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MARCH 2014


A breath of fresh air Let SEBO take the hard work out of housework

CUSTOM INSTALL An opportunity for electrical retailers to access a source of joined-up profits

SEBO vacuum cleaners help make cleaning easy. Light to push, with comfortable handles and long cables, using them is a breeze. High technology filtration ensures that all the dust they capture is safely trapped inside, protecting against harmful allergens, as well as keeping the home clean. Some models even filter out odour, which is great if there are pets. As the world leader in professional upright vacuum cleaners, SEBO knows how to make reliable, high performance machines. Made in Germany, they are built to last, so you can sell them with confidence, which makes a refreshing change these days.

DESIGNER PRODUCTS The democratisation of great design is transforming the UK electrical market

GUEST COLUMN Andy Mackay, LG UK Commercial Director – Consumer Electronics, on the massive developments in TV

THE BRITISH EMRAS Be a part of the Electrical Manufacturing and Retailing Awards 2014 Gala Night at Twickenham Stadium on May 15th

SEBO – the vacuum cleaner professionals For a chance to win a SEBO vacuum cleaner, enter our monthly draw at:

01494 465533


Join us at Twickenham Stadium for pitch-side drinks, followed by a night of celebration, entertainment and networking at the British Electrical Manufacturing & Retailing Awards 2014 on 15th May. Black tie event.

To discuss sponsorship opportunities and table bookings contact: Brian Shilling 01892 677741 Sharon Maslen 01892 677742


Contents 04 06 16



Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33

Creative Director: Will Dobson

16 18

Magazine Advertising Sales: Brian Shilling Telephone: 01892 677 741

Advertisement Production Administration: Will Dobson Telephone: 01342 850 456

Sharon Maslen Telephone: 01892 677 742

Subscriptions & Circulation: (GCCD) Telephone: 01420 886 33

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

Production and Print: Blackmore Press, Shaftesbury, Dorset

20 23

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

24 © Copyright 2014 Mud Hut Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. Mud Hut Publishing Ltd. Greyfriar Cottage, Winchester Road, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire. GU34 1SB

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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., Greyfriar Cottage, Winchester Road, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire GU34 1SB.

Editorial Comment The Word

In and around the industry

The British EMRAs

Be part of the industry’s celebration of excellence at Twickenham on May 15th

The Product Gallery Custom Install

George Cole examines the potential for retailers looking for fresh profit opportunities

Designer Products

Great design is an aspiration that’s cascading down from premium to midand entry-level products. GC looks at the design revolution

Guest Column

Andy Mackay, LG UK Commercial Director – Consumer Electronics, looks at the exciting developments in the CE industry

George Cole Gets Connected

iPod, Dolby and Blu-ray: what’s the future for these iconic inventions?

From the Bench

Alan Bennett on sound in TV




3 Access to over 2 Million spares parts & accessories 3 Over 120,000 lines in stock ready for despatch 3 Over 40 years in the industry 3 Order online 24/7 3 Free next day delivery available 3 Direct delivery available Deliver any of our stocked items direct to your customers door

t: 0844 557 3700 MARCH 2014 GET CONNECTED


Editorial Comment

Comment After what has seemed like continuous hard rain and storm force winds since Christmas, and all the personal and commercial havoc they caused across the country, we’re finally getting some respite and – dare we say it? – some signs of Spring. The economy as well shows some tentative signs of recovery, if we can believe the statistics and the more upbeat views of the analysts..


may well be that consumers have finally become fed up with prudence and parsimony, and are spending their (somewhat diminished) incomes, and perhaps their accumulated savings, on things that make their lives feel better again. We welcome any evidence of growth, but it’s not yet time to celebrate a return to what was called “normal” before the recession. A “recovery” led by consumer spending alone has no substance behind it and cannot be sustained except by allowing debt to run riot again. The recovery in property prices, likewise, does have some characteristics at this stage of the kind of property bubble that will, sooner or later, burst again to leave us all splattered with its slimy residues. And the buoyancy of the financial markets means nothing, either. We have learned to our cost that the financial community takes no account of the “real” economy, and the smoke-andmirrors world in which “finance” operates is easily illustrated by the fact that, in defiance of the rules of the real world, bankers are still able to make massive losses but award themselves billions in bonuses. Let’s see if the “real” economy – where people actually make things, build things and sell things – responds favourably in the warmer air of this Spring. On a more confident note, we’d like to thank the industry for the 4


welcoming, positive reactions to the launch of GC’s new website at the beginning of this year. We’ve had some really encouraging comments from manufacturers, retailers and associated businesses. “This is a website for the 21st century,” said one retailer. A manufacturer commented: “A trade website that does what a trade website should do. It delivers up-to-date news every day, often hours and sometimes days before its competitors; it looks good, and it’s easy to navigate.” Thanks for your reactions. Please keep on telling us what you think – and if you have any criticisms or ideas for improvements, they will be welcomed. Thanks also to those industry players who have already committed to sponsoring the British EMRAs 2014. Their names have added weight to what we believe will be the industry standard for Awards into the future. Finally, thanks to all those manufacturers who took the time and trouble to enter their products, services and achievements in the EMRAs. It’s extremely gratifying to have received so many entries from leading companies who want to be recognised with an EMRA. Tables may still be available for the Gala Awards Night on May 15th at Twickenham Stadium (see pages 14, 15 of this magazine). We hope to see you there.

REGISTER ONLINE for your FREE COPY of Get Connected Magazine

Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

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

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The Word : Industry News



Industry News Shop vacancy rates fall in February


he Local Data Company released figures for February showing that shop vacancies in the UK fell to 13.6% compared to 14.1% in the same month last year. Some 2,700 towns and cities in the UK are included in the data. In town centres, overall vacancies fell by 0.5% to 12%, which is seen as evidence that local authority and Government initiatives have achieved some success.

Online sales drive February’s non-food growth UK retail sales slowed considerably in February after recording the highest growth (5.4%) in January 2014 since March 2010. The British Retail Consortium reported sales down 1.0% on a like-for-like basis from February 2013, when they had increased 2.7% on the prior year. On a total basis the figures rose 0.7%, against a 4.4% increase in the same month last year.

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail at KPMG, said the result “serves as a reminder that recovery is far from certain.” The 3-month average total growth was 2.8%, in line with the 12-month trend, which now stands at 2.7%. Online sales of non-food products grew 14.3% in February compared to the previous year, with the penetration rate reaching 17.5%.

AO “upsets suppliers” Some suppliers to AO are said to be “furious” after receiving letters from the online white goods retailer, asking about their terms with Currys PC World owner Dixons. It is understood that AO wrote to suppliers asking them to clarify Dixons’ terms compared to their own, to see whether Dixons was securing a better deal from suppliers. The move by AO,

sources say, was prompted by Dixons’ claims that it has “better relationships” with suppliers and as a result can offer products 3% cheaper than online-only competitors such as AO. AO’s attempt to get to the bottom of Dixons’ claims – and apparently to arrange meetings with any suppliers who admitted they were true – has not been an unqualified success. Some

suppliers said they would never discuss comparative terms with competing businesses, and that they were very angry at having been asked to do so by AO. AO is, according to its management, still planning to become the “biggest white goods business in Europe”, despite rumbles from investors and analysts that its recent £1.6 billion valuation is too high.

Analysts flummoxed by AO LSE debut Shares in AO World ( jumped as high as 44% above the offer price in conditional dealings prior to the company’s flotation on the London Stock Exchange on 3rd March, leaving analysts confounded and prompting some to compare the floatation to internet stocks in the dotcom boom of the early 2000s. AO World announced a share price of 285 pence in preparation for its flotation, giving it a market value of £1.2 million. Shares initially rose above 410 pence before easing back to 399 pence. It was the biggest first-day rise of any initial 6


public offering on the LSE since Royal Mail shares jumped 38% on their debut in October last year. AO founder John Roberts gained £86 million from selling part of his stake in the online electrical business and was left with a paper fortune of £480 million from his remaining 28.6% stake. The retailer said in February that it was aiming to raise £60 million from the floatation and will use the funds to grow its product range and evaluate European expansion opportunities, initially in Germany.

CE specialist Maplin up for sale Electronics retailer Maplin has been put up for sale with a price tag of up to £200 million, according to reports. The consumer electronics retailer, which has high street outlets, out-of-town stores, a mail order catalogue and an online presence, was bought by current owner Montagu Private Equity in 2004. Montagu is understood to have hired accountants PwC to handle the sale, which reportedly comes after a number of approaches from bidders interested in the 214-strong chain. Maplin recently invested £100,000 in a new 1,000 sq ft store at Glasgow Airport. It is the retailer’s first airport store and will be given an initial one year trial.

Retail welcomes vote on European payments market The British Retail Consortium has welcomed a landmark vote by MEPs in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee for a comprehensive overhaul of the European payments market, which will benefit consumers and small businesses. The Committee has imposed a maximum cap at 0.2% and 0.3% respectively for consumer debit and credit cards. MEPs also voted for the abolition of the ‘honour all cards rule’ which forces retailers to accept all cards irrespective of cost.

Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse in merger talks Currys PC World parent Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse have confirmed speculation that the two companies are in preliminary discussions regarding a possible merger. The companies said in a statement that the discussions were at a very early stage and there can be no certainty that a transaction will be forthcoming. They also said that no decision has been reached regarding the structuring of any merger. Both companies share prices rose on the news.

The Word : Industry News

FSB spreads news on Business Rates The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has given notice to its members of some “important information” on business rates: the Department for Communities and Local Government has published a Business Rates Information Letter (No. 5/2014), viewable now on the GOV.UK website, which details a facility to spread business rates payments over twelve instalments instead of the present ten. The facility takes effect immediately, and the FSB advises “if you wish to apply for extended time please make your application quickly.”

One million set to benefit from National Minimum Wage rise More than a million people will see their pay rise by as much as £355 a year when a rise in the National Minimum Wage takes effect in October, as Business Secretary Vince Cable has accepted in full the independent Low Pay Commission's recommendations for 2014. The Business Secretary also welcomed the LPC's assessment that 2014 will mark the start of a new phase of bigger increases, provided economic conditions continue to improve. The Low Pay Commission said the rise, the first real terms cash increase since 2008, is


manageable for employers and will support full employment. The National Minimum Wage rates from 1 October 2014, as recommended by the LPC, will be: • 19p (3%) increase in the adult rate (from £6.31 to £6.50 per hour); • 10p (2%) increase in the rate for 18-20 year olds (from £5.03 to £5.13 per hour) • 7p (2%) increase in the rate for 16-17 year olds (from £3.72 to £3.79 per hour) • 5p (2%) increase in the rate for apprentices (from £2.68 to £2.73 per hour)



Help retailers through business rates reform, say MPs The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has joined influential business figures in calling for a radical review of business rates which, says the Committee in a report, are no longer fit for purpose and stand in need of “fundamental reforms.” Business rates charged to retailers are currently based on the value of their shop, and one of the suggestions from the Committee is that a system of retail taxes based on the value of sales should be investigated. This could reduce the rates burden on smaller High Street retailers. Adrian Bailey, chairman of the Committee, indicated that a separate system of business taxation for the retail sector should be given serious consideration. “Among the many challenges they face,” he said, “business rates are the single biggest threat to the survival of retail businesses on the High Street. Since the system was created, the retail environment has changed beyond all recognition. A system of business taxation based on physical property is simply no longer appropriate in an increasingly online retail world.” The report follows former Tesco chief Sir Terry Leahy’s recent remarks that business rates were an “ancient tax… that hasn’t worked for years.” British Retail Consortium director general Helen Dickinson welcomed the report, which, she said “must be the final nail in the coffin of the question: do business rates need to be reformed? They do. Business thinks so. A committee of Parliament thinks so. We very much hope the government will think so too.”


Euronics launches UK recruitment drive Electricals buying and marketing group Euronics has instigated a new recruitment campaign, spearheaded by Geoff Woodman, a former field sales director at Indesit Company, who will be responsible for introducing new independent dealers to the group. Euronics UK Chief Executive Stuart Cook said: “In this very tough market, Euronics continues to invest in its members, both at local and national levels, and to survive in this fierce and

challenging market, there is no doubt that independents need to be in a buying group.” Cook added that “the doors of Euronics are open to independents who want to become part of Europe’s leading electrical buying group and benefit from the

range of services that are available to our members across the UK.” Euronics has 600 members in the UK operating around 1,100 shops. In Europe, 6,000 independent business owners, employing more than 50,000 staff, are part of Euronics International.

See for the stories behind the news…  BRC publishes business rates reform options  New study looks at the omni-channel opportunity for retailers  Convenience retailing drives record growth for station retailers  Android edges toward 70% as battle emerges between manufacturers  CAI Feature: Evolving Connectivity 2014 – a quantum leap

For For more information visit For For more more more information information information visit visit visit

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

The Word : Industry News


DEADLINE APPROACHES FOR NEW HEALTH & SAFETY POSTER Workplace equipment supplier Slingsby is warning that many businesses are currently unaware that new legislation on the display of an updated Health & Safety Law poster is fast approaching. From 5th April 2014, all workplaces will need to have the newly designed poster in place. A new pocket card has also been produced to replace the Health & Safety leaflets that must be circulated to off-site employees.

 SHORTCUTS Fisher & Paykel’s single

Electrolux has been ranked

DishDrawer™ has achieved a Best

Industry Leader Household Durables in

Buy endorsement from Which? for its

RobecoSAM’s Sustainability Yearbook for

superior cleaning and quiet operation.

the third consecutive year.

Smeg has received a Which? Best Buy

Distributor PJH

for its traditional TR93BL 90cm Victoria

over £3,000 for the Royal Manchester

range cooker.

Children’s Hospital Charity.

AEG’s HK654200FB induction hob and

Naim has confirmed that it will add

Zanussi’s ZGG66424XA gas hob have

Spotify Connect to its digital music

received Which? Best Buys.

players, bringing access to 20 million

Whirlpool’s Max 38 microwave oven

tracks to owners of the products via a

has received a Which? Best Buy and Great Value award for the best microwave with

Group has raised

firmware upgrade, available on Naim’s website from May.

grill under £150.

KNOWHOW PARTNERS WITH 123-REG TO OFFER DOMAIN AND WEBSITE SERVICES Knowhow, the support arm of Currys & PC World, has teamed up with 123-reg, the UK’s largest domain registrar, to offer domain and

website building packages to small businesses. The partnership is 123-reg’s first venture with a leading technology retailer

and its website building solutions are being offered under the Knowhow brand in 300 Currys PC World Business Centres.

Moves Britannia Living has announced the appointment of Matt Balm as national sales manager. Assurant Solutions has appointed Simon Hudson as UK Business Development Manager for its extended service contracts business. Indesit Company UK has announced the appointment of Piero Pracchi as Marketing Director for the UK and Ireland. Pracchi joined 8


the UK company in 2012 as Hotpoint Brand Director, having previously spent six years with Indesit Company in Italy. Caple’s Richard Wood (pictured) has been promoted to Service Director and appointed to the board of directors. Jason Patterson takes on Wood’s previous role of Customer Service Manager. Amica has appointed David Vincent as UK General Manager. He will work alongside Country Manager Simon Freear.


REPIC reaches out to public with Responsible Recycling campaign WEEE producer compliance scheme REPIC is launching a new consumer-facing recycling campaign for waste electrical and electronic equipment to encourage the depositing of end-of-life household electrical goods at dedicated local recycling centres. The campaign is fronted by animated characters ‘robot R3P1C’ and his battery sidekick ‘Amp’ to convey the WEEE story in uncomplicated terms, with added appeal for younger audiences. A dedicated microsite has been established at and REPIC is linking the campaign with its producer members, with the intention of bringing consumers to carefully consider how to dispose of their end-of-life electricals. The launch of the consumer campaign coincides with the introduction of the new Government Directive on WEEE collection and treatment in the UK.

EST CRACKDOWN ON MISLEADING ENERGY-SAVING CLAIMS The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is to mystery shop and test manufacturers’ products as part of a mission to eliminate misleading energy claims, after findings from EC funded research revealed that up to 20% of energy-using products are non-compliant with standards such as energy labelling. According to estimates, this is leading to around 10% of the potential energy savings stated being lost by millions of products across Europe, including ovens, fridges, washing machines, dishwashers, televisions and computers. The EST said it will be independently purchasing and testing products throughout Europe to verify the energy-saving claims made by manufacturers, to ensure consumers are getting the best deal through fully compliant goods that match their energy-saving claims in real-life situations. See the full story at

Sound & Vision Bristol “best show for 11 years” Organisers of the Sound & Vision Bristol Show, which took place from 21st to 23rd February, have said that the event exceeded their expectations. The Show had 178 exhibiting brands and recorded the second highest sales figures in its 27-year history. Trade Association Clarity judged the show awards for the second year. The Best of Show Awards went to: “Best Home Cinema Room”: Arcam of Cambridge / “Best Presented Room”: AudioQuest / “Best Sounding Hi-Fi Room”: Naim Audio / “Best Stand in Open Areas”: The Chord Company / “Most Innovative Room”: Monitor Audio Next year’s Sound & Vision Bristol will be held Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd February 2015.

design, colour and function for the home In the past 5 years, sales of premium food processors and mixers has risen by 21%, sales of hot beverage makers, mainly coffee machines, has increased by a massive 67% and overall the market for small kitchen appliances has risen 4.5% to a value of £580 million.** So, if you already sell small domestic appliances you’ll know they earn their shelf space. If you don’t, or you’d like to find more, why not visit Exclusively Housewares and take a look at what the leading SDA suppliers could add to your product offer?



Visitors to Exclusively Housewares are well-looked after. You will receive free refreshments, including lunch, during your visit to the show. Find out more at ** Source: Mintel - January 24th 2014

To secure your invitation to the UK’s premier housewares event please visit our website at or call 0121 237 1130

The Word : Industry News



Sony and Panasonic name “successor to Blu-ray” The next-generation storage disc, the so-called “successor to Blu-ray”, has been named by Sony and Panasonic – who signed a joint agreement to work on nextgeneration storage media in 2013 – as the Archival Disc. 300GB versions will be launched in 2015 as double-sided discs with three layers of data on each side. A current dual-layer Blu-ray disc can store up to 50GB of data. In a joint statement, Sony and Panasonic added that 500GB and 1TB versions will be rolled out over time.

The future of physical storage media has been questioned by some commentators, as digital and cloud storage solutions become more popular, but the two Japanese companies made a case for the continuing relevance and usefulness of physical discs: “Optical discs have excellent properties to protect themselves against the environment, such as dust-resistance and water-resistance, and can also withstand changes in temperature and humidity when stored.” It is likely that physical storage will continue to appeal to many consumers and companies, since it offers tangible, reassuring security as opposed to the convenient and highcapacity but, to some, less visibly and controllably “real” solutions offered by the Cloud. Fujifilm is reported to be developing a 1TB optical disc employing two-photon absorption technology. It is expected to be released in 2015.

Italy’s Indesit in search of partner; new production plant in sight for Turkey Italy’s Indesit Company is reported to be looking for a merger opportunity in order to support growth, and names such as Electrolux, Whirlpool and Arçelik are, according to Euromonitor International, possible candidates. Indesit Company reported fiscal 2013 Group revenues totalling €2,671.1 million, down 7.7% on last year. See Company Financials on page 13 of this issue.

The news comes at a time when sources in Turkey say Indesit is to create a new production facility in Manisa, where the company already has a plant manufacturing refrigerators and freezers. The Italian company is investing a reported €35 million in the project, which will, say local sources, create 750 new jobs at the factory. Production at the new facility is scheduled to begin in October

2014, with an annual capacity of 1.4 million washing machines, 75% of which will be for the export market, mainly in Europe. Indesit chief executive Marco Milani said that Indesit has invested €150million in expanding its presence in the Turkish market over the last twenty years. “As for many other global brands, Turkey has become a place where our company is experiencing a success story.”

Onkyo and Imagination announce global collaboration Onkyo and Imagination Technologies announced an agreement to collaborate on the next generation of wireless audio music streaming systems and the global expansion of High Quality Audio. As part of the agreement, Onkyo has licensed Imagination’s Caskeid and FlowCloud technologies. Munenori Otsuki, president and CEO of Onkyo Corporation, said the last decade has produced

a massive increase in music consumption, but during this period audio quality has been lost in the rush for convenience. “The time has come to raise the bar back up,” he commented. “By working with Imagination and its partners, who are at the centre of this movement, we will aggressively expand wireless audio music streaming and High Quality Audio out of Japan to the rest of the world.” Onkyo launched Japan’s most successful High Quality Audio download platform, e-onkyo music, in 2005.


VAX “OUTSTANDING” COMPANY TO WORK FOR Midlands-based floorcare manufacturer Vax has won a place in the ‘Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies To Work For’ list 2014 and has been named as “outstanding” by the scheme, which recognises companies with the highest level of employee engagement. It is the only domestic appliance manufacturer of its kind to feature in the list. “Being recognised as an outstanding employer of choice is a proud moment in Vax’s history,” said Vax UK managing director David Winterbottom. “The combination of increased investment in our product technology and continued investment in our people has resulted in a winning formula which has cemented our market leading position and created a dynamic working environment right here in the heart of the UK.”

Samsung puts Milk into Galaxy Samsung has launched a free music streaming service – Milk Music – which is initially available in the US and features 13 million songs and more than 200 radio stations. It is currently restricted to Samsung’s Galaxy range of smartphones. The Korean manufacturer is the biggest maker of smartphones in the world, but, although music streaming offers massive potential for growth, there is fierce competition from the likes of Pandora, iTunes Radio and Spotify, and the decision to restrict Milk Music – at least initially – to Galaxy smartphones may be seen as putting it at a disadvantage compared to those streaming services that are available on all mobile devices. However, vice president of music at Samsung Media Solutions Daren Tsui was upbeat, saying: “We feel that while the music space is very competitive there is room for improvement.” Music Hub, a previous foray into music streaming by Samsung, was launched in 2012 but is no longer available.





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The Word : Industry News



Rewarding time for Big Red Sales agents

Sony “Alpha=Alfa” sales incentive: second phase winner announced Simon Parker of Jessops, Leeds has won an Alfa Romeo Mito after successfully completing phase two of Sony’s Alpha=Alfa sales incentive programme. The Alpha=Alfa scheme was created to educate photography retailers. Participants were incentivised to learn about and sell specific Alpha and Cybershot cameras and lenses. Roy Dickens, Retail Director for Sony Direct, CE and Photo Specialist for Sony UK and Ireland, said: “Alpha=Alfa continues to demonstrate itself as one the most successful and rewarding sales incentive programmes the company has run in the UK to date.”

Big Red Sales has awarded Tim Noyes the title of Best Sales Agent of the Year and presented him with a cheque for £5,000. Noyes covers the South East and Southern Home Counties and has been with Big Red since the company was formed five years ago. Runners-up for the title, Robin Paine (East Anglia area) and Colin Hoad (North London and the Northern Home Counties), were presented with cheques for £600 and £400 respectively.

Hoover sponsors Seasoned Cookery School Hoover has announced its sponsorship of the Seasoned Cookery School at Catton Hall in the Midlands, which offers more than 20 cooking and baking courses taught by leading experts, including some familiar faces from BBC’s Great British Bake Off. Hoover has provided its most innovative new appliances for the school’s recent refit. The manufacturer will work with the school throughout the year to offer cookery experiences as prizes and incentives for top retailers and consumers.

GDHA brands Belling and Lec have provided a cooker, hob, fridge freezer, extraction hoods, dishwasher and washing machine to kit out a new ‘cookit’ studio at Temple Primary School in Manchester.

Stoves partners the Ideal Home Shows

FA Cup partner Beko goes to Everton with Keepy-Uppy Challenge FA Cup quarter finalists Everton FC hosted FA Cup partner Beko as the national Beko Keepy-Uppy Challenge rolled into the North West on 6th March. The day kicked off at All Saints School in Anfield, where FA Cup legend Peter Reid and World Record Keepy-Uppy champion Dan Magness led an interactive skills workshop with Year 6 classes, then moved on to Currys PC World in Ormskirk, where locals could have their photograph taken with the FA Cup and participate in the challenge themselves.



Left to right: Robin Paine, Tim Noyes, Big Red Director John Reddington and Colin Hoad

GDHA CE Denver Hewlett with Temple school children

British cooking appliance brand Stoves has become the official appliance partner for the Ideal Home Shows in 2014. Phil Vickery, Simon Rimmer, Jean Christophe Novelli and Aldo Zilli are among the top chefs who will be showcasing their best seasonal dishes on a range of Stoves products, across five shows which run at locations around the UK and attract some half a million visitors between them.

LG invests more in shop-in-shop programme LG has strengthened the brand’s presence in the UK independent retail sector further with four new shop-in-shop installations, geographically spread across the country. The installations are at: Marks Electrical in Leicester, now among the largest LG shop-in-shop partnerships in the UK; Horders in Bristol, a new relationship that reflects LG’s drive to develop a strong retail network of Premium Independent LG Dealerships; Built-in Kitchen Appliances in Liverpool (pictured), now LG’s

northernmost home appliances shop-in-shop installation; and Stellisons in Chelmsford, adding a further outlet to Stellisons’ LG shop-in-shop portfolio following

the inauguration last year of the Ipswich store as an LG partner. Stellisons MD Steve Scogings said: “The new shop-in-shop in the Chelmsford store builds upon our partnership with LG, a brand that both myself and my team are 100% behind.” Speaking for Built-in Home Appliances, owner Steve Woods said: “Our reputation has been built on ensuring that everything our customers receive is efficient, attractive and long lasting. The partnership with LG reinforces these core values.”

The Word : Industry News

COMPAN¥ £INAN€I AL$ Indesit Company

In a year of record sales growth,

Haier , Home Retail Group

reported fiscal 2013 Group revenues

which claims the world No.1 brand

said it would exceed profit expectations

totalling €2,671.1 million, down 7.7%

and manufacturer positions in Major

for the financial year ended 1 March 2014,

on last year. Revenues from finished

Appliances, has reported consolidated

with Group benchmark profit before tax

products fell 8%, due to a 5.3% decline in

net sales of $29.5 billion in 2013, with net

slightly ahead of the top end of the current

sales volume and the adverse effect (3%)

earnings of $1.76 billion.

range of market expectations of £107m to

of currency movements, while revenues

John Lewis Partners

£111m, and cash outflow for the year also expected to be slightly better than previous

from services declined 4.2% compared


to 2012. Operating profit for the year fell

will receive a Bonus of 15%, equivalent to

guidance, resulting in a closing net cash

49.8% to €68.1 million and net income

nearly 8 weeks’ pay, as a result of gross JLP

position of around £330m. Like-for-like

dropped from €61.7 million in 2012 to

sales reaching in excess of £10 billion for

sales at Argos grew 3.3% in the 52-week

€3.2 million.

the financial year ended 25 January 2014.

period. Total sales (taking in store closures

Partnership operating profit was £423.6m,

during the year) rose 3.0% to £4,051

down £29.8m, or 6.6% on last year. Annual

million. Electrical products continued to

pre-tax profits at the Group fell 4.1% to

deliver a positive performance, principally

announced full year results for the year

£329.1 million. Revenues at the John Lewis

as a result of sales growth in video gaming,

ended 31 December 2013, with revenues

department store chain rose 7.4% to £3.274

TVs, small domestic appliances and white

of £250.4 million, up 2.4% compared to

billion. Operating profit increased 4.3% to

goods. Internet sales for the full-year

the previous year; operating profits of

£226.1 million. Gross sales at

represented 44% of total Argos sales, up

£8.2 million, up 26.2% year-on-year; but

rose 19.2% to £1,142m, while Click & collect

from 42% for the same period last year.

profits before tax down to £1.1 million

grew by 57%. Total sales growth at the retail

Within this, mobile commerce grew by

(from £1.7 million in 2012) after non-

chain was shared across the categories

89% to represent 18% of total sales. Like-

recurring costs, pension charges and

as follows: Home +2.3%, Fashion +5.0%,

for-like sales at Homebase increased 5.9%.

finance costs took their toll.

Electricals and Home Technology +15.5%.

Total sales rose 4.1% to £1,489 million.

Aga Rangemaster plc


THE BRITISH EMRAS: BE PART OF THE ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY’S BIG EVENT AT TWICKENHAM STADIUM IN MAY Manufacturers’ entries for the British EMRAs (Electrical Manufacturing and Retailing Awards) 2014 are now closed. We’d like to thank all those manufacturers who have entered their products, services and achievements to give the EMRAs 2014 such an outstandingly extensive and high quality field of candidates. These will now go forward to the voting stage where the readership of Get Connected will be invited to make their choices. We should also like to thank some of the leading industry names who have committed to partnership of the EMRAs as sponsors of the 2014 event, bringing their powerful, respected and influential support to this fresh industry initiative.


Beko UK has been operating in the UK & Ireland since 1990 and is the UK’s best-selling home appliance brand. The brand has invested strongly in consumer communications to present a smart, well-designed, innovative, energy efficient and technologically advanced ethos in appliances that deliver exceptional value for money. In the UK today, Beko’s “designed to make your life easier” message has won recognition from consumers who appreciate the benefits of affordable quality. In Europe it is the fastest-growing home appliance brand, and worldwide is available in more than 100 countries.



Domestic Appliance Distributors is a major distributor of domestic appliances and consumer electronics throughout the UK, and was formed in 1992 when the Gillman family - which has been in the electrical and gas appliance business for over 40 years - identified the need to give independent retailers “an improved and more efficient service.” The company now operates from new, extensive warehousing facilities in Tewkesbury, with its own dedicated delivery fleet, and is respected for its industry knowledge, exceptional customer service and strong relationships with major manufacturers.

Domestic & General was founded 100 years ago, and for the past 60 years has been looking after people when their appliances break down. Its primary focus is on providing product protection for major domestic appliances and consumer electronic products, and D&G is recognised as the UK’s leading warranty specialist, protecting more than 15 million customers. Together with its manufacturing, retail and financial services clients, D&G provides warranty services for many major UK and International brands, managing the whole warranty process including customer mailing, contact centres, repair networks, in-house administration and claims handling.


There are still sponsorship opportunities available for you to join these world class names and become part of the British EMRAs 2014, culminating in the Gala Awards Night at Twickenham Stadium on March 15th. A WORLD CLASS VENUE FOR A WORLD CLASS EVENT TWICKENHAM STADIUM – home of English Rugby Union and an internationally recognised icon of sporting excellence – plays host to the British EMRAs 2014 on May 15th. You could be walking down that tunnel to pitchside for a pre-dinner drink by the hallowed turf; you could be enjoying first class food and entertainment as we celebrate the best of the British electrical industry. Great names, great entertainment, great networking opportunities, great companionship, great memories. Book your individual places – or tables – for a celebration of the Best of British on May 15th. There are some places still available, but with only six weeks to go, early booking is advisable to avoid disappointment.

HOW YOU CAN BE PART OF THE BRITISH EMRAS 2014 1. Become a sponsor and enjoy the benefits of extensive pre-event and post-event publicity, plus prominent exposure at the Gala Dinner. 2. Book your individual place or table(s) for May 15th at Twickenham Stadium.

To discuss sponsorship opportunities and table bookings contact:

Brian Shilling 01892 677741 Sharon Maslen 01892 677742 OR visit the EMRA website at for further information

Repic, established in January 2004 as a not-for-profit company, is the largest WEEE producer compliance scheme in the UK. Its WEEE members represent around half – by weight – of all electrical and electronic products sold in the UK every year. Set up by AMDEA, SEAMA and Intellect – three of the major trade associations in the electrical and electronic industry, and collectively covering MDA, SDA and CE products – Repic is able to provide its members with the benefits of its expertise and guidance in achieving compliance solutions in the complicated field of producer responsibility legislation.

Gorenje, based in Slovenia but with facilities and operations across Europe, was founded more than 60 years ago and has been available as a brand in the UK since 2002. With a comprehensive, high quality range of products that, while competitively priced, are also renowned for their stylish and distinctive designer values, Gorenje has grown phenomenally since its introduction to the UK. Its free extended-term parts & labour guarantees and efficient after sales service offer added confidence to UK retailers and consumers.

Whirlpool Corporation is recognised as a leader in the global appliance industry, and in the UK the brand has long been a household name in white goods. From its position as a major world player, Whirlpool is able to offer local products and service tailored to specific markets and supported by global resources; and, in line with its stated mission, the brand can focus worldwide resources upon specific markets and specific consumer needs, taking a people-based approach to its employees and customers to “build unmatched customer loyalty... one customer at a time.”

The ethos of Blomberg is based on its perception as a German quality home appliances brand with more than 125 years’ experience in the appliance and metal industries. Since its recent introduction to the UK via an exclusive distribution agreement with buying group CI(H) – known to dealers and consumers through its Euronics branding – Blomberg’s collection of environment- and user-friendly appliances has achieved impressive growth and generated great business for independent retailers. The brand aims to be “in harmony” through design that is both consistent across products and complementary to UK homes.



The Product Gallery


Gallery RDOCK-UNI DIGITAL LIGHTNING DOCK Arcam’s rDock-uni is a docking station for iPhone/Pad/Pod that allows an easy fixed connection to any form of Hi-Fi, home cinema or audio system. The unit has an Apple Certified “Made For” Lightning connector for all current iDevices and support for older 30-pin Pod/Pad/Phone leads. Users can choose to use the high-quality internal DAC on the rDockuni or send a digital signal directly to an external DAC. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Class-leading sound quality whatever the device, format or coding rate Digital audio connectivity from iDevice to internal DAC to analogue stereo out Digital audio SPDIF connectivity from iDevice to high-end external DACs Full IR remote control of docked device / iDevice charging Control integration with Arcam’s Solo neo, Solo mini and Arcam AV Amps Stylish, robust cast aluminium case provides stable support for devices

AEG LAUNCHES PROCOMBI SOUSVIDE Sous vide is the cooking technique being used by more and more professional chefs, since it seals in flavour and nutrients under vacuum and allows slow, low-temperature cooking to achieve perfect tenderness and texture. AEG’s ProCombi SousVide brings this professional cooking method into UK homes. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

SousVide temperature range 54-80 degrees Three steam levels plus grill, roast and bake functions ThermicAir for even heat distribution SoftMotion closing door Core temperature sensor A-20% energy rating

08445 611 611

KEF V720W SOUNDBAR SYSTEM KEF’s V720W Digital TV Soundbar System combines the V700 soundbar and V-20W wireless subwoofer and offers an easy plug-and-play setup to receive and enhance audio from any source plugged in to a TV. It is just 53mm in depth and fits neatly under the screen either wall-mounted or placed on furniture using the stands supplied. The stands are designed to allow tilt adjustment. ○

Suitable for screens of 47” and above

4 x high-performance 115mm patented ultra-slim bass drivers / 2 x 25mm aluminium tweeters incorporating KEF’s ‘tangerine’ waveguide

Wireless subwoofer features long-throw 8-inch driver and 200W Class-D amplifier

On/off, mute and volume functions can be controlled via the TV’s remote 16


Q ACOUSTICS LAUNCHES CONCEPT 40 LOUDSPEAKER Armour Home brand Q Acoustics has added the ‘Concept 40’ floor-standing flagship model to its loudspeaker range, which incorporates ultra-low resonance ‘Gelcore™ Construction’ cabinets that allow the drive units to play music unconstrained by cabinet interference. The speaker comes in a choice of Gloss White or Gloss Black lacquered finishes. ○ ○ ○

○ ○

Double woofer, 2-way reflex Bass Unit 2 x 125mm / Treble Unit 25mm Frequency Response 53Hz - 22kHz / Nominal Impedance 6Ω / Minimum Impedance 4Ω / Sensitivity 90dB Recommended Power 25 – 150W Crossover Frequency 2.3kHz

The Product Gallery

HOOVER BUILTIN POWERWASH DISHWASHER Hoover’s A+ rated, 15 place-setting builtin Powerwash dishwasher is claimed to deliver a wash four times more efficient than models from leading competitors. The appliance has a third spray arm that operates independently during the Powerwash programme, directing a highly concentrated water and detergent solution onto the wash load via six multidirectional water jets. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○


12 programmes /7 wash temperatures Digital controls Adjustable upper basket 29-minute rapid wash, Powerwash and Soft programmes Super-eco button / End of programme alarm 10-litre water consumption

0151 334 2781


Panasonic has released its most advanced, high specification interchangeable lens camera to date, incorporating newly engineered technology including 4K video recording to meet the requirements of professional photography and videography. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Compact, rugged and lightweight Newly developed image sensor / Wide line-up of Micro Four Third lenses Enhanced Auto Focus system Improved 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor and Venus Engine processor Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity Fast burst shooting capability 12 fps at full resolution / Variable Frame Rate 2 fps to 96 fps or 4x speed

Indesit has launched a range of built-in ovens with a fresh new look for 2014. The A-rated 58-litre appliances have curved dashboards with retractable controls that give a smoothtouch surface and easy-clean fascia. Both models have a digital display. Accessories: 1 tray, 2 grids, 2 tray handles Model FIMS 53 J KA: easy-clean enamel / 5 cooking functions: gratin, multilevel, top heat, traditional, grill / stainless steel or black finishes Model FIMS 73 J KC: catalytic liners / 7 cooking functions: fast cooking, gratin, multilevel, pastries, pizza, traditional, grill / stainless steel finish ○ ○

08000 921 922

GENEVA MODEL XXL HOME THEATRE/MUSIC SOUND SYSTEM/TV SUPPORT The new Geneva Model XXL is a complete home theatre and music sound system with an FMRDS/DAB/DAB+ digital tuner offering 6 FM and 6 DAB presets, Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth streaming housed in a single cabinet that doubles as a support for TVs up to 65”. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Discrete 7-speaker sound system Dedicated DSP-tuned amplifiers generating a total of 589W 7 analogue/digital inputs including 3 x HDMI 1.4 Advanced 3D audio processing Concealed storage space for components such as Blu-ray or DVD players Red, white or black lacquer finishes

0843 5236344 MARCH 2014 GET CONNECTED


Custom Install


squeezed more every day in the consumer electronics market,” he contends, “added value services are essential for profitability. Custom installation of AV and home automation equipment is a fast-growing sector in the consumer electronics industry. Not only can this add revenue through charging for installation, but it also brings new sales opportunities with it.” Kris Hogg, Chairman of CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association) Region 1, says: “Lifestyle electronics – a connected home – has become a key element for property developers to enhance the appeal of their homes. Also, many people are upscaling their properties to benefit from the latest entertainment systems, lighting and heating control, security and CCTV systems.” Hogg adds that savvy electrical retailers could benefit from this groundswell of business by getting involved in the design and installation of smart home systems. “Many are already selling the kit,” he says. “Home cinemas, integrated lighting, security and home audio visual systems are just some examples of custom installation.”


Steve Simper, managing director of aerial, satellite and CI distributor Alltrade, says that retailers should not feel daunted by the prospect of offering custom install services. “For retailers looking into home automation installation for the first time, the array of products and technologies can be quite bewildering. However, the majority of customers coming in to

Hard times and fierce competition are prompting resourceful retailers to move outside their traditional comfort zones to find fresh opportunities for profit generation. George Cole looks at the potential in the burgeoning Custom Install market


he economic picture may be getting brighter, but retailers know better than anyone that it’s still tough on the high street. And even when the economy does pick up, there will still be the increasing competition from online retailers, adding to the pressure on prices. As a result, a growing number of retailers are branching out to offer custom install services. In the past this typically meant delivering and installing a large screen TV or a home cinema system, but there’s scope for even more profit by moving into home automation systems, which can include lighting, security, access control and wireless networking.


Offering a custom install service often means the retailer moving out of their comfort zone, so there has to be a compelling reason for doing it. Stuart 18


Stuart Tickle Tickle, managing director of AWE, a distributor of audio visual, home automation, lighting and networking products to the UK custom installation trade, thinks there is. “With margins being

electrical retailers for help and advice in this area are not looking for cuttingedge technologies or money-no-object solutions. They are often looking for a simple way of integrating basic home automation functions into their home network. Controlling lighting, window blinds, CCTV or any other motorised domestic system is not a great step up from a networked multi-room system with an open standard app-based controller.” Kris Hogg notes that “today’s solutions are becoming ever more affordable, and with high-speed broadband rolling out across the UK and High Definition, 3D and 4K technology building demand among consumers, there are significant opportunities to be taken. Being able to offer design and installation services will build business for retailers, and customers will benefit from their local contact having

Custom Install

Kris Hogg

He adds that costing a job can be challenging at times. The installer must be confident and firm with the client and follow the correct process with contracts, outlining work and being clear on all costs and processes for charging for variations and additional work. Moving successfully into custom install requires a variety of skills, training and equipment. “I would suggest that the most important thing that a retailer needs to keep in mind when moving over to the Custom Installation market is to ensure they have undertaken the necessary training and experience, including all theory and practical processes, before starting to offer services as an installer,” says Kris Hogg. “It is important to keep abreast of the technological developments in this fast-moving industry and time spent on proper education will pay dividends.”

HELP AND SUPPORT a deeper understanding of the available options.” He adds that another advantage is being able to engage with your client on a unique tailor-made project, which most likely will guarantee you a customer for life – building brand loyalty and future business. “By being able to offer support and services to the installed facilities, it allows regular work and income from the original project installed,” he says.


Even so, there are some potential pitfalls. Tim Jenks, senior executive of CAI (Confederation of Aerial Industries), says: “Lack of skills relating to signal distribution is one, because RF signals do not travel in the same way as electrical power. Data signals require different connectivity knowledge. There is also a lack of any codes of practice relating to home connectivity, which the CAI is addressing.” Kris Hogg comments: “Custom Installation is still a relatively new industry and it is essential to put together a skilled workforce properly trained and equipped to offer this service effectively. Happy customers may talk about your business, but you can rest assured that unhappy customers will definitely tell their friends and family. So ensure your team are properly trained and qualified. Becoming members of the industry’s trade association CEDIA will provide plenty of support and guidance.”

Fortunately, lots of support for retailers is available. retra (radio, electrical & television retailers’ association) launched retra Install just over two years ago and has teamed up with the British AudioVisual Dealers Association (BADA) to offer retra Install members BADA training courses. retra has also joined forces with CAI to offer custom install training. “CAI targets retail through retra with signal provision training where TV content or moving pictures are required around the home,” says Tim Jenks. “retra members receive all the CAI education and skills updates. Engineers wanting to upskill are directed to detailed course analysis: where they find all requisite needs associated with basic aerial and satellite reception, through to safe working at height and complex signal distribution.” “CEDIA prides itself on its extensive education programme; the courses run regularly throughout the year and cover all aspects of the installation industry,” says Kris Hogg. The programme includes a structured cabling workshop, wireless residential networking and a home cinema design workshop. Exams can also be taken through CEDIA, adding recognised expertise to a business. AWE has become an associate member of retra. “To help independent retailers in custom installation, AWE has set up a new distribution channel, AWE Retail Installer,” says James Drummie, AWE product manager. “As a signed-up AWE Retail Installer, a dealer has access to a range of AWE’s custom install products and is offered free training. The training covers a wide product portfolio including system controls and lighting control systems, and takes place at AWE’s training facility in

...savvy electrical retailers could benefit from this groundswell of business by getting involved in the design and installation of smart home systems

James Drummie Epsom, Surrey.” “As well as the comprehensive education programme, which includes courses specifically designed for new entrants to the market, CEDIA offers the support and guidance of many members,” states Kris Hogg. “Manufacturers’ training courses may seem attractive, but they are often used as a sales tool to lock you into their systems and hardware, although they shouldn’t be completely discounted. Research the options first, but definitely get trained up.”


Not only is training available to retailers, but the technology is getting easier to use, says Steve Simper. “There are a number of control apps available, including the DemoPad universal remote control app. This is a great starting point into home automation control as it does not require a huge investment in training or programming knowledge.” James Drummie says that brands such as URC, Philips Dynalite and Kinetik offer a wide range of custom install products. Steve Simper says that when it comes to moving into custom install, “we would always recommend to start small, start simple, but ensure you build a system that can be enhanced and expanded over time for ongoing customer revenue.” Kris Hogg adds: “It is important for anyone taking their first steps into the custom installation sector to have the correct knowledge and training before taking on any projects. Some key advice would be to make sure you are confident in the service that you are providing, and do not start offering your services as an installer until you are ready. Trying things out on customers before you are ready will only give your business a bad reputation.” And Hogg adds that electrical retailers don’t have to go it alone: “It is commonly seen that retailers have found a foot into the market by teaming up with an existing business offering integration. This has proven to be an effective way to become a part of the sector.” MARCH 2014 GET CONNECTED


Designer Products

Material world

Michele Bedard, vice president of marketing for Sub-Zero and Wolf: “We are always striving to elevate and innovate the cooking experience”

The study was part of the development of Hotpoint’s HD Line of small appliances, a collection that has its style and performance attributed to Milan-based designer Makio Hasuike. Maytag’s Juliana Sado, Senior Brand Marketing Manager, Northern Europe, believes that both brand and design are becoming significantly more important to consumers, particularly as some appliances are purchased as ‘statement’ pieces that attract the eye and, as she rightly points out, “impress visitors.” Her view is that the look of an appliance is often the first consideration for the consumer and is fundamental, regardless of the market position of the product. “However, consumers are looking to invest in the combination of this with the benefits of real innovation, improved performance, energy savings and water efficiency offered by premium manufacturers. We believe consumers are looking more than ever to invest in their major appliances, making a decision on design that incorporates not only aesthetics but high levels of function and build quality too.” “Since the onset of the recession, consumers have increasingly come to view buying domestic appliances as a

In building aspirational design into more affordable MDA, CE and SDA products, as well as high-end goods, manufacturers have opened up a world of opportunity for consumers to realise their desires for the home. Good design is no longer exclusive to those privileged with wealth. GC reports


he price of designer/luxury goods has reportedly risen by 60% in the past decade, and the trend is not wholly attributable to increasing material costs; rather, designers are said to be raising prices to attract new, wealthier customers. And, on a global scale, there are more wealthy consumers. According to a 2013 report by business consultancy Capgemini, the world’s high net worth individuals (HNWI) increased 9.2% to 12 million in 2012. Even in the UK, where harsh economic pressures persisted, the HNWI population and wealth both grew, rising 5.4% to $1.6 trillion. The nation has the 5th largest concentration (465,000) of HNWIs in the world, which one imagines would bode well for the big labels. The British are said to be “obsessed” with designer products. For some, they represent quality and longevity; for others, status or self-identity. And it’s not solely about wearables, accessories or cars: the designer trend nowadays is very much focused on the home, too. Influences from lifestyle magazines such as Ideal Home, House Beautiful and Country Living, and television programmes such as Grand Designs, in which the garrulous Kevin McCloud presents new builds 20


that “satisfy desires or dreams” and “exalt and inspire”, have helped to focus consumers’ attention on their immediate surroundings, providing aspirational images of airy, open-plan environments created around kitchen areas adjoining large living spaces where striking furniture pieces, focal-point fires and the ultimate in CE equipment are on show. The march towards individual design, whether in the grandest of homes or the suburban semi, has given rise to the desire for design-led electrical goods. And as Hotpoint Marketing Manager Iain Starkey points out: “Good styling and design are not necessarily confined to expensive products.” But he notes that the more discerning consumer wants performance, quality and reliability as well as style, and the good news is, “they are willing to pay for it.”


Recent research by Hotpoint which analysed the buying process in the UK for small kitchen appliances showed that consumers are genuinely attracted by cutting-edge design and the latest technologies and will readily pay more for such features, particularly when combined with greater durability and robustness.

long-term investment and are more likely to play the end game,” says Samsung UK’s Lana Sanleandro, Head of Marketing for Home Appliances. “As such, they are prepared to pay more if they see that the investment is worthwhile and will benefit them in their everyday lives. If they can see that an appliance will make their lives easier and that there are longer term savings that can be made, then they will be prepared to pay a premium.” Smeg UK Sales Director Rick Forman agrees: “Many consumers are prepared to invest in features which are going to contribute to their daily lifestyle and add to the longevity of their appliance. As the kitchen is now the most used room in the home, homeowners are more conscientious about the appearance of appliances and are willing to pay more to ensure the design is right to create a unique, individual look. Consumers now want to express themselves with stylish, bold and ultra-modern products to make an eye-catching statement in the kitchen.”


While design is essentially a subjective choice, trends do prevail. Caple Sales Director Danny Lay notes the dominance of white glass, black glass and stainless

al world

Designer Products

steel as key market trends for 2014, due to their ability to work with a variety of kitchen styles. “Glass and stainless steel can blend with a design for a seamless finish or create a standalone statement, and are incredibly durable,� he says. “Textures tend to be smooth, in line with the trend for a streamlined look in the kitchen, and colours suit the latest trend for modern living.� Gorenje National Sales Manager Stuart Benson also draws our attention to colour, stating that it is becoming increasingly popular for consumers to colour-match or make a standout feature of an appliance. “With this in mind, Gorenje has launched a brand new Colour Edition line which will be ideal for retailers seeking to create attention-grabbing displays.� Gorenje also, of course, offers a collection of retro cooling products, available in traditional and vintage colours, as well as funky shades including raspberry pink, juicy orange and lime green. BEST’s Jacqui Hoctor, new product development manager for the specialist cooker hood brand, believes that, although monochrome is still a popular trend, buyers will become more adventurous with the colour of their appliances throughout 2014. “This will no doubt be seen in the hoods market too,� she asserts. “The new BEST Fluttua and Keys are available in key kitchen trend colours and fit neatly against a wall, making them perfect for those looking to create the ‘wow’ factor in a smaller space. And as curves in kitchen cabinetry look set to become a trend, the new BEST range also includes many models featuring curved lines to complement contemporary cabinetry.�


Maurizio Severgnini, Managing Director Built in Division of Hoover Candy UK, adds that the rise in open-plan living has also


Premium kitchen appliance specialist Britannia has launched a range cooker collection which includes the contemporary Q Line. Clean lines, chunky controls and an impressive range of professional features make the stylish Q Line the perfect choice for the modern family kitchen. The Q Line range boasts a range of features, including a full-size grill in every oven, Quickstart technology and optional stay-clean oven liners. The Q Line is available in both 90cm and 100cm sizes in a variety of configurations, including with a single or twin oven or even in the XG model, which offers a dedicated grill compartment. The Q Line can also be selected with a five-zone induction hob or a single-pressed six-ring gas hob which is extremely easy to clean. Available with a stainless steel or gloss black finish, the impressive appearance of the Q Line is equalled only by its exceptional performance.

 01253 471111 created demand for products that operate quietly, and good design should always combine great performance with pleasing aesthetics. “As markets become more mature and lifestyles change, appliance design is increasingly being driven by flexibility,� he remarks. “Consumers are looking for multiple functionality and versatility from their appliances. “The domestic appliance market has also been shaped by innovations that have been taking place in the commercial sector. With an increase in the variety and popularity of TV cooking shows, professional features are more in demand than ever before. So whether it’s a large cavity oven like the Hoover Prodige built-in 78-litre oven that can be divided into two separate ovens, or an induction hob with a large cooking area that can accommodate lots of different sized pans, flexible functionality is something consumers are willing to pay more for.� Dawn Stockell, Head of Brand Marketing at LG UK, believes that great design in

AEG PROCOMBI STEAM OVEN LOCKS IN FLAVOUR AND NUTRIENTS Long the choice of professional chefs, steam ovens are now a ‘must have’ for people who are passionate about cooking. The AEG ProCombi offers maximum versatility by combining the very best in steam functionality with three steam levels for the ultimate in taste. This, combined with traditional multifunctional cooking techniques, makes the AEG ProCombi the complete cooking tool. Cooking with steam and heat together transforms everyday ingredients into extraordinary tasting dishes with mouth-watering aromas and textures. The XXL ProCombi can cook a large turkey using a combination of steam and hot air for meat that is perfectly moist on the inside and crispy and golden on the outside.

AEG Trade Sales

 08445 610 561

itself will largely not be enough to make the products attractive to consumers. She highlights consumer research commissioned by LG in 2013 which consistently found that brands with the highest scores for the design of their products were also the strongest performers when it came to being perceived as innovators and champions of smart technology. “Consumers want technology to complement their home environment and personal style,� she says, “and LG is committed to providing a range of product design choices, from handle-less refrigeration designs to give a streamlined effect beside kitchen cabinetry, to the Gallery OLED 55-inch screen, which is bordered by an aesthetically pleasing frame to discreetly house the 2.2 channel sound speaker system whilst doubling as a design feature. “LG’s exciting 2014 product line-up also includes standout technology and design innovation. For example, at CES LG showcased its 105� Curved UHD TV – the world’s first UHD curved TV with 21:9 aspect ratio – and the world’s first flexible 77� OLED TV, with a curvature controlled by remote control. Offering stunning design throughout its TV range, LG’s 2014 line-up offers Cinema Screen Design and contemporary Metallic edging, across a variety of budgets.�


For a fully absorbing viewing experience, big, thin-screen TVs require equally big, immersing sound quality, so accompanying sound projection products must offer design that encompasses both complementary aesthetics and performance. As audio brand Orbitsound points out: “There are no shortcuts with sound.� The company highlights the strong trend towards fully integrated, chic design and remarks that there are “unbelievably� MARCH 2014 GET CONNECTED


Designer Products

thin soundbars entering the market. “Thin products sound thin unless you change the actual way sound is reproduced. Our products are known for their simple and sleek design. We believe visual clarity is important but as we use our proprietary airSOUND™ technology, it means there is no compromise on the audio quality. “Unlike almost any other industry, the technology sector has proven that by making a device stylish and enjoyable to use, consumers are more than willing to accept a higher price point. While commercial pressure dictates increased competitiveness, extra features and a lower price, it is a far bolder move for manufacturers to bring out products

ELECTROLUX EXTENDS INFINITEPURE INDUCTION RANGE Electrolux is introducing two brand new sizes to its award-winning InfinitePure Induction range to provide consumers with more choice and cooking flexibility. The new 60cm and 90cm InfinitePure hobs offer maximum freedom, allowing consumers to cook with oversized pots and pans. With their innovative bridging function, two Infinite zones can be joined together to create a larger and more versatile cooking surface. Intuitive DirectAccess rotary controls provide precise and instant temperature selection at a touch. For ultimate culinary control, users can pause live cooking with Stop&Go technology and use the CountUp timer to track how long a dish has been cooking for, ensuring perfect results every time.

Electrolux Trade Sales  08445 610561



that go, in some aspects, against this commercial trend.� Orbitsound boasts that its products sport understated and clean lines, use natural materials and have straightforward set up. “The result is unrivalled, immersive sound packaged in a stylish casing that our customers love and are happy to invest in.�


The CE and accessories sector is rife with products exhibiting avant-garde design. A look at AV distributor BBG Distribution’s collection of products reveals two brands, Munari and NorStone, whose unique and bold designs in AV furniture reflect the latest trends at the upper end of the market. Debbie Simms, Director of Sales at BBG’s Consumer Division, says that Munari, established in 1977 in the Ca’ degli Oppi region of Italy, should be considered in the same vein as an Italian premium quality sports car brand. “Each company produces undeniably beautiful creations that are built around function and incorporate the latest technology. Features such as LED lighting and ventilation panels ensure that Munari furniture adds style as well as value to an AV system. Each piece of furniture is hand built to the customer’s specification and there are near limitless permutations of features and styles.� NorStone’s range of AV furniture reflects the trend towards larger TVs and AV furniture. Its Baho model (pictured above) is another signature design from the brand, featuring a glass surfaced black or white lacquered finish. The 1500mm unit comes fully assembled with integrated LED and IR control kits and has soft-opening side and front compartments.


When we imagine there is nothing more that can be put into the design of electrical goods, manufacturers come up with further innovations that keep the electrical industry alive by encouraging consumers to buy the next, bigger, better, best and most stylish products on the market. So where will design travel in the future? LG’s Dawn Stockell sees the progression of the curved display trend, which the Korean company has recently extended from the TV category into its smartphones with the launch of the G Flex phone. “Connectivity is the future,� asserts Whirlpool UK Trade Marketing Manager Juan Pillay, “and the kitchen of tomorrow is closer than we think. Connectivity at Whirlpool will be powered by 6th SenseŽ Live technology. Each single appliance

NorStone’s Baho AV unit

will be internet connected through Wi-Fi, so capable of receiving and responding to signals coming from consumers’ devices (smartphones, tablets, PCs). This will enable users to access and check their smart appliances from anywhere, provide information about their energy consumption, hints and tips for better usage (performance, energy savings), new functionalities and remote control and diagnostic.� Rita Balestrazzi from Servis believes that more manufacturers will start to invest in apps, “not only to help control appliances remotely, but also to add to their functionality so that consumers can, for example, instantly download recipes onto the memory of their cookers. Manufacturers are already developing connected appliances which are capable of relaying messages to end users via the TV. These can automatically pop up on the screen, highlighting information such as the progress of a wash.� Hotpoint’s Starkey also notes the use of apps in future home appliance designs: “Controlling appliances with smartphone apps or other devices is the next logical innovation. They could reduce energy usage by 30 to 50% with software that downloads data from smart meters so you can track electricity usage in real time and run appliances at the cheapest time of day. Or, you could produce a shopping list based on what you use from your fridge freezer. “Although the technology that enables us to do all this will soon be with us, designers need to make sure that these advanced functions have real, useful benefits for the consumer, rather than simply being bundled into the appliance as a gimmick.�

SWAN RETRO DESIGN DISHWASHER Swan has introduced a new retro design dishwasher collection, available in sky blue, black, traditional cream and red. Offering A+ energy ratings and a low noise level of 49dB, these 60cm dishwashers can easily accommodate 12 place settings and benefit from six programmes, including intensive for stubborn stains, normal, eco, one hour, glass and rapid washes. Foldaway baskets allow users to make the most of the dishwasher’s capacity – perfect for entertaining – and accommodate large serving platters. The handy ‘delay start’ button helps to make the most of lower energy tariffs or fits the washing around busy lifestyles.

Guest Column

Clearly, the home is becoming ‘smarter’ and technology more advanced; yet also more intuitive…” GC welcomes guest columnist Andy Mackay,, Commercial Director – Consumer Electronics at LG UK, who writes about the “race for the perfect picture” and developments in smart appliances for the home


just 15 years, the CE Business has accelerated through development – away from CRT TV models to an era of technology breakthrough with larger, slimmer, bezel-free panels, and a period sweeping through high-definition, the launch of 3D and up to the latest ‘ultra high-definition’ or 4K TV viewing. Clearly, leading manufacturers are all investing heavily in R&D, Aesthetic Design and Consumer Insight to meet the customer requirement for the latest and greatest in Home Technology. Over recent years, LG Electronics has led a number of these TV developments, from the “world’s first” and only Cinema Style or Passive 3D TV technology (in 2010) through to the “world’s first” huge screen 84-inch 4K Ultra HD TV. And then in the lead up to last Christmas, the introduction of the “world’s first” 55-inch Curved OLED, which gives a more immersive viewing and audio experience. Committed to pioneering and expanding OLED, 4K Ultra HD TV and Smart TV offerings, LG’s 2014 range will offer further products that push the boundaries of innovation, delivering the ultimate “picture perfect” viewing experience. Having previewed the “world’s first” and only 77” 4K OLED TV (available in summer 2014) at the CES Show in January, LG has taken panel TV to the next level, allowing the consumer to choose curved or flat to suit their viewing situation and environment, such as the number of viewers and viewing distance. The 4K Ultra HD TV market is set for massive growth in 2014, fuelled by the World Cup, and LG offers a full range of models in sizes varying from 49 inches through to a groundbreaking 105 inches, all providing unmatched picture quality, differentiated features and stunning designs.

webOS-based LG Smart TVs deliver a greater degree of freedom than previous TVs. For example, users can easily search and enjoy YouTube content or conduct an internet search while watching broadcast TV – all with just one or two clicks of the Magic Remote. In addition, the initial setup process is fun and easy to follow, without the generally cumbersome and complicated task of activating the TV.


A good user experience isn’t just apposite to TVs, it is important across all LG products and technologies, including Home Appliances such as washing machines. LG ‘Smart Diagnosis’, introduced in 2012, is a feature that uses a smartphone application to identify potential faults, helping the consumer to solve problems (perhaps as simple as the appliance door not being properly closed) and to transmit information to service centres, highlighting any service issue and ensuring a “first time fix” should an engineer need to visit. This Smart Diagnosis facility and feature will now be available across the range of LG Home Appliances: washing machines and refrigeration. This year LG announced it will introduce “HomeChat”, a convenient way for your customer to send messages to home appliances to ask them to perform certain

functions. For example: typing the words “I’m going on vacation” in HomeChat will result in the automatic response “Should I convert to vacation mode?”, which, when replied to in the affirmative, will turn on the refrigerator’s power-saving mode, set the robotic vacuum cleaner to sweep the floor at 09:00 every day and set the washing machine to run a wash programme on the day before you return from holiday – and that’s without having to promise any presents to begrudging family members for their housekeeping efforts in your absence! LG “Smart Manager” will transform the refrigerator into a complete food management system. Customers can use the exterior LCD panel or the LG Smart Refrigerator app on their smartphones to check what’s inside without opening the door. With the Smart Manager’s Freshness Tracker, users can input various foods and check their expiry dates. Smart Manager will also have the capability to recommend dishes to prepare based on the ingredients available in the refrigerator, encouraging people to use what they have readily available and reducing waste at the same time. Clearly, the home is becoming “smarter” and technology more advanced; yet also more intuitive. It’s all possible! LG – Life’s Good


As important as the “perfect picture” is the “perfect entertainment experience” and we are proud to be introducing the LG webOS (Web Operating System) Smart TV platform. Launching this year in the UK from April, LG’s webOS platform will introduce consumers to the most convenient Smart TV user experience yet. Making TV simple again, the exciting new LG Smart Platform represents the development and design expertise within LG, to give a more intuitive, engaging and convenient experience. MARCH 2014 GET CONNECTED


George Cole


George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics




here’s an awful lot of speculation over the future prospects of a product that turned the portable audio market upside down: Apple’s iPod digital media player. Now, some are forecasting the beginning of the end for this game-changing device. The first iPod was launched in 2001 and soon became the most popular digital music player – more than 350 million iPods have been sold since the launch. Other companies offering MP3 players struggled to keep up, and in the end Apple came to dominate a market that was once the province of consumer electronics companies. So why all the talk of the iPod facing its imminent demise? The answer lies in Apple’s trading figures for Q4 2013. During this period, 6 million iPods were sold; a respectable figure you might think, until you see that it represents a 52% fall, year-on-year. The iPod also generated almost £600 million in revenue in the same period; again it sounds good – until you appreciate that it represents just 2% of Apple’s total sales.

Some blame the growing popularity of music streaming on the iPod’s falling sales, but others see the rise of the smart phone as the main reason. Many smartphones can also be used as music players – iPhones come with iTunes music software. In the same period that 6 million iPods were sold, some 51 million iPhones were purchased. No doubt many of these purchases cannibalized iPod sales. But smartphones aren’t just affecting digital music player sales; compact digital camera sales have also fallen as a result of the smartphone. The research company IDC said compact camera sales were set to fall by 40% in 2013, as a result of consumers preferring to take photographs with their smartphones. Even the most basic smartphone has a decent camera these days, so it’s not surprising that more and more people are opting to pop one rather than two devices into their pocket or handbag. However, there will always be consumers who prefer a dedicated digital camera, and the same goes for digital music players. That’s why I can’t see Apple abandoning this market and leaving it to its competitors. The iPod isn’t dead, but we are unlikely to see many new iPod products or innovations emerge over the coming years.

DOLBY’S VISION So what are we to make of Dolby’s latest technology – Dolby Vision? The company, well known for its audio technologies in noise reduction and surround-sound, has now moved into the imaging market. Dolby Vision is designed to improve picture quality of high definition and ultra high definition images by boosting brightness, contrast and colour. It’s designed for streaming video, broadcast video and games. Dolby Vision is an end-to-end system designed for content creation, transmission and playback. Dolby is a bit vague as to how Dolby Vision works, but it seems to be based on two video codecs, HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) and AVC (Advanced Video Coding). One codec forms the base layer – the basic image information, and the second - the enhancement layer - has additional data which boosts image quality. Reports from those who have seen Dolby Vision are that it’s impressive, but that’s no guarantee for success. Dolby needs a wide range of companies to support it, and while there are some impressive names backing Dolby Vision – including Microsoft, Netflix and Sharp – it needs many more than this. Dolby also faces competition from Technicolor, which has developed a rival image enhancement system called high dynamic range (HDR) imaging technology.

BIGGER BLU-RAY – NOT YET There was much excitement when Samsung Australia stated that four-layer Blu-ray discs, capable of storing up to 150GB of data, would arrive by the end of the year. However, the official response of Victor Matsuda, global promotions 24


committee chair of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), was more restrained. “As part of our ongoing responsibility to maintain Blu-ray Disc as the premium home HD platform...we continually examine how to fully leverage the format’s

capabilities,” he said. A BDA spokesperson told me: “The format’s extended capabilities will be announced as the specification approaches completion – but there is nothing specific to share with you yet.” In other words, don’t hold your breath.

From The Bench

Don’t take loudspeakers for granted in specification, installation or repair service, says Alan Bennett


f you brought back a TV service technician from the 1960s or 1970s, the only part of a modern TV he would recognise is the loudspeaker. And he would be amazed at its smallness. Since the advent of digital TV transmission and recording systems the sound reproduction has improved tremendously – so long as the loudspeakers are adequate to handle it! On-board speakers in modern thinscreen sets are not adequate, hence the fastestgrowing - sales-wise - accessory of recent times, the soundbar. Not as popular, but better sounding, are the surround sound systems whose multiple speakers bring to life movies and video games. The latest iteration of this is the 9.1/9.2 home surround sound system based on Dolby’s Atmos theatre format, introduced in 2012. Also now available for home cinema use is a transparentto-sound projection screen to facilitate perfect placement of the centre/speech loudspeaker. To a long-established technician like me the sheer number of watts involved in sound systems is amazing: a relatively small loudspeaker with a 100W rating; a tiddly class D (switch-mode) amplifier with a dual-channel output claimed at 20W or more total. I remember when we used a five-valve push-pull amplifier to raise 12W and applied it to a 10-inch or 12-inch speaker for room-filling sound. Now we sell people 950W outfits with no thought for the neighbours!


Apart from physical cone damage inflicted by people, the three most common loudspeaker faults are broken pigtails, off-centre cones and burned voice coils. Broken pigtails cause a speaker to fail, sometimes intermittently, and can often be repaired by carefully fitting a pigtail from another (scrap?) speaker. Off-centre

cones can be checked by pressing gently with fingertips splayed on opposite sides of the cone’s front: the effect of one side rubbing can be felt and sometimes heard. An off-centre cone causes sound distortion, typically only audible at low volume levels: turn the sound down and listen closely. A rubbing or sticking cone is often due to an overdriven (burned, distorted, warped) voice coil, typically in the very small speakers of a flatscreen TV whose user has turned the sound up very loud. If this happens again after repair, find some way of reducing the maximum sound level or install some kind of external speaker set. For loudspeaker faults generally meter and substitution tests quickly identify where the trouble lies, but in stereo or multichannel equipment it is vital that any replacement speaker is identical to the one that came out in order to maintain the sound matching.


Whether replacing a tiny speaker in a TV or wiring up a home cinema, it is vital to maintain the correct phasing or polarity in connecting it up: observe + and – markings. The speaker cone should move outwards when a 1.5V battery cell is connected to it, tip (+) to the + tag. If one speaker of a stereo pair is wrongly phased there is a lack of bass reproduction and a strange and unnatural effect on, for instance, male speech. Loudspeakers can be connected together when required. The impedances of those in series add - i.e. 4Ω + 4Ω = 8Ω - while a parallel connection provides a lower impedance - i.e. two of 8Ω gives 4Ω. Of course it is best to have an exact match between the specified output of the amplifier and the speakers in use, but there is some tolerance. Too high a speaker impedance does no harm, but reduces the power (hence maximum volume) available, while too low a speaker impedance increases the power and volume available, but risks damage to the amplifier and/or speaker at high settings of the user’s volume control. The quoted ratings in watts of both amplifiers and

KEF LS50 units

speakers can be very suspect, with even some reputable manufacturers overstating the reality to gain kudos and sales; there are many ways of arriving at these figures, the only true one being sustained RMS power, all channels driven together, at a reasonably low distortion level. Overdriving a loudspeaker causes sound distortion and internal overheating. Overloading an amplifier – either with too strong an input signal or too low a speaker impedance – leads to sound distortion and internal overheating: in both cases there is a high risk of damage and breakdown. Regarding speaker cable, if you or the customer want to specify an expensive and exotic type, good for you! Otherwise I use – and recommend – ordinary mains cable, 13A/1mm² for small installations, 24A/2.5mm² and 41A/6mm² for progressively bigger ones....


Most subwoofers these days have internal driver amplifiers, and many are cordless, cutting down on the hassle for both installers and users, though all the above (including the porky-pie possibilities regarding power output!) still apply to the amplifier and speaker, here relatively large and heavy. Because of the low frequencies involved the sound from a woofer is not at all directional, so that in most cases it can be placed anywhere in the listening room that is convenient. Because the power, glory and slam of home-cinema sound comes from the subwoofer all the other speakers can be relatively small. MARCH 2014 GET CONNECTED



Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry? Through my father. He was an exHoover employee and started his own repair business. I was just 15 when I began work in this business Why have you decided to sponsor the 2014 British Manufacturing & Retailing Awards (EMRAs)? It’s fresh, it’s new and somewhat different from other awards. Who in the industry would you like to spend time with at the 2014 British EMRAs event? The winners How would you describe yourself? Hardworking; family man; and determined How do you think others see you? I would hope in the same manner Do you have any hidden talents? Yes - being genuine What makes you laugh? My Boxer dogs

What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told? Wasn’t me, officer! What’s your greatest regret? Not being with my children when they were growing up What historic figure do you identify with most? Mussolini. Great cuisine!





Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change? Time management

He’s been in the electrical business all his working life. What sort of music do He’s hardworking, forthright and known for his skill at you like? identifying new opportunities (he was, after all, one of the Soul & Motown first sponsors of the 2014 British EMRAs!). On film, he’d Favourite quote? be comfortable in the role of a hard gangster, but he still “I want you to do this for me” daydreams about being able to take some time out to relax. He has a strong interest in horseracing, and Who has been the greatest influence in will also feel at home at Twickenham on May 15th your life? at the EMRA Awards Night, since his other My Mother enthusiasm outside work is rugby. Meet What do you daydream about? Adrian Gillman, MD of What tomorrow might bring distributor DAD.

Hobbies? Horse racing and rugby

Any bad habits? The odd cigarette


What’s your greatest achievement? Where I am today

What was the greatest turning point in your life? Losing my Father at just 15 years old

What’s your pet hate? Liars


Favourite holiday destination? Kenya

If you weren’t in your present position, what job would you choose to do? Train racehorses

What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you? Losing my parents

Favourite TV programme? Doc Martin

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Hopefully being able to enjoy a little time out

What surprises you? After being in this industry all my working life, very little surprises me Favourite cuisine? Indian, Bangladeshi You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice. What character would you like to play? Jason Statham You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day. What would be the first change you would make? Remove all speed cameras

What’s your greatest fear? Blue lights Who do you most admire? My parents. It was a struggle in the late 50s What motto do you live by? When I want your opinion, I will give it to you Tomorrow I will……. …..answer these questions completely differently.



REWARDING THE BEST OF BRITISH INDUSTRY Gala Dinner and Awards Evening 15 May 2014




Get Connected Magazine - March 2014  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Goods Industry (March 2014)