s and 5.1s are the most suitable add-ons for retailers to promote: “If a consumer is willing to spend £1,500 on a Samsung Smart TV, for example, then adding on another £170 for a high-quality surround sound system should be achievable for them. “With the Christmas season approaching, retailers will see an increase in footfall through their stores as consumers look to set up their home with an entertainment system to get them through the winter months. Retailers should be looking for value-added sales that bring lower priced, higher margin enhancements to more expensive purchases.”

Evolution Home entertainment is an exciting, aspirational category which continues to evolve, with rapidly increasing amounts of 3D content and Smart TV applications available and new, bigger, better and more stylish products coming to market

Brilliance is emerging


at a speed with which few consumers could feasibly keep up. Recent developments are keeping retailers on their toes too. In the past few months we’ve seen the launch of YouView – the subscription-free service that “seamlessly combines” over 100 digital TV and radio channels and HD content with internet catch-up and videoon-demand services such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD – and the unveiling of freetime, freesat’s new premium service, which allows viewers to scroll backwards through the EPG to watch shows on TV up to eight days after they have aired. The technology upgrade from the satellite TV broadcaster will also offer paid for, on-demand TV from sources such as Netflix and LOVEFiLM. In addition to these new developments, we also have the promise of OLED TV and 4K TV arriving in Europe before the year is out. In spite of intense competition from products such as laptops and tablets, gaming consoles, smartphones and the plethora of other CE devices on the market, TV will continue to command the people’s pound. It remains the one device that all in the household can share at the same time and the only one capable of hosting and delivering the immersing entertainment experience discerning viewers demand.

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Sales of small kitchen appliances are a seasonal certainty, but the reward for retailers is at the top end, where the right mix of premium products will bring gains to the bottom line


ittle over a decade ago, the label ‘cheap as chips’ became firmly fixed to the small kitchen appliances sector, and it would be fair to say that the pigeonholing had been earned. As the supermarkets stepped up their assault on the market, with kettles and toasters selling just shy of a fiver, many independent retailers backed out, “unable to compete,” they said, with their local Asda and Tesco, whose grocery shoppers were attracted both by the low prices of such goods and the ease with which they could be purchased – one trip, one trolley, one bill, job done.

bonus Mark Swift, Director of Marketing at Kenwood, quotes GfK figures that show a yearon-year uplift of 51.1% in value for the food preparation market in December 2011. “Sales started to increase from October 2011 onwards when consumers started purchasing appliances in the run up to Christmas,” he comments. The food prep market has maintained this run of good fortune so far into 2012 and Kenwood expects the trend to continue until the end of the year as consumers buy products for Christmas gifts and for themselves, too, as a helping hand in the kitchen during the traditional season of cook-ins and entertaining.

The period leading into the festive season never fails to record increased growth” But this is a sector that has turned itself around with attitude, adding value to products by way of innovation in technology and design and shedding its indiscriminate, low-level tag in the process. Yes, consumers can still buy a cheap, own-brand kettle at Asda (although, at the time of writing, not as cheap as at Homebase!), but they can also purchase a Bosch Styline model from the grocer, which will set them back around £70.00.

Hidden treasure SKA is one of the most dynamic, innovative and important sectors of the kitchen appliance industry. Products range from the essential to the aspirational, and appeal has grown in line with the lifestyle demands of 21st Century consumers and the prominence now given to health & nutrition, home entertaining, speed, convenience and style in the kitchen. The category is a proverbial treasure trove where high-value products abound, offering enhanced sales opportunities and significant margins for retailers stocking the right mix. And there is no better time than now to seek out those products, as the period leading into the festive season never fails to record increased growth.

More good cheer As great feasting is generally complemented with choices of coffees and liquors, it comes as no surprise that sales of coffee machines should flourish during the autumn/winter period. But it is rather astounding just how much the category gains. According to Sophie Davidson, Head of Product, UK and Ireland at Electrolux, around 60-80% of sales of freestanding coffee machines for the year come during the festive season. A comment which is in part supported by Groupe SEB UK’s Jane Yelloy, Product Manager for Beverage Making, who says: “The Christmas


season is without doubt the key time for coffeemaker sales.” Commenting on SKA on the whole, Yelloy says that markets have always received a lift during the festive season: “This was certainly the case in 2011 and this year will be no different. Real product innovation will always excite the consumer and genuinely useful features and benefits are ensuring that kitchen appliances continue to be a good category for the retail trade during this key selling period. “As the café culture continues to capture the UK’s imagination, what better for independents to sell than probably the most advanced espresso machine in the world?” Yelloy is referring to the Krups EA9000, which she says ensures the coffee ritual is “always elegantly honoured.” The self-cleaning Bean to Cup machine makes a range of favourites including ristretto, espresso and cappuccino and has a 4:3 TFT colour display with touch screen technology. For some, the







RRP of £1299.99 may be an eyewatering figure, but this is a quality piece of equipment for which there exists a growing market.

Healthy options GfK’s Helen Warner, Account Manager for Small Domestic Appliances, says that products such as the above are driving considerable value in SKA, a sector which on the whole declined by 3% in volume in the year to July 2012 compared to the previous 12 months. “But the value picture is far more positive,” she asserts. “Year-on-year value grew by nearly 7%, driven by the more premium items such as coffee machines, fryers and kitchen machines. These have all performed well and injected large value into the market.” Deep fryers is a remarkable category, declining in numbers in the last decade as the health grill rose to become an SKA favourite. Then along came the Tefal ActiFry – a prime example of innovation that would turn the category around. The appliance claimed its place in the market as a “health” product and now commands retail prices in the region of £200 for the ‘Family’ model at the top end of the range. The ActiFry is part of Tefal’s Nutritious & Delicious collection and earlier this year was said to be the UK’s top selling SKA. In the year to July 2012, the deep fryers sector grew 1.5% in volume and 24.3% in value, reflecting in part the price premium this healthy alternative to deep frying has produced. Other brands with ‘reduced fat’ fryers on the market include Philips with the AirFryer and Breville with the Halo fryer.

Kitchen classics GfK’s Warner also notes the Kitchen Machine as one of the premium product areas helping to lift the value of the SKA sector. And it is indeed a popular appliance, with an expanding presence


in stores and growing consumer appreciation. TV shows such as Saturday Kitchen, for example, have helped raise the profile of all sorts of kitchen gadgetry, but it is consumers’ newfound love of cooking, experimenting in the kitchen, preparing meals from scratch and entertaining at home that has brought this sector to the fore in recent years. This ‘do it all’ food prep appliance has also become an iconic item that no self-respecting cook would be without. And it looks the part, too, with its substantial form suggesting culinary prowess on the part of the owner and the role it plays in kitchen design. Products come in the broadest range of colours imaginable and tend to be used as ‘statement’ pieces for the allimportant hub of the home. Kenwood’s Mark Swift says Kitchen Machines such as the iconic Kenwood Chef and the brand’s colourful kMix Stand Mixers were bought both as gifts and for the home last Christmas. “These products have higher price points so consumers tend to look to purchase them at the end of the year,” he remarks. Kenwood has just launched a new and improved Kenwood Chef Titanium (KMC010) which Swift says will be a premium gift for fans of baking. “New attachments for existing kitchen machines are also very popular for gifting due to the lower price point, and we are looking for an uplift in sales in this segment over the Christmas period,” he adds. According to GfK figures, the Kitchen Machine sector grew by 29.98% in volume in the year to July 2012, and 37.12% in value. In December 2011, volume growth rose 51.34% and value 57.65%, bearing out Swift’s assertion that products tend to be “end of year” purchases.

Ever changing The SKA sector is remarkably broad and varied, and never without appeal. Products fall out of fashion only to make TEFAL’S ACTIFRY – THE HEA LTHY WAY TO FRY



a return several years later as the hottest ‘must have’ in the category – fondues, for example: up 110% in volume in the year to July 2012 and 293% in December 2011. Furthermore, there is always something new, something different in this lively sector of electricals. Although it may be stretching the boundaries a little to include microwaves in the traditional SKA categorisation, Fagor draws our attention to its Spoutnik model as “a unique opportunity to showcase something truly different for the gift purchaser.” Richard Walker, sales and marketing director, De Dietrich Kitchen Appliances (De Dietrich and Fagor), says there is nothing else like it on the market. “This product has a number of key market opportunities,” he asserts: “For consumers seeking a colourful alternative to the traditional rectangular microwave in their kitchens; as a colourful yet functional gift for students at University; or for businesses in small offices with limited access to cooking facilities. “For retailers,” he adds, “the innovative design with all three colours sited side by side makes an exciting display opportunity.”

Early rise? Considering the SKA sector’s prospects for the final quarter of this year, GfK’s Warner looks back at previous trends: “Historically, we have seen a boom in the SKA market around Christmas as many products are seen as good gifting items. The uplift then continues into January as consumers can get a great deal in the sales, purchasing higher spec products for a lower price. “The Christmas period (November 2011 to January 2012) accounted for 38% of value of the total SKA market for the 12 months to July this year, the more popular gifting products such as espresso machines, chocolate fountains and popcorn makers have over 50% of their value in this period. “Christmas is expected to follow the same trend this year when more value will be pushed into the market. With promotions happening earlier and earlier, we may see this uplift as early as October.”

The complete food preparation family.

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Why should you have the Kenwood kMix range on your shelf? • Kenwood is the No.1 brand in Kitchen Machines, Food Processors, Hand Blenders, Hand Mixers and Blenders* • Brand associated with quality, reliability and durability

• The kMix family is available in 3 striking colours Model shown KMX51

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The motivation for consumers to get their homes in order for the festive season coupled with Christmas gifting and entertaining provides retailers a great opportunity to make the most of a certain lift in consumer spending. Here we feature a range of products that manufacturers and suppliers are promoting as their “Pick of the Season” for 2012.

Amica – the future is now Leading Polish MDA producer Amica is already known for its design pedigree, most notably the 2012 Red Dot ‘Best Of The Best’ Award for the Zen oven unveiled at IFA, which makes functional simplicity an art form. Independent retailers in search of a genuine story should look out for Amica’s Smart oven (@mica smart), which offers a large tablet-type control to simply steer the user through the appliance’s menu. Updating menu and programme settings or even displaying personal photographs on the large screen is made possible through a USB connection on the oven. For full details visit: Every Amica freestanding or built-in appliance is supported by a full 2-year parts and labour guarantee.

Philips HomeCooker A completely fresh approach to cooking Philips’ HomeCooker is the first in a new range of kitchen appliances co-created by Philips and world-renowned chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver. This cuttingedge kitchen appliance marks a milestone in home cooking, as it does the preparation as well as the cooking. It chops, stirs, steams and sautés and can even be left cooking unattended due to the incorporation of ‘AutoStir’ technology. The Philips HomeCooker comes with an exclusive cookbook of 25 bespoke recipes developed by Jamie Oliver to help home cooks create a variety of tasty dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Additional recipes will also be available to download from, and users can cook along with Jamie as he demonstrates his favourite recipes using the HomeCooker in a series of videos available to view on the site. • Stirs, melts, simmers, stews, boils, steams, fries and sautés • Intuitive control panel on base • PerfectTemp – for perfect temperature settings 40–250˚C • QuickSet timer – up to 99 minutes • Auto shut off • 3-litre stainless steel bowl, glass lid, steam tray, steam basket, pasta insert and stirrer • Dishwasher safe For further information please visit:

Pure black induction hob from Electrolux means cooking without limits This minimalist hob does away with traditional hob zones and its intelligent, intuitive controls ensure precise, professional results. The EHD8740FOK InfinitePure induction hob from Electrolux, the world’s first fully backlit hob, offers a dramatic centrepiece for any new kitchen, as the simplicity of the appliance’s sleek black rectangle is retained until it is turned on. When switched on, the hob’s intuitive rotary sliders appear. The controls are inspired by professional chefs’ needs for instant, precise heat control. The power level for a zone is selected with a single touch then fine tuned with a separate rotary-shaped slider. Electrolux Trade Sales | 08445 610561 |





Leisure Colours range cooker collection “The growing trend for colourful kitchen appliances represents a huge opportunity to grow incremental sales. The launch of the Leisure Colours collection, coupled with the high quality of the products, will stimulate consumer excitement and we are confident that it will also deliver further growth for the Leisure brand and the category. “While consumers like to consider and research their range cooker purchase, once the decision is made they want it delivered as soon as possible. We have made sure that delivery of the Leisure Colours range can be fulfilled as quickly as the existing Leisure collection, ensuring customers will have their new range cooker in time, whatever the occasion.” Les Wicks, Head of Product and Buying at Beko Plc


iRobot® Roomba® 600 Series vacuum cleaners Vacuums on its own at the touch of a button, picking up dirt, hair and debris iAdapt™ Responsive Cleaning Technology ensures that all iRobot’s floorcare robots clean thoroughly, including in places that are hard to reach. This system of software and sensors allows Roomba to analyze its environment throughout the cleaning cycle, continuously responding with intelligent decisions in order to overcome obstacles and to cover the entire floor in multiple passes. Features: • Patented 3-stage cleaning system uses spinning side brush, counter-rotating brushes and AeroVac Technology to effectively and automatically clean the room • Appliance returns to its Home Base™ to dock and recharge between cleanings • Virtual Wall® Technology keeps Roomba in the rooms you want to clean and out of the ones you don’t (Model 630 and higher) • Onboard scheduling allows Roomba to be preset to clean up to seven times a week (Models 650 and 660)

Baumatic MegaChef Series ovens The MegaChef Series of ovens from Baumatic is a super energy-efficient new cooking line that maximises the potential of cooking enthusiasts and novices alike. MegaChef ovens make intelligent cooking technology an affordable possibility for every home. Headlining the new range is the B630MC 60cm oven, which boasts 10 programmes, including a pyrolytic self-cleaning function. Each appliance in the MegaChef Series provides a generous net capacity of 65 litres, numerous programmes, a 5-year labour and parts warranty, and all have been designed to use 10% less energy than standard A-rated models – “A” being the highest energy efficiency level available for ovens. Email: | Twitter: @Baumaticworld

• Dirt Detect™ Technology uses an acoustic sensor to recognise dirtier areas so Roomba will spend more time cleaning them • Cleans up to 1,200 square feet per battery charge • Cliff sensors automatically avoid stairs and other drop offs • Anti-tangle Technology extracts Roomba from tassels and cords • Comes with additional filters and cleaning tools to maintain the robot (varies by model) Updates to Roomba 600 Series from previous generations: • AeroVac™ Technology optimizes airflow so bin fills evenly and needs emptying less often • Improved brush design and optimized airflow removes more hair from brushes, providing more thorough cleaning and reducing maintenance • New styling with a splash of color Phone: 01483 536633 Email:






Digital cameras, e-readers, music players, audiodocks, radios, tablets, phones.... Which devices are holding their own in the market, and what are gadget-lovers likely to favour this Christmas?

Who’s eating whose lunch? W


hen Currys and PC World predicted their Top 10 bestselling Christmas tech gifts for 2012 in July this year, tablets and e-readers topped the list, with Apple, Kindle and Google “battling it out” for the number one spot. This is the third year running that the iPad has been top of the Christmas bestseller list at the two stores, and this year both are forecasting that the newly released Kindle Fire tablet will also be a bestseller by Christmas. GfK’s Martine Tolmay, senior account manager, IT, says that tablets have produced 215% volume growth and 179% value growth year on year for the last 12 months. Growth in the sub-£200 price bracket and falling prices of the more established models fuelled a 5% decline in average selling price, “but with some highly publicised sub-£200 launches and imminent Operating System launches on the cards,” she believes that the outlook for the run up to Christmas is strong. If Currys/PC World’s predictions for the Kindle Fire tablet come to be, the device will ride the crest of the wave alongside the Kindle e-reader, which is holding the number two spot for the second consecutive year, this time with the Touch device. Last year the stores recorded a 700% increase in sales of Kindles during the Christmas shopping period, with a device sold every three seconds in the week before the big day.

High-end growth


Sweet music?

There has been a paradigm shift in the nature of the tech gadget market and in the devices that topped consumers’ wishlists just a decade ago. Amongst the then favourites were DVD players, CD/Clock radios, PDAs, mini camcorders, digital photo printers and 26” & 30” widescreen TVs – yes, not flatscreen, but widescreen (Seems like a lifetime ago!) – and the most desired product was the pocket-sized digital camera, a member of one of the categories that has fallen victim to the smartphone, which continues to cannibalise the digital camera market as phones with higher resolution inbuilt cameras proliferate. Tellingly, just one digital camera made it onto the Currys/PC World list, scraping in at number 10.

Competition between MP3/MP4 players and phones is also intensifying, and the portable audio devices market “continues to have problems,” says GfK. In the first half of 2012, European sales fell by 17%, “attributable to the strong competition from mobile phones and above all smartphones, which make it unnecessary for many consumers to own MP3 and MP4 players.” The analyst notes that, in addition, there are currently “no observable technical innovations,” but it is possible that customers will return if they require devices for use in specific areas such as sport. In the market for classic portable audio devices, such as radios, clock radios, radio


GfK points out that phones recently launched in the European market often boast well over 10 megapixels and are therefore fully up to the standard of normal cameras. And in order to deal with the lack of optical zoom, the accessory industry is now offering changeable lenses which make it possible to improve the camera function too. The analyst also notes “a unique selling point for smartphones compared with the majority of digital cameras” being the facility to upload still and moving images from anywhere onto social networks. Although the digital camera market throughout Europe is in decline, the high value end is experiencing positive development. GfK’s European figures show that overall sales of cameras with interchangeable lenses increased by around 3% (January to June), with June registering a year-on-year improvement of 28%. Demand for compact system cameras rose by 50% in the period, and classic single lens reflex cameras registered the highest sales for interchangeable lens devices, up by 87%. Lenses also benefited from this development, with sales rising 8.8%. Affordable compact cameras are the “big losers,” according to GfK, “because anyone who owns a smartphone with a good camera seemingly no longer requires an additional lowcost digital camera.”

recorders, as well as the new segment of docking speakers, the picture is brighter. Growth has been strong for docking devices that play music from smartphones, tablets and MP3/MP4 players, and along with the general expansion of Digital Audio Broadcast, a good performance in DAB Car Audio products has been recorded. GfK comments that the uplift in DAB is in line with the continuous growth in portable radios, which in the UK rose 2% in volume and 4% in value compared to last year.

Listen to this... The headphones sector is “booming”, according to the industry, and the desire to own decent quality units should continue to grow further, comments Gareth Thomas, business manager at Otone Audio. “Everything has a headphone jack,” he says, “and as expectations for richer sound quality increase, consumers are becoming more critical of the headphones that come free with many devices. As a response to this they are willing to invest more money in upgrading.” GfK figures show UK headphones sales up 22% in volume for the year to July 2012 and 37% in the three-month festive period from November to January. Value increased by 39% and 67% respectively.

Accessories Amongst the gadget accessories making an impact on the market are mobile phone cases, which sold over 5 million units in the year to July 2012, according to GfK’s Megan Baldock, Account Director, Telco. She puts the advance in numbers down to increased penetration of the smartphone and owners purchasing cases to protect their devices “especially as most are now, on average, tied into 2-year contracts.” Commenting on the recent launch of the iPhone 5, Lynnette Prigmore, Head of Product at accessories manufacturer Proporta, says: “At 7.6mm thin, weighing 112 grams and made from glass and aluminium, this is definitely going to be an iPhone in need of protection.” But she adds that consumers are also keen to personalise their phones, which gives another boost to accessory sales.





he focal point fires sector of MDA has weathered the economic downturn considerably well, in spite of its dependency on a buoyant housing market. In fact, part of the category’s recent success may even be attributable to the wretched financial and administrative mess, as home improvements have become a new pastime for the many Britons who have had to shelve plans to move house. Evidence shows sections of the UK public taking on structural renovations to create larger and more airy living spaces, whilst others opt for a less demanding form of remodelling, with sweeping changes in décor giving them a new sense of pride in their homes.


Heating is in its prime in the winter period and with focal point fires breathing new life into UK homes, can retailers afford to ignore a category that brings warmth to the body and soul and continues to defy this seemingly endless economic gloom? And there is plenty of inspiration for those taking on home improvement projects of any kind, from lifestyle magazine articles to TV home makeover programmes, all of which make it look oh so easy and many of which show the instant and dramatic change that can be made to a room by installing a focal point fire.

Hot appeal Focal point fires are every bit as much about nostalgia, the perception of warmth and the light and character they bring to a room as they are about heating it, and many appliances are installed for aesthetic purposes only, which even then is beneficial, according to Jonathan Smith, fires marketing manager at Dimplex, who maintains that they add appeal for prospective buyers. Smith remarks that it is the top end of the fires market which is performing well for Dimplex, driven by the popularity of the brand’s Opti-myst smoke and flame effect. Electric stoves, he says, are selling well on the back of the continuing trend for solid fuel stoves “as homeowners can get the look without the hassle,” and in inset fires, designs with a modern feel continue to be popular with chrome finishes a fashionable choice. Dimplex marketing director Chris Stammers adds that there is a noticeable division in the market between consumers who favour a modern wall-mounted fire and those who favour the more traditional inset designs. “It tends to be the younger end of the market, usually living in a smaller home, possibly an 34


apartment, with less space for a classic fireplace and probably with a more minimalist decor that opts for a wall-mounted design,” he comments. Slim, wall-mounted models have brought an extra dimension to the fires market, as even the smallest of rooms can now benefit from the added feel of luxury a focal point fire delivers. However, as Stammers points out: “Sales across both markets remain resilient.”

Portable Heating Fires sister category, Portable Heating, has always been at the mercy of the vagaries of the British weather, and this year has shown its greatest lift in year-on-year sales during the months of April to July when uncharacteristically cold and wet conditions were recorded. According to GfK, April alone gained 89% in volume and 128% in value. The sector is very much now in a more compelling position, as the double whammy of rising fuel bills and the continuing effects of economic turbulence reinforce consumers’ natural propensity for frugality, and central heating is being used more sparingly and not without consideration. Dimplex’s Smith comments that people are turning down the central heating to save on fuel bills, but the main room occupied (usually the living room) still needs to be at a comfortable temperature, so an electric fire or portable heater will keep this cosy while the rest of the home is that bit cooler. He adds that Government figures show the total volume of gas used in 2011 actually

dropped for the first time in some years. And while this in part reflects more efficient boilers, ongoing insulation programmes and last year’s mild winter, consumers are definitely looking closely at how they control their energy usage. “But this doesn’t appear to have adversely affected sales,” he says. “Although consumers are definitely looking for evidence of cheaper running costs, if a homeowner wants a heater or fire for a conservatory, for example, they might choose a lower output model, use it less often or turn down the thermostat but, ultimately, they still need to buy the product.”

Don’t get left out in the cold Electric heating generally sells well in cold weather as top up or emergency heating, and although last year was on average exceptionally mild, Stammers says that temperatures only need to drop to 8 or 10ºC to prompt a noticeable increase in sales. Reflecting on last winter, he notes: “There seemed to be a trend for consumers to really get their house in order when it comes to heating. Memories of the prior two extremely cold winters lingered, and this continues to be a factor. With the Met Office predicting consistently longer, colder winters, there’s a feeling that making do with outdated appliances and hoping the bad weather won’t last too long is simply too big a risk.” He adds that it’s likely that consumers will have planned, researched and selected their choice of product online before arriving at the retail outlet and will be more prepared to haggle over the deal that they get. “However, although online sales seem to dominate in many sectors, this doesn’t seem to be true of fires, where people still like to see before they buy, and independents and high street outlets still have this opportunity to connect with customers.”

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Get Connected Magazine - October 2012  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry

Get Connected Magazine - October 2012  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry