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INDUSTRY MOVERS As we look ahead to what we hope will be a continued economic recovery, GC reports the views of some of the “movers” in our industry

BUILT-IN APPLIANCES A roundup of the year for this flourishing MDA sector

GEORGE COLE TV past… TV future

GUEST COLUMN Jill Pinner, chairman and founder of marketing organisation Fizz

FROM THE BENCH Remember the Mullard?

BACKCHAT GC spends 2-minutes in Christmas past Visit gcmagazine.co.uk for the latest

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

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Editorial Comment The Word

In and around the industry

Guest Column

Jill Pinner, chairman and founder of marketing organisation Fizz, says it’s possible to refine your marketing activity and calculate the ROI it can achieve

The Product Gallery The Future is in Your Hands…

The electrical industry’s “movers” reflect on the progress made during 2014 and outline their plans for 2015

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20 24 25 26

Built-in Appliances

GC looks at which built-in product categories and technologies have triumphed in 2014

George Cole Gets Connected

Goodbye plasma. Hello OLED?

From the Bench

Alan Bennett revisits the workshop test equipment of olden days


A 2-minute interview with a not so festive fellow



Editorial Comment

Comment This is the time of year when we want to enjoy a few days’ respite from the hard grind of doing business in difficult circumstances, to embrace the warm glow of seasonal goodwill, perhaps indulge in a few hard-earned luxuries, and search for some tidings of comfort and joy that will help us look forward to the new year with optimism. For many electrical retailers and suppliers, it’s also the crucial time when they hope their hard work and commitment throughout the year will be rewarded with some solid, profitable seasonal sales.


he tidings are not unalloyed comfort and joy. The Autumn Statement perhaps offers a glimmer that business rates are at least on the Government agenda, and that what has been started could carry some momentum for further measures to ease the heavy burden. And pre-Christmas sales have not been bad: that import from the US, Black Friday, delivered £810 million in retail sales, say analysts – as well, regrettably, as some in-store punch-ups and other disgraceful behaviour from shoppers made violent and greedy by their avidity for a “bargain.” The revenue is welcome, but these are not the kinds of scenes we want to see in our retail outlets. So much for increasing consumer “sophistication.” And what happened to goodwill to all men? The following weekday – named Cyber Monday in acknowledgement of its importance as a massive online retail day – added another £720 million. But the raw retail sales figures mean little unless they deliver decent margins and acceptable profits. And the world economy – so important to what is a global business – is still struggling. When an economy the size of Japan’s goes into recession, we all need to worry. It’s a mixed bag, and we are not yet out of the woods, but the team at Get



Connected would like to extend to you all a sincere wish that you will enjoy a profitable, peaceful and relaxing Christmas. We’d also like to thank all our readers for continuing to look to Get Connected as a primary source for news, interest and information during 2014. In particular, thanks for your trust in the Get Connected website, relaunched in January as the most up-to-date, comprehensive source of daily news in the business. You have contributed to a fourteen-fold increase in monthly visits in 2014. An outstanding success by any standards. Finally, please extend your goodwill a little further to include our “interview” with the 21st-century Scrooge on page 26 of this issue. We gave retailers free rein to have a tilt at the old supplier/ retailer relationship myth, and they were not backward in supplying ideas for the interview answers. They were all, however, adamant that this was a chance to have some fun rather than to be cuttingly malicious. Most of them agree that it’s not like that any more, and that in a world where it’s “united we stand,” most suppliers are really quite good to do business with. As Tiny Tim, warmed by Scrooge’s coals, happy with his father’s pay rise, and full of Scrooge’s turkey, was heard to say: “God bless us, every one.”

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Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

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The Word : Industry News



Industry News Business leaders welcome Osborne’s pledge for business rates review C

hancellor George Osborne’s announcement of a structural review of business rates in December’s Autumn Statement was widely welcomed by business and retail leaders. In his last Autumn Statement before the general election, the Chancellor also capped the inflation-linked increase in business rates at 2% and doubled business rates relief for a further year. In addition to these measures, the discount introduced last year to help high street shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants is to be increased by 50%, to £1,500. The British Property Federation (BPF) commended the Chancellor for assenting to a structural review of the business rates system. Chief Executive Liz Peace said: “For the sake of business competiveness and Government efficiency the business rates system needs to change. We need a system that is more responsive, both to changes in the economy and to the relative position different businesses find themselves in. “Basing a property tax on nine-year-old valuations is simply unfair and inefficient, and other countries have shown that with the use of technology you can design a far more responsive system. The compounding effect of annual

RPI increases is also meaning that a higher proportion of taxation each year is coming from business rates, sucking the blood from our high streets and eroding many other businesses’ competitive edge. “Undertaking a root and branch review of the system is a big decision which many

We want a system that brings investment and jobs to the high street without punishing retailers who trade online.” politicians have shied away from, and it makes today’s announcement particularly welcome. We hope it is noholds-barred and will deliver something fit for the 21st century, and one that benefits all sectors of the economy. We look forward to making a positive contribution on that basis.” Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: “We very much welcome the commitment to undertake a comprehensive review of


the business rates system. We want a system that brings investment and jobs to the high street without punishing retailers who trade online. The retail industry is the largest rates payer, contributing over a quarter of the total rates tax take. Today’s short-term support package will be of enormous help to those struggling to keep their businesses open on the high street. John Allan, FSB National Chairman, said: “This urgent review of the business rate system is critical to supporting small businesses. The current system is out of date and needs to be put out to grass. It’s complicated, opaque, regressive and unresponsive to changes in economic conditions. Many of our members tell us paying business rates is their third biggest cost after rent and wages, yet the tax is poorly targeted and not based on ability to pay. “All businesses will be grateful for this review, but let’s be absolutely clear on what businesses want: fundamental reform of the business rate system. The announced package of renewed reliefs will also be essential, as they will help bridge the gap until fundamental reform can deliver the change everyone agrees must now come.”






eading organisations from across the UK electricals sector have signed up to work collaboratively towards changing the way electrical items are bought, used and disposed of, via a new initiative named the Electrical and Electronic Sustainability Action Plan (esap). The esap signatories include organisations representing 66% of the UK’s TV sales. esap will be led by WRAP, which will help organisations that design, manufacture, sell, repair, re-use and recycle electrical and electronic products to work collaboratively across the product lifecycle to reduce the environmental impact of products in ways that bring benefits to consumers and the industry. According to WRAP, signatories’ actions, which include implementing new business models such as takeback and resale, extending product durability and gaining greater value from reuse and recycling, could significantly boost the UK economy as well as help future-proof our resources. It is estimated that the UK market value for trading pre-owned equipment is worth up to £3 billion. Encouraging the trade-in of used TVs alone could grow GDP by over £750 million per year by 2020. With esap signatories representing two thirds of the UK’s TV sales, WRAP said this vision could become a reality. If the TV model were scaled up to the entire electronics sector, this could increase GDP by around £5.25 billion. WRAP is encouraging other organisations from the electricals sector to work with it on esap. Anyone interested in doing so should get in touch via eproducts@wrap.org.uk

For more information visit www.responsible-recycling.co.uk

For more information visit www.responsible-recycling.co.uk

REPIC Responsible Recycling is our new campaign to encourage greater consumer REPIC Responsible is ourrecycling... new campaign greater consumer participation in the Recycling world of WEEE visit toourencourage new website for full details! participation in the world of WEEE recycling... visit our new website for full details! 6


The Word : Industry News

CI(H) rewards its top suppliers At

the CI(H) Suppliers Lunch, held in London’s Dorchester hotel early December, two manufacturers were rewarded for their support of the buying group throughout 2014. The awards were announced by CI(H) Chairman Robin Millwood and presented by CEO Stuart Cook. The Supporter of the Independent for 2014 was presented to Smeg. Speaking about the company’s contribution to CI(H), Millwood said: “This company has always been a solid, if not spectacular, supplier to CI(H) and probably took a bit of a gamble with us by offering a range of SDA into the Euronics Agency. “Well the initial orders were overwhelming and the repeat orders also, and so much so that the supplier is struggling to keep up with demand and this is not for basic entry level, but good-quality premium models with a healthy margin for our agents.” The award for the Euronics Supplier of the Year 2014 was presented to the BSH Group, and although Millwood conceded that the organisation could at times be “complicated”, he also had this to say: “During the year, the sheer volume of promotions was exceptional and it [BSH] is certainly trying to keep the business flowing through, even if we all cannot keep up with the different variations of promotions, but at least with the latest cash back we as retailers do maintain our retail pricing. “The main driving force of not only maintaining turnover but increasing it is the great range of Agency products that we now have from

CIH Chairman Robin Millwood

this company, with the majority being exclusive, and we are looking forward to increasing this in 2015 across more platforms and all three brands.” Millwood also used the occasion to express the growing importance of “the ever-increasing range of our Agency products and especially the ones that are exclusive.” He said: “These are growing by the day and we are fully expecting those suppliers who are launching new ranges to include more exclusive models for us. However, in an ever-increasing difficult market, unless the equivalent general models are sensibly priced with margins to match, we will struggle to do the volumes necessary and to do them justice.” And speaking of margins, the Chairman said: “Last year I stated the obvious, that we all face challenges and we need a fair playing field to enable our members and agents to survive in an everincreasing world of low margins, which, at times, will not sustain a high street retailer. To be fair, some suppliers have looked at this and have come to us with various schemes, but I am not sure how many are long-term and will stay the distance.” Chatting to GC during the lunch, Stuart Cook reinforced Millwood’s concern. He remarked on the good year it had been for CI(H) in terms of turnover, “but it’s the margins that are a killer,” he asserted. The lunch event also provided the opportunity to present a gift to retra Chief Executive Bryan Lovewell, who retires in 2015.

UK shoppers to spend £1.5 billion more this Christmas D

ecember 2014 retail sales are forecast to rise by 4% year on year, with consumers predicted to spend over £1.5 billion more than during Christmas 2013. According to business advisory firm Deloitte, consumer spend will rise to £42.4 billion, with online sales up from 12% last December to 13% this year and accounting for 50% of the market growth. Click & collect is predicted to be almost double that of last year, at £2.5 billion, amounting to 45% of all online transactions. Deloitte said sales will be driven by growing consumer engagement with digital technology combined with a growing number of retailers adopting a multi-channel model. Some 40% of physical shop sales will be digitally influenced, meaning consumers will use some form of digital technology to inform or facilitate their purchase. “As investment in in-store digital technologies increases, such as mobile payments to facilitate faster, more convenient transactions and beacon technology to track shoppers in store and deliver personalised messages and promotions, so will the digital influence on the physical environment,” said Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte. “Just as physical retailers have benefited from the growth of click & collect, technology investment in-store will increase the number of shop visitors who buy and how much they spend, as well as help join the online and offline worlds.” John Pincott, Managing Director Europe for Shopaton, said: “Retailers must embrace the changing consumer demand for a multichannel experience by uniting their bricks & mortar with their online offering. This will enable savvy retailers to stand in good stead and make the biggest gains.” DECEMBER 2014 GET CONNECTED


The Word : Industry News


rade Electricals Direct, part of the Hughes Electrical Group, is offering a rental service that enables businesses to acquire electrical products without having to fund the entire cost before taking delivery. Trade Electricals Direct said the idea is aimed at helping firms improve their cash flow, and was inspired by the success it had in supplying electrical products to the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. “Between the Olympics and Commonwealth Games we delivered well over 5,000 items on a short-term rental, which suited the organisers and ourselves as we could resell or rent the returning items to our existing customer base, so it made sense to offer such deals to all companies and we have been delighted with the response,” said TED General Manager Paul Chisnall. “Virtually every product we sell can be rented. We have already installed TVs in holiday parks, commercial washing machines in care homes, dish and glass washers in pubs and microwaves in halls of residence. “We have also just supplied very large multiple speaker Wi-Fi sound systems that were used at either end of an inaugural flight by a major airline.” TED explained that customers choose the products they want and the period over which they wish to rent the goods, during which time they are fully covered against breakdown. Prices for TVs start at £7.50+VAT per month; £11.25+VAT for a cooker and £45+VAT for a commercial dish & glass washer. “We take the worry of anything going wrong away from the customer as we underwrite any repair costs, provided they are used reasonably,” said Chisnall. “Business rental is also 100% tax deductible, which is another big advantage for commercial organisations.”



RDO holds cookery event at new Reigate showroom A

day of cooking demonstrations hosted by AEG and partner cookery school Daylesford Organic at Reigate retailer RDO’s new showroom has been deemed a “huge success.” The demonstrations focused on the latest in AEG Steam and Induction technologies, with Daylesford’s Head Cookery School Tutor Steve Brown showing visitors the benefits of the technologies and how to cook an assortment of meals and treats, and providing many with hands-

on experience. AEG professionals were also on hand to answer visitors’ questions. Showroom Manager Tracy Milton said the feedback was “amazing.” She added: “We always enjoy hosting cooking events like these and we never have any food left over. We’re already getting requests from customers asking when we’re hosting our next event.” Following the day’s demonstrations, Daylesford ran a competition offering 2 tickets to the cookery school for a day.

AO first-half revenues rise 25% AO.World reported an “encouraging” first half to the year with overall Group revenue growth up 25.1% to £217.1 million in the period to 30th September 2014. Website sales at AO.com rose 38.6% over the reporting period, to £173.7 million. Adjusted EBITDA increased more than twofold, to £7.3 million, yielding an Adjusted EBITDA margin of 3.4%, up from 2.0% in the same period last year. Adjusted operating profit grew 134% to £5.5 million, while reported operating profit fell from £2.4 million to £0.9 million after setup costs of £3.3 million for the Group’s German operation and Long Term Incentive Plan costs of £1.3 million. CEO John Roberts said: “We remain confident of meeting full year expectations and are well positioned as we move into our peak trading period.”


See www.gcmagazine.co.uk for the stories behind the news  ESF finds consumer awareness key to product recall success

 Bluetooth 4.2 introduced  Contracts awarded for connected Freeview service  UK Hi-Fi brand Mitchell and Johnson launches crowdfunding campaign

 Clarity continues to expand membership 8


Black Friday helped deliver the biggest ever week for sales in John Lewis’s 150-year trading history. Overall sales rose 21.8% on last year, with online sales recording 42.2% year-on-year growth. The retailer delivered revenues of £179.1m, up 56.8% week on week, surpassing the previous sales record of £164.4m which was set during the week before Christmas last year. Electricals led with record-breaking weekly sales, up 40.9% year on year, driven largely by the hundreds of Black Friday offers available. There were significant increases across all categories

on the day, including Tablets and Computers (+127% year on year), Vision (+131% year on year) and Small Electricals (+66% year on year). The retailer said it sold one tablet every second throughout the day. One Samsung UE40H6400 TV was sold every minute, and one De’Longhi Prima Donna S coffee machine was sold every threeand-a-half minutes.

The Word : Industry News

retracare voices goal of becoming UK’s leading warranty provider for indies retracare said it is aiming to become the UK’s leading warranty provider for independent electrical retailers, as it strengthens its offering with a new web portal that has been in development for more than a year. retracare.co.uk provides customers with a system that has been finetuned following retailers’ feedback and testing by key retra members, and offers just two warranty products, Protect and Protect+ with accidental damage, to simplify the proposition, offering costs based on straightforward price banding. retracare said it is “revolutionising the warranty sales process and taking the burden out of FCA compliance.” “Our web portal now leads the way in warranty provision at point of sale for independent electrical retailers,” commented retracare general manager Matt Sheldrake. “The system is fully interactive and can export data from most Epos till software packages to streamline

the process down to just a couple of minutes. Compliance questions are part of the process and with our simplified product and pricing strategy there has never been an easier, more effective way to sell warranties.” The system is designed to seamlessly guide retail staff through the warranty sales and booking process, and is said to be speedy and efficient, delivering instant documentation of plans via print and direct emails to customers. New features include warranty sales reporting by staff member, online accounting, Direct Debit payments and co-branded documentation. The web portal front end joins Skyline, retracare’s automated repair booking system. Customers can use the system to register faulty goods through a variety of channels and will receive a reference number and call-back within an hour. retracare said the portal adds

to its armoury of retailer benefits, including lowest cost warranties, first-class end-to-end customer service and online sales training. “With the recent announcement that Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, will underwrite the accidental damage part of retracare warranties, retracare is heading into 2015 with the clear goal of becoming the UK’s leading warranty provider for

Matt Sheldrake independent electrical retailers,” the warranties provider said. www.retracare.co.uk

Assurant Solutions launches Connected Living Division Assurant Solutions is integrating its mobile and extended warranty programmes divisions to focus on delivering comprehensive protection for the connected home. The move brings together 1,700 employees under a single management team. Products and services under the Connected Living Division include mobile device insurance, extended protection programmes for home appliances and consumer electronics, technical support, repair and logistics, identity theft and data security solutions.

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The Word : Industry News





is again highlighting its success in the home appliance market with the announcement that more than 10 million refrigerators with its patented Inverter Linear Compressor have been sold worldwide since 2001, the year the company introduced the “world’s first” refrigerator powered by an Inverter Linear Compressor.

InSinkErator® features in award-winning sustainable home The resource-saving InSinkErator® steaming hot water tap has been chosen as a feature of a sustainable South Yorkshire and Humber home which spans 600m2 but costs less than a pound per month in fuel and electricity costs. The build was the winning home in the Best Sustainable Project category of the regional LABC Building Excellence Awards 2014 and is fitted with some of the best energy-saving devices and appliances on the market. The InSinkErator® H3300 steaming hot filtered water tap chosen for the house is amongst the most economical on the market, providing a competitively priced investment that offers prolonged savings and sustainability. “To create a home that achieves such a high level of efficiency has been incredibly rewarding, and for the time and effort to be recognised with a regional LABC Building Excellence award really is the icing on the cake,” commented Colin Goodwin, contractor and owner of the home. “The planning took many hours in researching available technology alone, and of everything chosen, the InSinkErator steaming hot water tap is probably the best appliance added to the house – not only is it efficient, but a real convenience as well.” 10


LG previously announced it had sold 20 million of its 6 Motion Direct Drive washing machines globally in the past five years and claimed an industry milestone with one appliance sold every 8 seconds. “LG has always strived to offer consumers the most advanced, highest performing appliances in the industry,” said Young-il Park, head of LG’s refrigerator business unit. “Our Inverter Linear Compressor is the result of our commitment to excellence and technological innovation and demonstrates LG’s desire to lead the global premium refrigerator market.”

 SHORTCUTS VARTA has donated almost £90,000 worth of batteries to a Christmas charity toy campaign for Key 103 Cash for Kids. The contribution of 100,000 VARTA batteries will help Key 103 Cash for Kids’ Mike and Chelsea’s Mission Christmas initiative to raise £1 million worth of toys to bring some cheer during the holiday season to disadvantaged children in the North West. A cycling-themed FAB28 fridge has raised £2,600 (nearly three times the usual cost of a FAB28) at a charity auction held at London’s Battersea Evolution. The appliance, donated by Smeg in support of its chosen charity, Action Medical Research, for auction at the children’s charity’s Champions of CycleSport Black Tie Dinner, was created by artist and keen cyclist Richard Mitchelson.

Kenwood and Scripps Networks UK & EMEA have launched a new entertainment and lifestyle television series entitled Kitchen Superheroes. The

LG’s £3 million ‘Discover OLED’ marketing campaign comprises TV, Outdoor, Digital and in-store activity and is running throughout the lead up to Christmas, promoting the visual richness of LG’s OLED television screens with content captured in Iceland. Supporting digital activity includes a microsite and social media action including a competition offering the chance to win a 55” EC930 Curved OLED TV. Hotpoint has teamed up with actress and TV chef Lisa Faulkner in a multi-million pound marketing campaign incorporating a number of components, including TV ads showcasing a combination of large and small Hotpoint products and a sponsorship deal with the Good Food Channel, which will run for 12 months. The brand has also partnered with the BBC Good Food Magazine and website in a partnership that will run through to February 2015.

Scott Bannatyne has been appointed Managing Director of JVC Europe Ltd and will combine the role with his current

show premiered on Food Network in the

position as Managing Director at Kenwood

UK in November and will be shown from

Electronics UK Ltd. Both companies are part

March 2015 across Europe, the Middle

of the JVCKENWOOD Group.

East and Africa. The 12-month deal also includes a digital platform with episode

A new promotion from Haier offers

highlights, participant auditions and recipe

consumers up to six free bottles of high-

demonstrations. Kitchen Superheroes Live,

quality wine from Laithwaite’s with the

an extension of the show, will take place in

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spring 2015.

to and including 15 January 2015.

The Word : Industry News

BSH “transforms” the kitchen experience BSH has unveiled new ranges of products under its Bosch, Siemens and Neff brands, which the Group says represents “the biggest jump forward in technology for a decade.” The collections are due to launch in March 2015 and are designed to “transform” the experience in the kitchen, make cooking more intuitive and cleaning up easier, with full touch-control screens and pyrolytic cleaning incorporated in oven collections and new dishwasher collections offering flexibility and advanced cleaning technology.

Bosch says its technology takes the guesswork out of cooking to ensure perfect results. New PerfectRoast features include a three-point temperature probe and patented Bosch 4D Hotair technology that evenly distributes heat across all levels of the oven for perfect batch baking and no intermingling of flavours. The new IC6 range includes an oxygen sensor that measures humidity and indicates when a bake is perfectly done. The new, intuitive Serie 8 control wheel is designed to make cooking easy, adjusting oven settings with a small turn of the stainless steel ring. The premium TFT-touch display guides users through menus and offers chefs’ tips, too. With Bosch Assist, users can select desired dishes, and the oven automatically recommends the ideal heating mode, shelf level, temperature and cooking time.

Siemens says that its customisable, state-of-the-art technology empowers consumers to best manage their cooking lifestyles, saving time and offering a wide spectrum of cooking options. In the brand’s ovens, a coolStart function cooks frozen food without the need to preheat the appliance, and steam can be added to the oven with the pulseSteam function. The new ovens enable consumers to reduce cooking times by up to 50%, and now offer steam and microwave cooking in one appliance.

The 2015 Neff range has been created to satisfy the desires and needs of ‘Cookaholics’. CircoTherm® is still a key benefit of the brand’s range, allowing users to cook, roast and bake completely different dishes on up to four levels without flavours intermingling. Variosteam replaces AquaAssist to offer a full steam cooking function and allows a combination of steam and conventional heat, ideal for creating a crispy outer case and moist interior for dishes. Neff dishwashers now contain Zeolith technology to ensure dishes emerge dry and streak-free every time. The ‘Chef70’ setting tackles even the dirtiest of dishes and pans, and users can gain full use of the dishwashing space with the flexible VarioFlex® Pro rack system. There’s more room for large plates in the bottom rack, more safety for glasses in the top rack, and more flexibility with the VarioDrawer Pro, which can be lowered, and the height-adjustable triple RackMatic®. All adjustable elements are marked clearly in red, making them easy to identify at a glance. BSH Home Appliances has appointed London-based Houston PR to manage the launch of the new 2015 appliance collections. NEFF_4c_ohneClaim_08.eps, 100m, 63y 29k



The Word : Industry News



Argos goes underground A

rgos has teamed up with Transport for London to launch its first Underground store. The new ‘Argos Collect’ at Cannon Street Tube station has been designed to give customers convenient access to 20,000 products as they travel around the transport network. It covers only 650 sq ft in total with a sales floor of 170 sq ft.

John Walden, Chief Executive of Argos’ parent company Home Retail Group, said: “Our new Argos Collect format at the Cannon Street Underground station will complement our other Argos digital store trials, including converted traditional Argos stores, small format digital stores, and concessions in select Homebase stores; nearly 50 in total in place for Christmas.”

Miele wins National German Sustainability Award


iele has received one of Europe’s most worthy sustainability prizes for its ongoing sustainable corporate policies. The Gütersloh-based domestic appliance manufacturer won the award in the ‘large companies’ category. The jury honoured in particular the company’s extensive

sustainability strategy and the longevity of its products. Miele Executive Directors Dr Markus Miele and Dr Reinhard Zinkann accepted the award from North Rhine-Westphalia’s Environmental Minister Johannes Remmel at a ceremony in Düsseldorf.

Ofcom hands 700 MHz band over to mobile providers


fcom has given clearance for the 700 MHz frequency band used for digital terrestrial TV services to be made available for mobile broadband services. The regulator said the move will allow mobile networks to provide better performance at a lower cost. “Consumers and businesses should get faster and cheaper mobile data services, while viewers can continue to enjoy the free-to-view TV services they value without another switchover.” The change of use of the 700 MHz band will, however, come at some cost. Ofcom said it is likely to result in DTT infrastructure modification costs of £420m – £470m. There will also be additional costs for the programme making and special events (PMSE) sector.

The total cost of the move is estimated at £550m – £660m. Ofcom’s objective is to make the changes by the beginning of 2022, and possibly up to two years earlier. Demand for mobile data could be 45 times higher by 2030 than it is today, it said. For the vast majority of viewers, the regulator said the proposed re-plan will only involve a simple retuning of their TVs or set-top boxes at the time of frequency changes. For up to 0.5% of households using DTT, it will also involve replacing their rooftop aerial. A small proportion of DTT viewers might be affected by interference from mobile handsets and base stations in the 700 MHz band. “Our technical analysis to date indicates that the vast majority of cases could be solved by installing a DTT receiver filter,” Ofcom added.



Homebase sells Battersea freehold and commences store closures A

rgos parent Home Retail Group has announced that its Homebase chain has exchanged contracts for the sale of its freehold store located in Battersea, London. The property has been sold for a cash consideration of £57 million to a residential property developer. Home Retail Group also said that 12


Homebase expects to close around 25 stores in its 2015 financial year. The Group previously announced its intention to shut around 25% of its Homebase stores, which amounts to around 80 closures, by the end of FY18. The aforementioned c.25 closures represent the start of this process.

hil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First, has voiced the organisation’s disappointment that its proposed amendment regarding product recalls was not incorporated into the Consumer Rights Bill, which concluded its Report Stage in the House of Lords in November. Business Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe did, however, announce that the government will set up an independent review of the product recall system, which is expected to report back within 12 months, and Buckle welcomed this. Commenting on the Bill, he said: “The Consumer Rights Bill is the most radical shake up of consumer legislation to take place in three decades. We were disappointed that our proposed amendment – which ‘closed the gap’ between faults that manufacturers and suppliers of electrical goods know about and what consumers are aware of – has not been incorporated into the Bill. However, we are delighted that our concerns have been noted and that a review of the product recall system will now take place.” The amendment proposed by Electrical Safety First was designed to increase transparency, by requiring manufacturers, retailers and distributors to provide specific details such as the number of people affected by a recalled item either through injury or damage to property. It also called for detailed information regarding a recalled item to be displayed on the websites of the relevant government department and enforcement agencies.

Guest Column – Jill Pinner

Measuring the success of

experiential activity Marketing has historically been an essential but often frustratingly unquantifiable means of promoting and maintaining brands in the marketplace. But with more understanding of how consumers behave, plus more sophisticated technology and measuring techniques, it’s possible to refine your marketing activity and calculate the Return On Investment (ROI) it can achieve. Jill Pinner, chairman and founder of marketing organisation Fizz, explains


en years ago, for most marketers, their core remit was focused on simply getting the brand out there and raising awareness by handing out samples and promotional vouchers, or pulling off stunts that got people talking. Today, strategy has got far more sophisticated and targeted with the aim of creating memorable experiences for consumers and giving them the chance to really interact with a brand. In essence experiential, as part of an integrated communications strategy, can be a tangible way to build and deepen customer relationships. However, due to the nature of experiential marketing, tracking and measuring the success of campaigns is often a difficult challenge beyond the day. Recent research cited that 79% of marketers claimed their ability to measure and demonstrate experiential ROI represented a key obstacle to successfully deploying experiential for their brands. For example, more often than not the focus when it comes to ROI is viewed solely in terms of how well the campaign did on the day - how much did the brand sell versus the cost of the campaign. This should by no means be the case.


Experiential engagement provides a brand with an opportunity to interact with customers in a substantive and meaningful way, and how they measure experiential marketing should depend entirely on the objectives of the campaign: is it about generating sales or is it about building the brand? It could be one or the other, or even both. Marketers should consider both hard and soft ROI. Hard ROI delivers a monetary return while soft ROI is a positive uplift in the consumer’s connection with the brand, such as overcoming objections or concerns through face-to-face communications. This also takes into account brand metrics, such as loyalty, affinity and future purchase consideration.


Yet to be truly successful, brands must also use experiential marketing to achieve One of the key strengths of experiential long-term loyalty among customers activity when done well is the ability to who, once engaged, become not only change consumer behaviour, particularly committed customers and advocates, in the electrical retail sector where many but maintain that status over the long products might be a ‘more considered’ term. After all, word of mouth is one of purchase. Think a vacuum or a new the most powerful forms of marketing, TV – items that might not be purchased there and then. Therefore, by only with developments in digital technology assessing whether a purchase and the rise in smartphone ownership was made on the day the ROI further igniting the use of brand will fail to take into account advocates and word of mouth the potential lifetime from social shoppers. “...Accordingly, social As a result, experiential value of that changed engagement – the campaigns should always be behaviour as a result of integrated with social media an in-store experience. number of Facebook likes, activity. Social media can For example, armed with or re-tweets and overall track everything from brand greater understanding web impressions – are key mentions to hashtag usage of a product and brand, consumers may reconsider and it’s a great way to see drivers for measurement their choices and embark who’s saying what about your and reporting.” on deeper research before brand and business. Accordingly, eventual purchase at a later social engagement – the number of date. This might result in the Facebook likes, or re-tweets and overall campaign being deemed unsuccessful web impressions – are key drivers for when in actual fact, over a period of measurement and reporting. months, the changed behaviour of consumers might well return a fantastic WORK WITH YOUR RETAILERS ROI in sales, not to mention greater Similarly, brands should also ensure they word-of-mouth through newly won brand work closely with their retail partners for advocates! Blendtec for example, claims access to greater sales data, such as on a quarter of their purchases are made non-demonstration days when brand following in-store demonstrations, and ambassadors might not be around. By whether the purchase is that day or six doing this, marketers are able to measure months later, the retailer strongly believes the effectiveness of experiential activity that live demonstrations are able to while understanding how it can be better display the value of the brand: there is a deployed – for example, at a certain time better way to live healthy and happy. of the week. In conclusion, there is no doubt that experiential marketing has become an MANAGING AND MEASURING essential ingredient of the marketing mix. In essence, experiential marketing helps to The activity engages with consumers in move people through the purchase funnel. one of the most effective ways possible – In some cases consumers are moved face to face. When it comes to assessing from awareness to purchase in a single the ROI of the campaign, brands must interaction. Research by the Advertising ensure they are clear on the objective of Research Foundation (ARF) highlighted the campaign: was it to increase sales, or the link between high levels of consumer brand awareness, or both? Only then can engagement at experiences, rapid impact brands accurately measure the success of on consideration and the carry-through the campaign. to sales.



The Product Gallery


Gallery Beko introduces new look, largecapacity washing machines Beko is extending its laundry range with the addition of two new largecapacity models – WMG11464 (11KG) and WMG10454 (10KG) – with contemporary lines that contribute to a premium look. Both appliances are A+++ rated and sport modern LCD displays and extra-large portholes. The 11KG WMG11464 (pictured) incorporates the durable ProSmart Drive Motor, which promises improved energy efficiency and lower noise levels, and a SteamTherapy™ programme that uses intensive steam to refresh clothes, eliminating odours and removing creases. j

01923 818 121 | www.beko.co.uk

Parasound launches ZoneMaster Model 1250 amplifier Stoves and Belling add new 90cm gas models to range cooker collections Glen Dimplex Home Appliances has introduced a number of new 90cm gas range cookers into its Stoves Richmond and Sterling and Belling Classic and DB4 collections, offering greater flexibility for those who want the benefits of a gas range cooker with a large 5-burner gas hob, but at a more compact size. All have a conventional gas oven, tall fanned electric oven and variable gas grill. j

The new ZoneMaster Model 1250 from Parasound offers connections for 24 speakers allowing the use of two speakers per channel. It is rated at 12x50W into 8 ohms and 12x90W into 4 ohms. Each channel pair can be bridged to deliver 6x160W into 8 ohms and 6x200W into 4 ohms, all channels driven. The unit features independent line inputs and level controls for each channel, two Bus inputs with looping outputs, plus a speaker-level input that can be routed to any zone. It also has independent 12-volt and audio triggers with looping trigger outputs for each zone and a global 12-volt trigger. j


www.stoves.co.uk www.belling.co.uk

Affordable all-in-one sound system from Goodmans Goodmans Base is a complete one-box, six-speaker, plug & play audio system with Dirac HD sound and a full range of connections for TV and audio setups. The 100W 4.2 channel system also offers Bluetooth connectivity and NFC Tap & Pair. j




The Product Gallery

Need a PA in the kitchen? Try Tefal’s Cook4me Edifier® expands Studio speaker range Edifier® has expanded its Studio range of speakers with addition of the R1700BT and R2000DB. The R2000DB (pictured) delivers powerful audio for PC, gaming consoles or mini home theatre applications. Audio devices or consoles can be connected to the unit using the RCA-RCA or RCA-AUX audio cables. Optical, Bluetooth and dual RCA inputs are included for connectivity to multiple audio sources. j



The latest edition to Tefal’s range of small appliances is an intelligent multi-cooker with 50 preprogrammed recipes and an intuitive, interactive LED display that guides users through each recipe. Tefal says the appliance is “similar to having your very own personal assistant in the kitchen.” It cooks a broad range of dishes with no need for supervision and keeps food warm for up to 90 minutes after cooking. It can also be pre-programmed up to 15 hours in advance. j

01753 834900 | www.tefal.co.uk

Buckingham breakfast range from Russell Hobbs Russell Hobbs’ new Buckingham breakfast range incorporates a kettle with a rapid boil function that boils a cup of water in just 45 seconds and is claimed to be 75% quieter in use; a coffee machine with 24-hour programmable timer and auto-clean feature, and 2- and 4-slice toasters that toast bread 55% quicker than the norm. All appliances are finished in brushed stainless steel and have a blue light-ring that illuminates on operation. j



iBits by Peerless-AV As part of its family of AV cables, PeerlessAV has announced iBits, a range of cables specifically aimed at smartphone, tablet and mobile device users. Catering for both iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Android smartphones and tablets (Samsung, Sony, HTC etc.) all iBits cables feature precision-engineered metal connectors, high quality oxygen-free copper conductors and a signature green cable jacket that is as durable as it is striking.

iBits offers the most popular mobile connectivity solutions - Charge & Sync, Connect & Listen and Connect & Watch, in 1.2m lengths for use on the go and 3m lengths for use at home. iBits is exclusively available from BBG Distribution Ltd. Unit 3 Watford Interchange, Colonial Way, Watford, Herts WD24 4WP.

T: 01923 205 610 F: 01923 205 611 E: sales@bbg.eu.com W: www.bbg.eu.com



Industry Movers

THE FUTURE This time last year our industry ‘movers’ had been through a tough year, but were upbeat about the prospects for 2014. And rightly so. This year has seen growth in all three main categories of electrical retailing, according to GfK.


mall domestic appliances, which proved to be a recession-free sector, has continued to thrive, with year-on-year growth of 7.5% to October 2014 and a market value of £3 billion. Major domestic appliances benefited greatly from the influence of built-in (see pages 20 to 23 for an end-of-year roundup of this sector of MDA), with overall year-on-year growth rising 4.4% and a market value of £3.9 billion. And consumer

electronics, although still offering wafer-thin margins for retailers, put in the best performance we’ve seen in a long time, bouncing back to growth with a significant 12.6% uplift and a year-on-year market value of £5.7 billion to October 2014. Overall, this is a robust performance in a year in which other areas of retail struggled. Pressure on the supermarkets from discounters wreaked havoc

on the ‘big four’, forcing prices down and revenues to fall, and the vagarious British weather brought anxiety for clothing and footwear retailers. But the public entered 2014 with renewed confidence, and sales of big-ticket items benefitted. As we look forward to 2015, GC Magazine asked some of the ‘industry movers’ who are part of shaping the future of electricals to give their views on the year past and that to come.

NEW YEAR, NEW SHOWROOM, NEW INNOVATIONS “Everyone is positive about the coming years and months,” says Simon Freear, Country Manager for Amica in the UK and Ireland


are really looking forward to 2015 here at Amica. We have been working very hard during the last twelve months to drive momentum for the brand. Our retailers are set to benefit from innovations in terms of product and service and for the first time we have a dedicated Amica built-in and freestanding showroom in the UK. “Due to open its doors shortly after Christmas, the showroom is designed for interested retailers and consumers to visit and interact with the product as much as showing the breadth and diversity of the brand. “Amica has achieved significant growth throughout Europe during this year and the UK and Irish business has made a major 16


contribution to Group growth. The response to products at IFA, in fact at all our trade shows during the year, has been very positive, with commitments from new retailers and strong interest in innovations like AmicaIn, which we are bringing to market next year. “No matter who we speak to: other manufacturers, retailers and distributors, everyone is positive about the coming years and months. Interest rates remain low, the cost of living is being kept down by supermarket price wars on staple foods and fuel, and although wages are not improving tangibly, the consumer is starting to feel that investing in their homes is a justifiable thing to do again.

“Our retailers are doing well with Amica across all freestanding and built-in categories, which tells us it’s not just emergency buys driving sales and that consumers are parting with their savings and trading up.”

01425 461600 www.amica-international.co.uk

Industry Movers

GOOD CONNECTIONS… Connect Sales Director Martin Depper and his team are excited about the future


his year Connect celebrates 45 years in business. From our very early days as Electrue we’ve always been focused on the challenges of ‘After-sales service’ and the supply and distribution of all those allimportant spare parts! “We have built up the largest and most comprehensive ranges of spares and invested heavily in data information and availability which, in our opinion, is the key to success in this industry. Our team of over 600 staff are not only working to make sure today’s parts are readily available, they’re also working on those parts you may be asked for or require tomorrow.

“Our CONNECTions software facility leads the way and is constantly being updated. CONNECTions provides options such as ‘direct delivery’ and offers an extensive ‘search’ and ‘finder’ facilities so our customers can quickly and efficiently service their customer requirements for parts, accessories, small domestic appliances and floorcare. “As for the future, we are all excited about it… We are working closely with many OEMs and developing improved systems so service really can come first!”

0844 557 3700 www.connect-distribution.co.uk

A POSITIVE YEAR RESULTS IN INCREASED MARKET SHARE “...this time next year we will be looking back at another positive year for the white goods sector,” says Jonathan Casley, Managing Director, Glen Dimplex Home Appliances


was a positive year for the white goods industry, with consumer confidence increasing and some sectors experiencing more prominent growth and innovation. “While trading conditions were still tough in some sectors, for GDHA 2014 was not a year to rest on our laurels. Our expansion in the hoods and accessories sector was welcomed by retailers keen to display full suites of co-ordinated products and showcase unique and stunning products such as our Stainless Shimmer Glass Splashback. “We continued to build on our already strong relationships with retailers, offering exclusive products for the independent channel and investing in training and marketing support – something which has translated into increased market share, specifically in range cooking and the built-in

sector where we expect to have outperformed the market. “Made in Britain has continued to be an important message for our business, providing retailers in the UK with a very strong sales tool and, of course, continuing to help us boost international sales. “Looking ahead to 2015, as an industry, we should be under no illusions that we are out of the woods yet. The freestanding sector in particular has continued to decline in 2014 and that is not expected to change in the next 12 months. But, with high levels of investment in new product development and by working together, I am confident that this time next year we will be looking back at another positive year for the white goods sector.”

0844 815 3735 www.gdha.org.uk DECEMBER 2014 GET CONNECTED


Industry Movers

OPENING UP OPPORTUNITIES FOR RETAILERS Graham North, Commercial Director, Humax: “The PVR market is on the up!”


has been an exciting time for the home entertainment market, with the development of new products and services that are feeding the growing demand from consumers for high quality content in the home. “Humax has continued to innovate and lead this market, expanding its portfolio to ensure our retail partners can showcase a wide range of products to their customers that deliver the features they want. “For example, the Humax Freesat HB-1000S introduced a competitively priced set-top box for Freesat Freetime, opening up opportunities for retailers with more costconscious customers. Our YouView DTR-T2000 continued to perform well, supported with high praise from industry experts, including a What Hi-Fi Award for the best settop box in 2014.

“This year, Humax also expanded beyond set-top boxes into the audio market, with its revolutionary Soundbar range offering the world’s slimmest Soundbar. Dedicated POS and training for our independent retailers has ensured a successful entry to this category. “2014 has been a success for Humax, with market share increasing across all our models within the PVR sector, both in value and volume, and the latest GfK stats showing us clearly as the market leader for set-top boxes. “As we move into 2015, the PVR market looks set for further positive growth, driven by a new wave of pioneering home entertainment products that are at the cutting-edge of technology. “Humax will be at the forefront of these developments, with exciting opportunities such as the new Freeview Connected platform that

are set to energise the set-top box market both for retailers and consumers.”

0208 326 6000 www.humaxdigital.com/uk

SHAKING UP THE MARKET Retracare is on track to become a leading player in electrical warranties, asserts General Manager Matt Sheldrake


etracare is all set to shake up the electrical warranty market in 2015. Since the closure of Retra Insurance Services (RIS) and the formation of Retracare as an independent subsidiary of Retra, the organisation’s warranty business has become a strong commercial focus. New warranty products, new systems, strategic partnerships and more efficient ways of doing business have seen Retracare go from strength to strength, growing over 300% through 2014 alone. “The past two years have focused on maximising the benefits of Retracare products for retailers and consumers alike, and installing cutting-edge back-office systems that deliver a seamless end-to-end warranty process. “Retracare has partnered with the UK’s biggest insurance company, Aviva, to provide



warranty products with accidental damage cover, and its Skyline claims and repair booking system gives customers a reference number immediately and call-back within the hour. “In addition, the new Retracare retailer portal is now live. This harvests data from Epos till systems, leads sales staff through compliance questioning and delivers co-branded plan documentation, email and print, in a matter of minutes. With a raft of exciting announcements scheduled for 2015, Retracare is well on track to become a leading player in electrical warranties.” For more information please contact North Divisional Manager Ian Macdonald – 07860 431792; South Divisional Manager Mark Veysey – 07973 445973.

Industry Movers

AIMING FOR NO.1 Emmanuel Couppey, Marketing Manager Linencare, Groupe SEB UK Ltd, promises to revolutionise the steam generator market


roupe SEB with its two power brands, Tefal and Rowenta, is the world leader in Linen Care. “We are growing very fast in the UK and it is our aim to assume the No.1 spot in 2015. “How will we achieve this goal? Innovation! “Innovation is not just a word we use idly at Groupe SEB. It is our DNA. We constantly keep an eye on the latest technologies and the latest consumer expectations in Linen Care and imagine new solutions, products and services that will take the hassle out of ironing and deliver exceptional results.

“A perfect example of this strategy was the launch this year of two all-new Freemove iron models FV9965 and FV9970 – high technology, cordless irons which deliver complete freedom of movement without compromising on results. “Next year we have ambitious plans to revolutionise the steam generator market. As the original market pioneer, Tefal will launch a new range of steam generators with unparalleled features and performance levels. Tefal will further launch major upgrades to its class-leading irons. “Finally, we will create a whole new market category, which will

bring real consumer benefits and generate incremental retail sales. “For us, the future in Linen Care is now.” For sales enquiries and sales support material please contact Tefal on 01753 834900 or visit www.tefal.co.uk







Centrifuge, citrus press, purée/smoothie function, VITATEC®.

More nutrients due to press and centrifuge system.

Maximum extraction of fruit pulp.

No drips.


code to watch. 19 GET CONNECTED

Built-in Appliances

A stylish lineup of Smeg’s Linea ovens

Dining rooms have disappeared, garages have been converted, walls have come down, living areas have merged, and banks and islands have replaced the traditional kitchen layout in terms of aspiration. Built-in appliances? Bring them on!


saw the housing market recover and a more confident consumer willing to spend on big-ticket purchases. Hence, the built-in market flourished and, according to GfK, the success of the cooking sector trickled across to other product areas, with builtin dishwashers, refrigeration and washing machines all recording a year-on-year rise. In this final built-in roundup of the year, GC asks which product categories and technologies have triumphed, and more importantly, why?



Foreword Courtesy of Baumatic Marketing Director Owain Harrison “After several years of flat growth and challenging conditions, market intelligence from both Nationwide and GFK NOP indicates that consumers are once again regaining their confidence (a 9-year high in August 2014). It is refreshing to see that new house sales were up 14% July to September 2014 versus 2013. If a way can be found to offer appropriate lending for affordable housing to allow people to enter the market, then kitchen refurbishment normally tends to follow as people move up the property ladder. “The latest AMDEA data for October 2014 indicates that the built-in market is certainly moving in the right direction, with percentage increases across most categories within cooking, cooling, dishwashing and laundry. Bearing in mind that the replacement market is currently

still greater than that of first installations, there is still plenty of room for growth as the property market continues to see positive results, which can only be good news for the industry going forward. “Great design, advanced technologies, larger capacities and energy efficiency are the four key developments in the built-in market today. There are clear reasons for this: Firstly people are often not just having a new, dream kitchen fitted, but are undertaking building projects to extend or expand to create open-plan cooking and entertaining spaces, and this is making a difference to the design of the appliances they want – they need to look good, as they will be constantly on show. “Secondly, the resurgent trend for cooking and entertaining at home is also making a difference to the type of appliances required, as people want to be more experimental with their cooking, so more aspirational appliances with intelligent technologies are consequently becoming very on-trend. Meanwhile, as people are entertaining more at home, they are seeking appliances with larger capacities, such as 70-litre single ovens, side-by-side cooling and 14 place-setting dishwashers. Furthermore, because energy bills are always a concern, people are seeking out appliances that are also energy, water and noise efficient.”

Built-in Appliances

BUILT-IN IS FLOURISHING Harrison quotes AMDEA figures (October 2014) that show:  The overall market for built-in ovens is up by 10.9%  The overall market for hobs is up by 9.8% year-on-year with percentage increases in most subcategories. Sales for electric ceramic hobs (including induction) are up by 13.7% and sales for hobs sized 60cm and over are up by 21.4%, while sales for 60cm and under in this category are up by 9.2% year on year.  There is negative growth in most cooker hood categories, apart from chimney and island hoods, which show a 5.3% increase year on year.  Built-in fridge freezers are up by 12.3%, of which frost free cooling is up by 9% year on year.  The overall market for built-in dishwashers is up by 10.1%, with full size 60cm machines up by 6.9% and slimline 45cm versions up by 4.5% year on year.  The market for built-in laundry is up 11.6% year on year. Sales of built-in washing machines are up 10% while sales of built-in washer dryers are up by 14.5%. One of the new gas-onglass hobs by Candy


Watching a property show on television shortly before writing this feature, I was struck by what was at the top of a young first-time buyer’s wish list. The number of bedrooms – no; a large reception room – no; upstairs bathroom with shower – no; good sized garden – no; off-street parking – no... This modern-day Miss was basing the purchase of her first home on it having a breakfast bar, or, in today’s more refined kitchen-speak, a peninsula. Faced with the proposition of a well built, “period” home (Excuse me, Ms TV presenter, but aren’t all properties of a “period”??) of three-up two-down configuration – a bonus third

bedroom given the modest budget – in her desired location, close to friends, university and good local amenities, a kitchen that didn’t have a “breakfast bar” nor had room to install one, was a huge sticking point. The house, in every other respect, was perfect for her needs. The next step was to call in a builder to examine the potential and the costs involved in removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room to install the desired item, after which it was pointed out that this was going to be a very expensive breakfast bar as a four-figure sum of money would need to be found. But the young student was undeterred.

“An increas e in open-plan living areas will continue to drive the development of more aesthetically pleasing and interesting options in the future.” Salah Sun, built-in cooking product manager at Beko

Even though her budget wouldn’t stretch to the kitchen/diner revamp, said revamp was a ‘must’ and would have to be carried out. To manufacturers of kitchens and appliances; to retailers, TV programme producers and editors of lifestyle magazines – Hallelujah! The angels are singing. Your influence is positively catholic, in the all-embracing sense of the word. Few have escaped the fantasy of the dream kitchen, and millions have turned that flight of fancy into reality.


The peninsula and the island are coveted items for today’s kitchen environment, feeding the concept of ‘theatre’ and, in the case of the island unit, providing extra workspace and room for additional appliances such as a wine cellar. Then there is the penchant for streamlined banks of co-ordinating appliances with DECEMBER 2014 GET CONNECTED


Built-in Appliances

“Consumers are looking for reliable, convenient, and easy to use built-in appliances that save time and offer value for money.” Maurizio Severgnini, Managing Director Built-in Division, Hoover Candy UK

desirable extras such as built-in coffee machines and warming drawers. Even the humble pie-warmer (a regrettable handle for such a useful appliance) has a place in the built-in set. Oh yes – built-in is cool, it’s sexy, it’s chic. It nods towards discernment and demonstrates panache. Richard Walker, Head of Category for Built-in at GDHA, believes there is no doubt that built-in appliances have become more aspirational. He puts this down to changes in the traditional kitchen layout, which he says provides consumers with the opportunity to create a design-led kitchen system and a space featuring “stunning” built-in products. “This has translated into consistent sales and growth for the built-in market over the last few years and, in fact, in every month for the last year, sales have been significantly higher than the same month of the previous year. “With the exception of solid plate hobs and static ovens, all product segments of built-in cooking are growing, but it is fair to say that the fastest areas of growth relate to value-added products such as induction, gas-on-glass and multifunction ovens, as consumers look for benefits and extra functions and features.” Whirlpool’s Neil Austin, Trade Marketing Manager, UK and Ireland, suggests that induction is becoming a worthy aspirant in the hobs sector as sales are producing “real” growth. “Consumers are beginning to appreciate the tremendous efficiency,

Dishwashers behind doors: Caple’s Di628 built-in model 22


speed, controllability and economy offered by such appliances,” he opines. “Gas has remained the traditional consumer choice for many years, adding a certain flamboyance for the self-professed cook; however, as consumers become increasingly aware of energy efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives, induction is mounting a strong challenge.” The sentiment is echoed by Electrolux’s Robbie Prestedge, Product Manager for Built-in Appliances, who asserts that this creditable opponent, after three years of strong growth, now accounts for a third of electric hob sales. “The last year has seen induction grow 17.3% ahead of total electric hobs,” he offers.


According to GfK, the momentum behind integrated products is due to consumers refitting existing kitchens and a rejuvenated housing market boosting demand. Built-in single ovens continue to drive sales, up 15% versus last year, with consumers also willing to trade up and invest in premium technology. The industry analyst maintains that pyrolytic ovens have fuelled value growth over the past few years, and are continuing to prove popular despite an average price tag of £535. The “ultimate” cleaning system is pyrolytic, says Whirlpool’s Austin. “With time a challenge in every household, few of us are prepared to spend it cleaning an oven and sales are proving this point.”

“Although pyrolytic ovens have been produced for a considerable amount of time, they haven’t been accessible for most people because of the high price point, so this could seem like fairly new technology to most customers,” comments Joan Fraser, product training and development manager at Smeg UK. “At Smeg we’ve worked hard to make this type of oven accessible across the range, enabling customers to choose an oven that cleans itself at a price they can afford. Opting for a self-cleaning pyrolytic oven takes away the effort and time associated with a manual clean, making it easier to keep the oven in pristine condition.”


2014 also appears to have been a breakthrough year for steam ovens, which Fraser maintains are “set to take the kitchen by storm” next year. “Although they have been lingering in the wings for a while, customers are showing high levels of interest in these products and the level of awareness has grown. Apart from offering the well-known benefits of healthy, nutritious, tasty and colourful food, steam ovens have more versatility than most people imagine. “Fish and vegetables are fantastic when cooked in the steam oven, but it is also possible to cook perfect rice, pasta and pulses, as well as curries and soups. And you can even boil, poach and scramble eggs, and sterilise babies’ bottles in it too.” Electrolux’s Prestedge notes that volume sales of steam ovens have grown by a “phenomenal” 240% over the last three years, with 43% growth in the last year. But despite his belief that steam

Whirlpool’s ART 872 built-in fridge freezer

Built-in Appliances

cooking is the easiest way to get great results, and considering it a “must-have accessory,” he concedes that, at c.8k units, the market is still “niche”, accounting for just 1.5% of single oven volumes. “Steam may be a small sector of the market but this is growing rapidly, especially with the 45cm compact as a great second option to the main oven,” contends Smeg’s Fraser. “This has become a perfect choice for the user who enjoys cooking regularly and loves entertaining as it will provide more cooking space and versatility. Initially, growth started at the top end, but prices have become more accessible to cater for the mass market as more brands and products enter the market.”


The availability of steam ovens in the compact format Fraser refers to has helped to bring such appliances to consumers’ attention, particularly with the range of products now under consideration in the built-in kitchen. Whirlpool’s Austin notes that, in spite of the demand for ovens with large capacities suitable for home entertaining, compact appliances are becoming increasingly popular. “There is a wide range of intelligent combination cooking appliances available in the compact format. The high quality cooking performance you expect from a traditional oven at the speed of a microwave is very attractive and this has certainly inspired kitchen designers and consumers alike. The compact format has caught everyone’s eye; packing greater functionality and convenience into a smaller space is very attractive to consumers.” With open-plan design continuing to dominate the layout of many new builds and the size of properties becoming smaller, particularly in the kitchen area, Austin believes that the popularity of compact appliances is likely to continue into the future due to their stylish appearance and space-saving capabilities.


Cooker hoods are a slightly grey area in the otherwise bright land of built-in. Baumatic’s Harrison points out that there is negative growth in most categories, apart from chimney and island hoods, which have achieved an increase of 5.3% year on year. “This figure highlights the trend for overhead extraction, which is aligned with the fashion for island units being built within kitchens and entertaining spaces,” he comments. “Because consumers are less likely to replace or upgrade their cooker hood in the same way as an oven or hob, the market for cooker hoods is particularly reliant on first installations over replacements.” While growth in other areas of cooker hoods may be stagnant, one brand that claims to be bucking the trend is

The Double Vertigo ‘statement’ hood from BEST

Caple, which maintains that ceiling and downdraft hood sales are on the up, and continuing to rise, although sales director Danny Lay acknowledges that stainless steel or glass-styled chimney hoods continue to lead the way for the brand. “These days, cooker hoods have become fashion statements. Black glass provides a sleek finish and design features vary from sharp angular lines to soft curved shapes so there’s a cooker hood for everyone and every kitchen.”

“With the rise in the number of keen cooks, consumers are looking for advanced appliances that offer flexibility and functionality.” Stuart Benson, National Sales Manager, Gorenje UK

“A cooker hood can complete the look of a kitchen and is now a key component to consider in the design process,” says Salah Sun, built-in cooking product manager at Beko. “Available in a range of colours and shapes, with different lighting solutions, consumers can make a real style statement or alternatively choose a model that will contribute to a chic and minimalist design. An increase in openplan living areas will continue to drive the development of more aesthetically pleasing and interesting options in the future.”


GfK’s assertion that the success of the cooking sector has trickled across to other built-in product areas, with dishwashers, refrigeration and washing machines all recording a year-on-year rise, is supported by manufacturers. In the cooling sector,

Whirlpool’s Austin remarks on a “greater appreciation” of appliances that integrate seamlessly and blend into open-plan living areas, while Caple’s Danny Lay observes increasing demand for professional drinks cabinets in the home. “Ranges have been extended to offer the user a great variety of appliance choices, from freestanding to built-in and in-column versions with single, dual and triple temperature zones, which all provide the perfect platform for showcasing a wine collection,” he says. Commenting on the laundry sector, Lay asserts that Caple no longer sells freestanding models. “The demand is far greater for integrated home laundry appliances in line with the latest trend for minimalist open-plan kitchen design. These models can be hidden neatly behind closed doors to provide a more streamlined finish. Large load washing machine sales are on the increase as the user can cut down on the number of loads they need to do, which saves time, cuts running costs and is energy efficient, too.” Baumatic’s Harrison notes that the market for freestanding laundry has shown little movement, “but the same cannot be said for built-in,” he says, adding that sales of built-in washing machines and washer dryers are both in double-digit growth (as per the aforementioned AMDEA figures). Electrolux’s Prestedge concludes this roundup on the built-in technologies and categories that have triumphed in 2014 with comment on the market for dishwashers: “Despite the positive feel to the category, freestanding was down while built-in continued to grow. The built-in market is more biased towards full size dishwashers, at more than 80% of volume, but slimline has grown at a faster rate and now takes a 17.7% share of the category. 87% of full size dishwashers are fully integrated, and this trend is stable year on year.” DECEMBER 2014 GET CONNECTED


George Cole


George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics





ot so long ago, I reported on a Blu-ray disc designed for Ultra High Definition (UHD) images, with new discs offering up to 100GB capacity, or twice the capacity of the largest Bluray discs on the market today. Well, scientists at the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia have developed discs that dwarf Blu-ray’s capacity. The new technology enables a 12cm disc to store 1000 terabytes of data. A terabyte is 1000GB, so you can see how mind bogglingly large the new discs are. To put it into context, that’s enough storage capacity for around 50,000 HD movies. Blu-ray players use blue lasers with a diameter of 405 nanometres (nm). The smaller the diameter, the more finely focused the laser becomes, allowing more data to be packed onto a disc. However, the laws of physics mean that it’s not possible to develop lasers with diameters smaller than 400nm. The Swinburne team get around this problem by using two lasers: a round-shaped recording beam and a large doughnut-shaped antirecording beam. When the two lasers work in conjunction, the anti-recording beam blocks out most of the recording beam, leaving just a 9nm point of light. The scientists have also extended disc life by replacing the recording dye normally used on recordable discs, with graphene, an ultra-thin form of carbon. But the team admit there are still challenges, such as improving the speed at which data can be written to, and read from, a disc. Bigger challenges are developing the technology so that it is commercially viable. With enough money, you can develop lots of great technology; the trick is making it cheap enough for the mass market.


When the two lasers work in conjunction, the anti-recording beam blocks out most of the recording beam, leaving just a 9nm point of light.“


By the time you read this, LG will have pulled out of plasma TV production; the third company in a year to do so (the others are Panasonic and Samsung). For some time, consumers looking for a flat screen TV had to choose between plasma and LCD, and for quite a few years the two TV technologies happily co-existed. But it was always going to be an uphill struggle for plasma. Fans of plasma TV pointed to the improved colour and contrast offered by the technology, and the lower cost of the larger screen sizes when compared with LCD. But the fact was that, while LCD offered a wide range of screen sizes, plasma only came into its own above 40 inches. And many more manufacturers offered LCD sets than plasma, with the result that consumers had a much wider choice of LCD products. There was also more

investment in LCD, which saw the development of even thinner LCD screens and LED displays. The market research company NPD DisplaySearch forecasts that global plasma TV sales will fall from 5.2 million units in 2013 to around 500,000 in 2015. But as plasma joins CRT in the technological scrapheap, the question is: what technology will eventually do the same to LCD?


on’t expect OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) displays to replace LCD TV technology for some time yet. That’s the message from Samsung, which has no plans to launch new OLED TVs in 2015. OLED promises so much – thinner displays and no need for a backlight. But manufacturers are still struggling with the low yield and relatively short lifetime offered by OLED. That’s why OLED TVs have been so thin on the ground and why large screen OLED sets are still a pipedream. Samsung plans to focus on another technology designed to bring OLEDlike features (such as brighter displays and lower power consumption) to LCD TVs. The technology, called quantum dot (QD), uses tiny semiconductor particles, which are placed in a film that sits between a blue LED backlight and the LCD screen. The quantum dots can be finely tuned to emit a specific colour by varying their size. The resulting colours are richer and brighter than those obtained from conventional LED backlights. Big things are expected for QD – DisplaySearch says 1.95 million QD sets will be shipped next year, rising to 25.5 million by 2020. Unless there’s a dramatic development in OLED production, this technology will remain so tantalisingly close to becoming a mass market proposition.


From The Bench

Neon screwdriver Alan Bennett looks at the workshop test equipment of olden days


ast Christmas I described some of the accessories available in times past. Now let’s look inside the back room of the shop, the province of the service and repair engineer, an essential adjunct to the retail operation in those days. So far from the PC and specialized software and apps we use today, the tackle then was simple and quite crude...


Ubiquitous was the neon screwdriver, containing in its handle a neon discharge tube and a current-limiting resistor. It simply showed the presence of a voltage (usually mains) at any point it was touched to; the brighter the glow the greater the voltage present. With the valve operated equipment (primarily TVs) of the day it was a super-quick diagnostic tool for pinpointing discontinuities in heater chains and HT supply circuits, typically mains droppers (large wire-wound resistors) and open-circuit valve heaters, expired rectifiers and the like. I’ve still got one. Even more crude, and used in very early times, was the calibrated spark gap. Picture tubes need very high beam-accelerating (EHT) potentials, and this operating voltage could be gauged by connecting the instrument – if you can call it that – from chassis to the voltage source. It consisted of an insulated glass tube with two metal balls inside, one fixed and one on the end of a screw thread. This was wound towards the other until a spark was struck, then screwed back until the spark extinguished, when the voltage could be read off from a scale printed on the glass tube. Wow – spectacular and dangerous, to the equipment and the operator.

various types of rejuvenator, also capable of measuring the strength of the electron beam, the ‘goodness’ of the tube. The treatment consisted of increasing the heater voltage then tearing up the cathode’s surface coating by applying a positive voltage to the control grid, normally held at a negative potential. Tube jackers generally had two or more rejuvenation levels, the highest of which was a desperation measure indeed! Results were unpredictable: sometimes a useful extra lease of life could be had, perhaps up to two years; sometimes the tube was completely wrecked by the process! Some jackers also offered a repair process by which a spark could be drawn from the cathode, blowing clear any short-circuit or leakage due to conductive particles there. No repair workshop was complete without a tube jacker, but the risks involved had to be made clear to the customer at the outset. To replace clapped-out tubes regunned ones were available at prices well below those of new ones, and generally worked well. Old TV and radio sets used valves, glass tubes with a heated cathode and one or more other electrodes. Their failure gave rise to many and various symptoms on sound and vision, and valve replacement was a quick fix – so long as the fault was due to a valve, and you had an idea which one was responsible. Valve testers were useful diagnostic tools, then, and perhaps the best example was the Mullard instrument. It had 15 different valve sockets on top and a small cathode ray tube display to provide a little spot of green light whose position on a red-orange-green printed scale indicated the valve’s condition. Each valve type was catered for by its own perforated paxolin card, fed into a slot at the rear. This governed the movement of an array of sprung contact pins, activated by pulling down a lever, a bit like that of a one-armed bandit gaming machine. People would bring into the shop the entire valve complement of their radio or TV set for testing and take them back home with any necessary replacements.

Tube jackers generally had two or more rejuvenation levels, the highest of which was a desperation measure indeed!”


Glass picture tubes depend on electron emission from heated cathodes; after prolonged operation the emission can fall off due to wear or ‘poisoning’ of their oxide surfaces. To the rescue came

Remember the Mullard?

The fun started when they fed them back into the wrong sockets in their equipment! Some unscrupulous dealers used to twiddle their testers to give false low readings and thus bump up their valve sales – how low can you sink?


The tuned circuits in the receiver section of early TV sets consisted of a bunch of screened coils with threaded ferrite cores, and their adjustment, a fiddly business, required a sweep frequency generator, often called a wobbulator. Its display was a bit like that of an oscilloscope, but its horizontal scale measured frequency rather than time. We had one, a huge and heavy device, which actually had an electric motor to whizz round an airspaced capacitor like the vaned tuning capacitor of an old radio. You could hear it running in the next room! Crystaloscillator markers showed the position of crucial frequencies like the sound and vision carriers, and the alignment of the tuning cores was quite a skilled job, vital for good detail and contrast in the picture and avoidance of on-screen interference and sound buzz. Some TV owners would twiddle them, very often cracking them in the process: this was expensive and timeconsuming for a technician to repair.


All these gadgets and the skills associated with them are now long lost except to the happy band of people who still restore and service old receivers. Even so, there will be many older readers of Get Connected for whom I may have rung some bells this Christmas! DECEMBER 2014 GET CONNECTED





Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry? In the early days there was profit to be made for everyone. I was probably much nicer then, but hard times call for hard measures Who in the industry would you like to spend time with? Amazon, Ali Baba…. Anyone who can shift my boxes in volume What makes you laugh? Retailers giving me advice: and, even funnier, telling me what they’ll do to me if I don’t take it What was the greatest turning point in your life? When the Ghost of Christmas Past visited me, and instead of listening to him like old Ebenezer did, I told him to clear off Hobbies? Counting my money What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told? “There’s as much in this deal for you as there is for me” What historic figure do you identify with? Ebenezer Scrooge before he went all soft and started buying people turkeys and giving staff pay rises How would you describe yourself? A shrewd business man How do you think others see you? Can’t do better than Dickens’ own description of Scrooge: “A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire.” I’m deeply misunderstood 26


Pet hate? People who blame ME when THEY can’t make a living Any bad habits? I sometimes catch myself sympathizing with other people’s point of view. But I do try to keep that in check. Bad for business

the Supplier.

You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day. What would be the first change you would make? Everyone would have to change all their electricals every 2 years. The Appliance Police would have full enforcement powers Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change? Nope Any hidden talents? I can, when required, do a brilliant impression of someone who gives a monkey’s What would you put into Room 101? Whingeing retailers Favourite quote? Bah, humbug! What’s the best kind of punishment…. Wafer-thin margins …and who deserves it? Anyone who can’t afford to buy in big enough bulk What’s your greatest fear? Corporate restructuring. Those accountants can be utterly ruthless What motto do you live by? If your customer is happy with his margin, you’ve made a mistake Life is… … a rat-race. Keep up or give up.

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Get Connected Magazine - December 2014  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Goods Industry. The sharpest, freshest, most relevant and commercially aware electrical trade...

Get Connected Magazine - December 2014  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Goods Industry. The sharpest, freshest, most relevant and commercially aware electrical trade...