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Changing Seasons


Small Kitchen Appliances

Seasonal Cooking


Heating & Air Treatment


Pick of the Season Product Gallery



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Editorial Comment The Word

In and around the industry

The Product Gallery Opinion

Crimtan’s Paul Goad considers the process of product recalls

George Cole Gets Connected

Support for Ultra HD and the digital switchover dilemma

From the Bench

Alan Bennett provides all you need to know about HDMI coupling

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

Kitchen Appliances 18 Small Little treasures to make the season bright

Seasonal Cooking 21 Taking the stress out of seasonal entertaining of the Season 24 APick gallery of festive specials

27 TV/AV

The smart, and challenging, world of home entertainment

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Heating & Air Treatment 30 Warming up to winter






a different matter when it comes to buying the face of it, the philosophy does electrical goods in general and consumer seem to have some merit. It certainly electronics in particular. It’s our experience applies to the business of selling a political that Brits care a great deal about the stance to the mass of people in America. How appliances and devices they buy, and are quite else would it be possible, in a democracy that knowledgeable about what they want. relies on the votes of those masses, that the Underestimating the intelligence of the candidacy for the most powerful position in British public is something that retailers and the world should have been whittled down to manufacturers do at their peril. In the Internet Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? And that a age, information about products, prices and racist misogynist should actually be contesting performance is available in abundance, and the White House with a career politician whose the average consumer spends far more acquaintance with the truth has been exposed time gathering it before embarking on an as, at best, distant? electrical purchase than they do assessing Is it that one has touched a visceral, the personalities and policies of political unthinking chord in the dark psyche of candidates. America, while the other has simply relied on As choices – especially in consumer the lack of intelligence that H. L. Mencken has electronics, but generally across all electrical applied to the American public? There are polls goods – become wider and more complicated, gauging who is ahead of whom in popularity, respect for the consumer becomes even more when all the while the question should not be important. “who’s best?” but “how in heaven’s name could Most retailers have had the experience of the process have delivered us these two from dealing with customers whose knowledge all the people in the country?” of particular products rivals their own You may disagree. And, more to the point, professional expertise, and although this you may ask what any of this has to do with may sometimes be frustrating, it is always the electrical business in the UK. The British to be respected. We talk a great deal about don’t have a much better record of choosing “educating” the public. And all good retailers people to run the country, although we may know that, being in the educational prefer to be hoodwinked more subtly. front line, they need confident, The point is that, although the UK clear knowledge that doesn’t know, or want to know, actually achieves the too much about politics, and best solution for their may therefore be considered “Underestimating customers. as rather easy to fool, it’s Even customers the intelligence who ultimately of the British public rely on you for is something that expertise and help retailers and will know, when they get home manufacturers do with their purchase, at their peril.” whether it does what you said it will do. And they are far more likely to complain when it doesn’t than they are when a politician doesn’t deliver on promises made. We’re in an increasingly competitive and complicated business, but the customer is still king, because customers are our livelihood, and can, if we don’t serve them well, choose to go elsewhere. 4

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onsumer confidence returned to pre-Brexit levels in September as optimism for the general economic situation improved. GFK’s Consumer Confidence Index recorded a rise of six points to -1, with all measures showing gains. The index for personal finances for the year ahead rose three points

to 7, while sentiment on the general economic situation increased 13 points to -9. The personal savings index rose six points to -9 after posting a remarkable 16-point collapse the previous month. The major purchase index also edged up, rising 2 points to 9. Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, said British

consumers appear to have shrugged off Brexit fears about the economy as measures such as wages and employment continue to improve. He warned, however, that consumer optimism could be “misplaced”, stating that any kind of bad news, economic or political, could send the index “reeling once again.”


he number of shops opened in the UK in the first half of 2016 recorded a surprising fall of 15% on the second half of last year. According to figures from the Local Data Company, 20,804 shops opened between January and the end of June, reversing the trend seen in the previous six months.

Shop closures also fell in the first half of the year, down 5% to 22,801 and exceeding openings by 1,997. In the second half of 2015, openings exceeded closures by 335. The Local Data Company said the slowdown in openings was probably due to concerns about the global economy and Brexit.



udio retailer KJ West One has been appointed as London’s main product dealer for New York-based home entertainment and audio manufacturer McIntosh Laboratory. Located just off London’s Marylebone High Street, the 3,000ft² store has three purpose-built studios and a large open showcase area providing demonstration facilities for London’s biggest range of McIntosh equipment. Tim Jordan, owner of Jordan Acoustics, McIntosh’s UK distributor, said: “KJ’s demonstration facilities are arguably the best in the UK, making the centrally located store the ideal environment in which to experience McIntosh’s classleading product range.”



ohn Lewis reported sales up 4.5% to £2.02 billion for the first half of the year ended 30th July 2016, with strong like-for-like growth of 3.1%. Operating profit fell by 31.2% to £32.4 million with more than half of the decline due to transitioning costs in its distribution network and increases in pay to maintain differentials.

The retailer said the balance of the reduction reflected the continued shift to online and a

market dynamic of competitive pricing, both of which it expects will continue into the second half. Electricals & Home Technology sales rose 8.4%, driven by the computing and tablet category (up 8.7%), mobile phones and the John Lewis Smart Home concept in Oxford Street. Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the

John Lewis Partnership, said: “Despite unpredictable customer sentiment and long-term structural challenges faced by the retail industry, we are confident that our ongoing investments and our omnichannel strategy will position us to outperform the market in the critical second half where the majority of our sales and profit are delivered.”


shop prices recovered slightly from the 2.0% decline in August to record year-onyear deflation of 1.8% in September. Non-food deflation decelerated to 2.1% from 2.5% in August, while food

deflation accelerated to a record low, falling 1.3% in September from 1.1% in the prior month, representing the highest year-on-year fall recorded by the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index. Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief

Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “We are now in the 4th year of falling shop prices, so the record-setting run of shop price deflation continues, which is great news for consumers.

“This is as a direct result of the intense competition and transformational change in the retail industry, with consumers having access to more choices and greater ability to compare prices than ever before.”

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igital radio business Pure has been sold to Austrian company AVenture AT GmbH for a cash sum of £2.6 million. The deal marks AVenture’s first investment in a consumer electronics brand, and in the UK.

Pure parent Imagination Technologies Group plc said the business, with its assets and liabilities, is being sold on a cash- and debt-free basis and the Austrian buyer has also been granted an option to acquire one of the Group’s properties in Kings

Langley, Hertfordshire for £4.5 million. The cash will be used to reduce the Group’s debts. In the year to 30 April 2016, Pure’s loss before tax was £7.9 million. The business had gross assets of £5.2 million.

Imagination Technologies said that the sale of other non-core cash consuming activities is progressing with ongoing discussions with several interested parties. A small part of IMG Systems was sold in September for a minimal consideration.

GOVERNMENT ASKS WHIRLPOOL TO EXPLAIN ITS STANCE ON FAULTY TUMBLE DRYERS A Government select committee has written to Whirlpool asking if it intends to change its advice to consumers on the use of faulty Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda tumble dryers and, if not, to explain why not.

“This fire has highlighted just how dangerous faulty white goods can be.”

Whirlpool has stated since the safety notice was issued for the products almost a year ago that consumers can continue to use

The Shepherd’s Bush flat after the fire



them provided they are not left unattended during operation. Since then, there have been numerous incidents involving the appliances. This latest move by the Government followed a call from London Fire Brigade for Whirlpool to change its guidance after a fire caused by a faulty Indesit dryer in an 18-storey high-rise block in Shepherd’s Bush during August damaged flats on five floors of the building (See GC’s September issue). Mid September, lain Wright MP, Chair of the Business, lnnovation & Skills Committee, wrote to Whirlpool UK Managing Director Maurizio Pettorino requesting an update on the situation concerning the repair of the faulty products. In his letter he referred to correspondence between the two in February this year in which Pettorino had said it would take 10 weeks to schedule a repair date, and that dates for repairs were

© Photograph: London Fire Brigade

being scheduled out to January 2017. “You also said you were ‘confident that this timeline will be reduced’ as you continued to register customers and recruit more engineers and call centre staff,” the MP wrote. Mr Wright added that a Which? article in April reiterated Pettorino’s confidence that waiting times would reduce, but he noted that some customers were still having to wait until January 2017 for repairs to take place. “Given that a number of months have passed,” the MP said he would welcome an update on what progress has been made in reducing waiting times for customers to get replacements; whether it still takes 10 weeks to schedule a repair date and, if so, why this delay; how many customers are still awaiting repairs, and what the timeframe is for completing them. “I have personally had constituents writing to me to express concerns about difficulties in arranging replacements and in dealing with your customer service desk,” he wrote. “More importantly, the risk posed by faulty dryers is also clearly apparent, as demonstrated by a potentially fatal tower block blaze in London in August 2016, which London Fire Brigade attributed to a faulty lndesit tumble dryer. “ln light of this, I would like to understand whether you intend to change your customer advice, given London Fire Brigade has urged that customers should not use their appliance until it has

been checked and repaired. lf not, please explain why not.” Mr Wright also expressed concern that the problem with the dryers only came to light after the completion of the acquisition of lndesit by Whirlpool and said he would welcome an explanation as to why lndesit had not previously been aware of or acted upon the fire risk. London Fire Brigade reiterated its call for Whirlpool to change its advice to consumers in October after a six-week investigation into the cause of the tower block fire, stating that it “strongly disagrees” with the company’s advice and urging anyone with one of the models in question to immediately unplug the machine and stop using it. The Brigade’s Director of Operations Dave Brown said: “This fire has highlighted just how dangerous faulty white goods can be. Disappointingly, though, Whirlpool have still not changed their advice to consumers. “Following the conclusion of our investigation we are now appealing once again for them to change their advice and bring it into line with our own. “Thankfully, there were no serious injuries in the Shepherd’s Bush fire but we may not be so lucky if it happens again.” Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility Margot James MP has now said she will write to Whirlpool to set out her concerns and expectations.




amsung Electronics has said it expects a rise of 5.6% for the third quarter of 2016, despite a widespread recall of its Galaxy Note7 smartphones. In its earnings guidance for the July to September period, the company said operating profit was expected to be around KRW 7.8 trillion on sales of KRW 49 trillion. Analysts had predicted lower earnings for the quarter due the Note7 problem. However, a strong performance in the Korean manufacturer’s chip and display business is likely to offset the impact of the product recall. Samsung recalled the smartphones early in September after reported incidents with faulty batteries.



ohn Lewis Managing Director Andy Street is to step down from his role after being selected as the official Conservative Party candidate to run for West Midlands Mayor. Street, who was raised in Birmingham, joined the John Lewis Partnership after graduating from Oxford with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics in 1985. He became Managing Director of the John Lewis Division in 2007. He will leave his MD role on 28 October. The John Lewis Partnership said his successor will be announced in due course.




orfolk-based technology distributor Midwich, which launched onto the London Stock Exchange AIM market in May his year, has reported a strong set of maiden interim results as a public company, with year-on-year revenues rising 12% for the six months ended 30 June 2016 to £158.4m and adjusted operating profit up 23% to £7.9m. The company said it saw particularly encouraging growth outside the UK, with France up 43% and Germany up 23%. Sales in the UK and Ireland grew 7%. Midwich Chairman Andrew Herbert said: “Traditionally, the Group’s financial performance tends to be slightly weighted towards the second half of the year, which we anticipate will be the case in the current year. Whilst it is still very early days, the uncertainties that have followed the Brexit vote so far appear to have had minimal impact on our business.”


loucestershire-based Domestic Appliance Distributors has won the Sirius Buying Group Distributor of the Year Award 2016. The Award was presented at a dinner event following the Buying Group’s annual Tradeshow at the Forest of Arden Marriott

Hotel and Country Club. Receiving the accolade, DAD Managing Director Adrian Gillman commented: “Our longstanding partnership with the Sirius Group provides an integral framework for the success of the relationship between the two Groups.

“Receiving the Distributor of the Year Award is certainly a great honour for the entire DAD sales and distribution organisation. One of the company’s key strengths is its dedicated staff, whose teamwork has played a major part in the DAD success story.”

SMEG WINS SECOND HOOVER CANDY SECURES SIRIUS SIRIUS BUYING MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR AWARD GROUP AWARD Hoover Candy picked up the Smeg has won the Sirius Buying Group SDA Supplier of the Year Award 2016, its second accolade from the Group in two years. Last year the Italian brand was recognised as best MDA supplier. The company said this year’s win in the SDA category acknowledges its aim to develop a long-lasting relationship with the Sirius Group. Smeg UK managing director Mike Giddings said: “As a longstanding supporter and loyal supplier to the Sirius Group we are delighted to receive this award and constantly strive to build our relationship year on year. “We are extremely proud of our innovative new SDA range and are extremely pleased to see this new channel turn into such a strong commercial success.”

Manufacturer of the Year Award for the third time at this year’s Sirius Buying Group Awards, against competition from eleven other brands. Steve Macdonald, marketing director of the Hoover freestanding division, said: “We’ve been a member of the Sirius Buying Group for 14 of the 15 years it’s been established and consider it a key strategic partner for our business and appreciate its ongoing support and recognition. “It’s a real testament to all the ongoing hard work Sharon Hamer, head of the sales team, and our field- and office-based teams put in on a day-to-day basis and is an accolade we’re very proud to have achieved.”







lectrical and housewares distributor RKW has declared this year’s Autumn Fair a success for the company, evidenced by “a significant rise in trade orders.” RKW said it enjoyed an increase in sales enquires across several newly launched ranges, with those from audio specialist Akai, which debuted its DYNMX and Retro ranges, and products from Carmen’s celebrity endorsed ‘Carmen by Samantha’ range encouraging an increase in footfall to the stand. The distributor said its stand was “a hive of activity” across the three days of the show which took place in September at Birmingham’s NEC.


ohn Lewis has opened its first store in Essex in Chelmsford’s new £150 million Bond Street development. The outlet has 90,000 sq ft of selling space over three floors and stocks in excess of 65,000 products. Its interior design pays homage to the city’s heritage as the birthplace of radio. Various references including On Air signs and microphones can be found on display throughout the space. The store represents an £18 million investment by John Lewis. 300 staff from Chelmsford and the surrounding area have been recruited.

 SHORTCUTS AEG’s ProSource 3-in-1 kitchen tap range received a silver award in the Best Kitchen Product category at the House Beautiful Awards 2016. GDHA brand Stoves received a top award at this year’s House Beautiful Awards with its Richmond 1100Ei range cooker in Soho Green winning gold in the Best White Goods category. Hotpoint has launched a TV advertising campaign to promote its new collection of builtin ovens. It follows the brand’s sponsorship of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch and is part of a range of cross channel activities. NEFF has provided appliances for 7 Wonder’s new cooking series My Kitchen Rules UK. The products will be used by the Channel 4 show’s contestants in the Kitchen Headquarters during the regional cook-offs, semi-finals and final.

Smeg UK has appointed two Regional Sales Managers for the independent retail channel. Keith Hayes, who formerly worked for GDHA, will cover the North West and West Midlands. Daniel Heath has been appointed to the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands region.

Keith Hayes


Daniel Heath


“This year’s Autumn Fair has been one of our best yet and visitors to our stand responded very positively to our new products,” commented RKW Managing Director Rob Sutton. The Autumn Fair attracts in excess of 1,400 exhibitors and 27,000 visitors. Next year’s show takes place from 3rd to 6th September at the NEC.

Left to right: Melinda Von Horvath, Gordon Dutch, John Potts and Keith Dutch

Managing Director of Peerless-AV EMEA Gordon Dutch has stepped down from his role to become a part time Non-Executive Director of the business. He will remain on the Main Global Advisory Board in the US and will be active in assisting with the long-term strategy and marketing of the business. He will be succeeded by Keith Dutch, who has been promoted to the role. Melinda Von Horvath joins the Peerless-AV EMEA main board as Sales Director, reporting to Keith Dutch.

The Sirius Buying Group has appointed KBB PR consultancy Publicity Engineers to increase its exposure within the trade. NEFF has been named one of the UK’s coolest brands in the 2016 CoolBrands listing. Leisure is offering up to £200 cash back on its 90cm, 100cm and 110cm range cookers in a promotion tying in with the festive sales period. The activity runs to 11th January 2017 at participating retailers and is applicable to 39 models. Digital radio brand VQ has partnered with Bauer Media to support a number of initiatives across the media company’s most successful radio stations. VQ said the partnership forms a cornerstone of ambitious promotional plans through the autumn and into the Christmas peak trading period.

Dr Philip Morton will retire from his position as REPIC CEO at the end of the year, but will be retained for all non-UK activities for organisations such as the WEEE Forum and WEEE Europe. He will be succeeded by Mark Burrows-Smith (pictured). TANNOY parent company MUSIC has announced the appointment of James Bradbury as Vice President of its Lifestyle Division. Montpellier Domestic Appliances has appointed Russell Hollins, former Sales Director of the Hoover Candy Group, to the role of Channel Director for kitchen specialists and builders merchants.

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STEEL EXPANDS PARTNERSHIP WITH ICONIC FRENCH BRAND LE CREUSET Italian appliance brand Steel’s partnership with classic French crockery and ovenware brand Le Creuset has spawned a second limited edition collection of range cookers. The new models join Steel’s customisable Genesi collection and are available in Amethyst, Mineral Blue, Sisal and Cotton, in a choice of 70cm, 90cm, 100cm or 120cm widths. j | 01275 343000

BRITANNIA LIVING INTRODUCES INTEGRATED DISHWASHER Britannia Living has expanded its portfolio of appliances with the addition of a fully integrated 60cm dishwasher. The 14 place setting Britannia Cascata has an A+++ energy rating, eight wash cycles, including economy and rapid wash, and six temperature levels. j

SMEG INTRODUCES BOTTLE TO GO BLENDER ACCESSORY Smeg has produced a travel bottle for its BLF01 blender so users can easily take freshly blended drinks with them on their daily commute. The 600ml Bottle to Go replaces the blender’s standard jug and works in the same manner. The accessory is constructed of BPA–free Tritan™, which is lightweight and made from impact-resistant plastic. The Smeg logo is carried on both the bottle and cap. j



PHILIPS ACTIONFIT WIRELESS FREEDOM EARPHONES Philips ActionFit Wireless Freedom earphones have been created for listening to music while training or working out. Bluetooth capability makes them tangle free to use, and a lightweight build and three choices of earbud ensure they stay in place while users are on the move. j


CAPLE INTRODUCES DOWNDRAFT EXTRACTOR WITH PLASMA TECHNOLOGY Caple’s DD940BK induction hob incorporates a downdraft extractor with environment-friendly plasma technology. The new model uses the technology to purify the air and eliminate odours and is fully integrated into the 90cm frameless induction hob. It has a maximum extraction rate of 650m3/hr, four speed options and an auto timer that ensures extraction continues for a set period after cooking is complete. j

HISENSE UNVEILS NEW 4K HDR TELEVISIONS Hisense has added to its growing line of Ultra High Definition TVs with two new models. The M5500 (silver) and K5510 (black) are said to offer spectacular build quality and exceptional performance, with HDR and 4K, plus 4K upscaling ability. The 65-inch units hold a competitive price of £899 which, according to Hisense, means they offer “truly premium performance for £400 less than their closest competitors.” j

ONE FOR ALL LAUNCHES VOICE CLEAR TECHNOLOGY TV HEADPHONES One For All has launched a new range of TV headphones with Voice Clear Technology that dims background noise and enhances the voice spectrum. Model HP 1030 (£49.99), pictured, is a wireless set with 40mm speaker drivers and a range of up to 100 metres. Multiple wireless TV headphones can be connected simultaneously to the same network. j

NEW BUILT-IN COOLING DUO FROM WHIRLPOOL Whirlpool has introduced a new pair of premium built-in cooling products that can be coupled together to give the impression of a sideby-side appliance. The new Larder fridge (ARG 18083/A++) and Freezer (AFB 1843/A+NF) are available in the UK from October 2016. Both incorporate Whirlpool’s 6th Sense® technology for optimum performance. j




HOW TO MAKE THE PROCESS OF PRODUCT RECALLS LESS PAINFUL a certain degree of luck to allow them to reach their customer base. It doesn’t need to be this way. Electronic manufacturers and retailers have the necessary data – they just need to better understand how it can be utilised. To address the recall challenge, brands need to start with multiple data sources for more accurate user targeting.



he average success of an electrical product recall in the UK is just 1020%, according to safety experts. This means that there are probably millions of potentially dangerous recalled electrical items still in UK homes. Just recently, Sony announced that Panasonic lithium-ion battery packs installed in 18 models of Sony’s VAIO Series laptop computers can overheat, causing burn and fire hazards. While last year, large air-vented dryers and condensing dryers under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands made headlines after the manufacturer admitted they were dangerous. But has anyone taken action? As most of these types of electrical products are recalled because they present a risk of electric shock or electrical fire, it’s vital that consumers are made aware. Recently, consumer group Which? said nearly 12,000 fires in the past three years in Britain had been the fault of defective white goods and kitchen equipment. However, ensuring that every customer sees the product recall announcements can be incredibly complex. While an independent review of UK consumer product recall, carried out by Lynn Faulds Wood earlier this year, recommends a national product safety agency and centralised online list of all recalls, brands are still having to rely on



Once all these data points have been established and optimised, electronic brands then need the right creative to ensure their message not only stands out but collects more valuable data in the process. Examples of digital creative which may allow a brand to apologise, capture further data and then reward consumer loyalty could include an interactive recall checker. This would ask for the make, model or serial number, and could then be followed up by a competition mechanic retargeted to affected owners. As many brands across all industry sectors have discovered to their cost, the most important element of any recall or issue affecting the safety or performance of a product is trust. If the consumer feels they’ve been communicated with in an open and honest way, there is less chance of erosion in brand trust. These first steps to implementing a recall marketing strategy are therefore essential and require effective and targeted use of multiple data sources, good creative and an overall campaign monitoring programme. Get it right and consumers are more likely to forgive a brand its mistakes. Get it wrong and it could impact your business for years to come.

“As many brands across all industry sectors have discovered to their cost, the most important element of any recall or issue affecting the safety or performance of a product is trust.“

Data sources such as warranty registers and finance details plus advanced postcode targeting should be mixed with real-time data, retargeting people who have visited sections of a retailer’s website or used a particular keyword search relating to information about the brand or recall. From registered addresses and postcode data, localised geo-targeting can be optimised so that areas with a high probability of someone owning an affected fridge, washing machine or other electrical appliance can be reached with greater accuracy using targeted advertisements delivered across different digital touch points. Ownership data points such as brand, model, age of appliance, in-store registrations and online purchasing information should be optimised and used for better targeting. The efficiency of reaching users via this data can be increased by overlaying other targeting parameters such as lifestyle, age, gender and socio-economic information. This can be further enhanced via social media sites, according to defined views of owner interests and what they share online.

The views expressed by the author of this column are not necessarily those held by Get Connected magazine





ast your mind back ten years ago, when Sony supported the new Blu-ray format, and Toshiba was pushing the HD-DVD format. Both sides were hoping their format would win the battle for the next generation of home video discs. Microsoft launched an HD-DVD add-on for its Xbox console, but Sony put a Bluray disc drive in its newly launched PS3 console. It did the trick. Nearly 90 million PS3 consoles were sold, which meant that many millions of homes had a Blu-ray

Disc player sitting under their television. This helped to raise awareness and grow the Blu-ray Disc market. However, this time around Microsoft has put a UHD Blu-ray drive in its latest console, the Xbox One S, but Sony has only included a standard Blu-ray drive in the new PS4 Pro. The decision has caused a lot of head-scratching amongst consumers and industry observers, not least because Sony is seen as a Blu-ray champion, having launched UHD TVs,


big bang or a long, slow crawl? Governments and industry bodies around the globe are wrestling with the best way to switch radio services over to digital. The UK has gone for the slow crawl option, specifying that when a 50% threshold for digital listening has been reached, the switchover process can be triggered. It’s a process that has taken years, and even now few would bet on a switchover date being reached in the near future. By contrast, the Norwegians have gone for the big bang method. In 2015, the government announced that national analogue radio services would switch to digital by the end of 2017. The process starts this January, and rolls out across the country, ending in December 2017. By all accounts, the decision was viewed positively when announced, as consumers saw that digital was the future for radio. But now that the date is edging ever closer, attitudes are

UHD Blu-ray players and UHD Blu-ray films (through its Sony Pictures arm). So, why the change of heart? According to Sony, streaming is the way to go, and the company offers streaming games and movie platforms – its new 4K movie streaming service (launched in the US) is called Ultra. The PS4 Pro includes 4K streaming functionality. There’s no doubt that more and more people are streaming movies rather than playing them on discs, but I do feel Sony has made a strategic error in not promoting Ultra HD Blu-ray across all of its product range. Looking at consumer forums, a fair number of people had planned to purchase the PS4 Pro as a means of acquiring an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, as happened with standard Bluray. Sadly, this won’t happen, and Sony says it will not be offering an Ultra HD firmware update for the PS4 Pro’s Bluray drive.

DILEMMA changing. It’s estimated that some 15 million analogue radios in homes and cars will need replacing, and many consumers are not happy about this. An opinion poll has found that 65% of those asked were opposed to the switchover, with just 16% in favour. Opposition politicians - who were previously in favour of the move - are now calling for a pause or a slow down to the switchover process. Some have cited safety issues – drivers with defunct FM radios would not be able to receive weather reports or news on national emergencies. From where I’m sitting, expecting consumers to replace all their analogue radios or buy adaptors for their car radios within a two-year time frame is asking a lot, despite the benefits digital radio will bring. On the other hand, the UK’s approach lacks focus and there’s less incentive for consumers to move

“From where I’m sitting, expecting consumers to replace all their analogue radios or buy adaptors for their car radios within a two-year time frame is asking a lot...”

over to digital. The optimum system would seem to be somewhere between the Norwegian and UK systems, with a clear date set, but not too soon in the future. However, it’s hard to see how either territory can now step back from the path it’s chosen to take. OCTOBER 2016 GET CONNECTED





ntroduced fourteen years ago, the HDMI coupling system has gone through several progressive iterations. While each step forward had backward compatibility, older equipment cannot (with a few exceptions where manufacturers provided hardware and/or software updates) cope with the new technologies and features available. It can be like a jungle in practice!


HDMI uses three sets of screened twistedpair cables (TDMS 0, 1 and 2) to convey very high speed digital vision and sound data in uncompressed form, along with control, ‘housekeeping’ and auxiliary data. Other conductors carry clock pulses and control datastreams, 5V power and a ‘here I am’ flag to initiate communication by the signal source. Time-interleaved video and audio data travels in all three TDMS channels at rates of up to 18Gbps.

In sales and installation scenarios the biggest question that arises is that of compatibility between old and new equipment. Each progressive version of HDMI is fully compatible with earlier ones, but the older a TV is the less likely are its chances of coping with the datastreams coming from current richly-featured disc players, internet boxes and broadcast platforms... The oldest TVs you are likely to encounter in customers’ homes may date from ten years ago, fitted for HDMI v1.3, capable of HD up to 10.2Gbps speed; it provided support for Dolby DTS-HD and True HD sound, and featured auto-sound/ picture lip-sync feature – which did not work very well in practice! In the spring of 16


2009 HDMI v1.4 was introduced, and continued until 2013, so this is the most common version on TV sets in current use. Its maximum speed remained at 10.2Gbps and it could not handle frame rates above 30Hz for HD or 24Hz for UHD, with 8-bit colour. New features in HDMI v1.4 were 3D support; audio return facility; and ethernet networking ability. v1.4 and above work OK with Dolby Atmos sound. HDMI 2.0, featured in TV sets and other equipment up to about three years old, upped the data throughput to a maximum of 18Gbps. This facilitated several enhancements and features: UHD pictures (2160p50 and 2160p60); 10–12-bit colour depth; up to 32 uncompressed audio soundstreams; 1536Khz audio sampling; dual video streaming and multistream sound delivery; 21:9 aspect ratio support; better lip-sync management; and enhanced CEC (remote and interequipment control) facilities. It’s fully compatible with current UHD transmissions from Sky and the internet, and with the latest Blu-ray disc players. About the only thing HDMI 2.0 misses out on is provision for standardised HDR (High Dynamic Range, see page 26, Jan/Feb 2016 issue). This is catered for in HDMI v2.0a, introduced in summer 2015. Some manufacturers such as Panasonic, Samsung and Sony have available firmware upgrades for this, applicable to late-model TVs.

For any problems with HDMI or HDCP ensure that the equipment’s software/ firmware is fully up to date then consult the manufacturer for advice. They are not known for strenuous efforts to update older equipment...


Sometimes an auxiliary box, usually an audio processor, is interposed between an HDMI source and sink, e.g. a TV, to utilise the sound signals in the HDMI datastream. These too have to be specified for the HDMI and HDCP data they carry, and may sometimes have to be removed and replaced by a direct link, e.g. for UHD coupling. In these cases the problem may be resolved by taking the audio feed direct from the TV or recorder by an optical (TOS) link.

“About the only thing HDMI 2.0 misses out on is provision for standardised HDR...”


High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection is very much a part of HDMI; it protects the studios from piracy in a very secure way, allowing viewing but not recording in forms other than permitted ones such as the Sky box, whose replay contains the same copy protection. HDCP uses a unique series of 40 keys, each 56 bits long, and only authorised display equipment can interpret them after a handshake with the programme source. The latest version is HDCP v2.2.


HDMI cables all have the same connections and plug pinning, so will generally work across all versions of the HDMI system – the HDMI and HDCP magic is performed in the chips behind the sockets, not in the connecting wires. Only with long, cheap or old cables are problems likely to arise, for instance with UHD signals. For these ‘fast’ cables are available with superior bandwidth throughput. The standard HDMI plug has 19 connectors and is 19mm across, but smaller types are used in miniature equipment such as cameras, dashcams, smartphones and tablets. The mini (type C) is 11.2mm wide, while the micro, type D measures just 6.4mm wide. Adaptors between these can be had in cable and block form. Also available are 90° plugs for wall mounting. Wireless HDMI senders are on the market, but check their capability for advanced applications. There’s a wide range of HDMI splitters and switchboxes, the latter with manual and auto-switching, whereby turning a box on, out of standby or into play pulls the TV over to its signal via the CEC control line. These are mainly applicable to older TV models where there are more HDMI sources than sockets to take them. Again their specification needs to be matched to the signals they are used with in terms of HDMI/ HDCP rating, especially with the latest features like UHD. Scart-to-HDMI convertors can be used to match a cherished VCR to a TV with no suitable socket. HDMI A to C swivel adaptor


Changing Seasons Inside...

Small Kitchen Appliances

Seasonal Cooking


Heating & Air Treatment PLUS:

Pick of the Season

A selection of products for the festive quarter


AEG’s GourmetPro food-prep range


ccording to Mintel, Britain’s households chopped, whisked and blended their way to a recordbreaking £897 million worth of small kitchen appliances in 2015, and the researcher estimates that sales will reach £976 million in 2016. Of course, the festive season generally brings an uplift in sales of small appliances so it is a prime time for retailers, whether consumers are buying

shows have motivated consumers to cook from scratch, subsequently raising the demand for appliances that make food preparation easier and quicker. “High levels of prime time television exposure for cookery, including The Great British Bake Off, MasterChef and The Hairy Bikers, is creating interest in top-of-the-range food preparation equipment, and healthy

The Small Kitchen Appliance market has developed into an important sector for the kitchen appliance industry, with innovative technologies and design lifting sales of high-end products and offering good margins for retailers. Past years have seen exponential growth, following a period in which many independents moved away from the sector as it was gatecrashed by the supermarkets offering goods such as kettles and toasters for under a tenner apiece. Nowadays, it is driven by a number of factors, and products range from the essential to the aspirational. products for themselves with the prospect of Christmas entertaining in mind, or as gifts for friends or family. Dominik Pytel, Marketing Director at Groupe SEB UK, says: “This was certainly the case in 2015 and this year will be no different. Whilst coffee machines and food preparation products always perform well during the run-up sales period, co-ordinated small kitchen appliances record increased sales as consumers look to buy high design, functional gifts that will brighten up their family and friends’ homes.”


The small kitchen appliance market owes much of its recent success to our illustrious broadcasters, whose cooking and baking 18


eating trends have helped drive demand for blenders, liquidisers and juicers,” comments Jane Westgarth, Senior Retail Analyst at Mintel. Health & nutrition has certainly had a powerful influence on the market, particularly over the past five years. According to Mintel, appliances such as liquidisers, juicers and blenders have been “star performers.” Sales of these products have increased 145% in the last five years, reaching an estimated £225 million in 2015.

Juicers, which had fallen out of favour with consumers, were estimated to have reached £22 million, and sales of liquidisers have grown by almost 50% to £70 million. Mintel research also reveals that health grills made something of a comeback, increasing 30%, up from £43 million in 2011 to an estimated £56 million in 2015.


SKA enjoys a diverse collection of product categories – from fun items such as popcorn and cup cake makers, everyday necessities such as kettles and toasters, health products such as grills and personal blenders through to professional-style food prep and baking equipment and, of course, the must-have coffee machine. Mintel estimates that the market for coffee machines grew to £148 million last year. “Some 13% of Brits bought a coffee capsule or pod drink maker in 2015, up from 8% in 2013,” says Mintel’s Westgarth. “Meanwhile, 11% of Brits bought a filter coffee machine in 2015, up from 5% who did so in 2013. Consumers are willing to pay premium prices for small kitchen appliances that help them create the same kind of indulgent food and drinks they have become accustomed to in restaurants and coffee shops. Furthermore, falling prices have made coffee machines accessible to a wider audience, while special deals during key selling seasons have boosted volumes of coffee makers at discounted prices.”

“Today, our passion for cooking is heating up the market…”

Out of a freezer? Nothing beats biting into a slice of my own home-made pizza, fresh from the oven. With an indulgent and delicious sauce made with slow roasted vine tomatoes, whizzed in the blender with a handful of basil leaves and spread generously on the lightest of doughs, topped with the finest Italian salami and melt in the mouth buffalo mozzarella. The best tasting pizza, with all the flavours I enjoy and love, thanks to my Kenwood Chef. The blender and dough hook are just two of over 20 attachments designed to help you create your Chef, your way. Tell us your way at /Kenwood_Official

20+ attachments to feed your creativity.

Up to £125** worth FREE for a limited period only*

Model Shown Chef Sense with optional glass bowl & blender Purchase a qualifying product from the Kenwood Chef kitchen machine range, spending within one of the minimum spend levels in a single transaction* in the UK at any participating retailer or via the UK Kenwood website,, between 1 November – 31 December 2016 and claim your free attachment(s)** while stocks last. UK residents 18+ only. Redeem online or by post. Limit one (1) redemption of free attachment(s) per transaction. Free attachments in this promotion cannot be returned, exchanged for cash or for any alternative products. *Qualifying products – KM or KV models numbers only. Minimum spend levels: level 1 (£291-£440) up to £75; level 2 (£441-£590) up to £100; level 3 (£591 or over) up to £125. Minimum spend levels cannot be achieved by combining the purchase of multiple products. **Value of free attachment(s) varies depending on minimum spend level. See terms and conditions online at for full details of participating retailers, purchases and redemption conditions.


“Small kitchen appliances make great in-store Christmas displays”

an app that provides advanced demonstrations on how to cook preset recipes. It lets users send additional recipes straight to the appliance, personalise recipes, comment on their favourites, and suggests alterations and enhancements to suit their tastes. Recipes can also be shared with friends and family.



SKA is also a sector in which products drift in and out of fashion and there is always something new to look forward to. One of the up-and-coming gadgets of 2016 is the spiralizer, which lets users create low calorie and lower carbohydrate alternatives to pasta. Food dehydrators are also on the rise, according to homewares product specialist Designer Habitat, and equipment such as pressure cookers and food steamers have been tipped by the company as “likely to re-emerge with upgraded technology for added convenience.” As consumers turn to more heartwarming dishes during the colder months, interest in easy to use, multifunctional products such as slow cookers and multicookers also tends to rise. According to Morphy Richards, the slow cooker category is one of the best performing sectors over the festive season, and it is one that the brand continues to dominate. The company says its performance has been fortified by delivering products that respond directly to consumers’ needs – making items 20


easy to clean, adaptable for storage and simple to use – features that are present in the brand’s Sear and Stew Compact Slow Cooker, which browns, sears and stews in a single 4.5L pot. The appliance also has a base that can be placed inside the cooking pot when not in use, making the product more compact to store. Last Christmas, Morphy Richards introduced the Supreme Precision 10-in-1 Multicooker, which creates a wide variety of dishes via a user-friendly digital display and ten food-prep settings to take much of the hassle out of cooking meals that are more complex. Making life easier for home cooks is a prime objective for SKA manufacturers, as evidenced by Tefal’s Cook4Me, which the brand describes as “similar to having your very own personal assistant in the kitchen.” This appliance takes the guesswork out of cooking, with simple step-by-step instructions and automatic timings making the process trouble free. The latest version, Cook4Me Connect, allows the cooking functions and processes to be controlled from any room in the home via

Smeg’s SJF01 slow juicer is available in a choice of four colours

“For many Brits, owning a small kitchen appliance is something of a status symbol, allowing consumers the pleasure of ownership as well as a way to demonstrate that they have food and drink knowledge when inviting guests into the house,” says Mintel’s Westgarth. “Demand for stylish, added-value appliances is growing and there is plenty of evidence of growth at the premium end of the market. “Today our passion for cooking is heating up the market, as two in five (41%) Brits say they cook from scratch most days, allowing them to control levels of ingredients such as salt, fat and sugar. But proving that it’s not just the power of the appliance that matters, 30% of those who bought kitchen appliances in the year to September 2015 say they looked for a modern look when purchasing, and 29% said a design that co-ordinates with other appliances in their kitchen was important.” Tefal is hoping to capitalise on this demand for co-ordinated appliances with its Maison Breakfast range, which was produced in collaboration with design studio Seymourpowell. Groupe SEB’s Pytel says the range is designed with “a nostalgic nod to the past with modern day needs in mind.” It comprises a stainless steel kettle and toaster in a choice of four colours: Chalkboard Black, Oatmeal Grey, Sage Green and Pomegranate Red.


Small kitchen appliances make great in-store Christmas displays, particularly co-ordinated ranges that offer a pop of eye-catching festive colour. Richard Vallis, Head of Product/Brand & Marketing, Small Domestic Appliances & Floorcare for AEG, advises: “In order to really showcase the range of small appliances that retailers have to offer, a dedicated space needs to be allocated. From here, the perfect mix of small kitchen appliances can be selected and arranged, including working demonstration models, creating an ideal sales platform for the collection.” Vallis says AEG can support retailers with this, advising them on the top product ranges with the largest market relevance, “plus how to best display and showcase the products to grab the consumer’s attention.”


Stoves Richmond 900Ei range cooker with induction hob

The electrical industry relies on the change of the seasons, each one bringing a new focus for consumers, particularly the shift from summer to autumn when needs, desires and aspirations are driven by the prospect of Christmas. Thoughts quickly turn from leisurely summer pursuits and outdoor cooking to the warmth and comforts of the home; and, inevitably, the entertaining of family and friends over the forthcoming festive season.


ut for those that don’t possess the cooking abilities of the Nigellas and Jamies of this world, the Christmas cook-in can add anxiety to what is already a stressful, albeit wonderful, time of the year. Expectations are high, and every host wants the best for their guests so they can relax and enjoy the festivities. Screeching smoke alarms and overcooked food are not welcome features of this joyous event.


For the cooking market, the fourth quarter of the year generally brings dividends in a number of categories. Kelly Penn, marketing manager for Hoover Candy Baumatic, quotes AMDEA figures showing a rise of 41.6% in built-in single electric multifunction ovens in November last year – one of the biggest volume increases in the sector. Throughout 2016, this category has continued to demonstrate double-digit growth year on year, as has the market for electric multifunction double ovens.

Penn maintains that both single and double ovens are strong candidates for the replacement market, and the prospect of entertaining at Christmas is often the prime reason for consumers to replace old for new. And she rightly points out that many consumers may not have purchased an oven for a decade or more, giving retailers the ideal opportunity to explain the developments that have advanced today’s ovens sector, and to highlight the widely accessible and affordable technologies that at one time were exclusive only to high-end products and premium brands. Charles Bernstein, Whirlpool Category Manager for Built-in, also expects the season of goodwill to help lift sales in the cooking category. “As consumers gear up for the festive period, it is anticipated that the market will continue to grow in the fourth quarter,” he comments. “Cooking appliances that save time, reduce energy consumption and simplify the cooking process are jumping to the top of the consumer’s wish list.”

A fine

f estivh e finis


Bernstein also notes that many consumers in the market for updating their cooking appliances in time for the holiday season will be unaware of the enormous advances in technology. “According to secondary research by Whirlpool UK Appliances, the average ownership of an oven is 17 years. As it has probably been a while since the customer has entered the retail space and purchased a cooking appliance, education on the new developments and advanced technology available is imperative. The kitchen is the focus and social hub of the home and it is important for appliances to make cooking less of a chore, leaving consumers the time and opportunity to concentrate on their guests. “Intelligent technology has already taken much of the stress out of cooking, and consumers should be looking for appliances that do the thinking for them. Automatic

settings and auto-sensing features provide great assistance to those feeling the heat in the kitchen, as they monitor, adapt and control the cooking process and ensure excellent results are attained every time with minimal effort.”


Bernstein adds that pyrolytic cleaning is a necessary technology in the kitchen, particularly during the holiday season. “With the extended family and favourite friends descending for festive celebrations, a sparkling oven is a must. Pyrolytic cleaning technology does the hard work, eliminating the need for elbow grease and further reducing the time spent in the kitchen.” Salah Sun, Built-in Cooking Product Manager at Beko, adds that not all customers will have a solid understanding of pyrolytic ovens. “Therefore,” she says, “it is important that retailers can emphasise the benefits concisely. An oven that OCTOBER 2016 GET CONNECTED



cleans itself is a fantastic selling point and gives floor staff the opportunity to sell up.” According to Hoover Candy Baumatic’s Kelly Penn, pyrolytic ovens account for around 15% of the ovens market.


“Induction is the perfect fuel type for stressed-out multitaskers. Flexible induction hobs allow consumers to cook outside the confines of the traditional zones using a variety of pan sizes at the same time”

Hotpoint is also expecting to see growth in the cooking market during the fourth quarter of the year. Raffaele Rochira, Category Manager for Built-in & Integrated, says: “This is the time when consumers choose to upgrade their kitchen, investing in new appliances that will make life easier when preparing the festive feast. A real saviour for the season can be seen in the form of a microwave. Whilst not traditionally the ‘go to’ appliance for preparing the yuletide feast, the microwave has been revolutionised by Hotpoint to become the ultimate cooking companion.” Rochira is referring to a model that is part of Hotpoint’s new built-in collection. The appliance incorporates Dynamic Technology and Rochira maintains that consumers can use it to cook roast potatoes or a joint of roast beef – convenient if catering for guests that aren’t fans of turkey. Rhys Evans, Sales Director UK & Ireland, V-ZUG UK, believes the UK public has been motivated to cook more by popular television

Alex Hinton, Head of Category for Built-In at GDHA

programmes such as The Great British Bake Off and he maintains shows such as this have inspired consumers to explore new cooking techniques and methods previously unknown to them. “Steam, therefore, has become a formidable front runner,” he asserts. “As steam cooking becomes more widespread across all brands, we are confident the market will naturally see prices and accessibility start to close in on the mainstream, making it more of a necessity and less of a luxury item. It is therefore my advice to ensure you [retailers] educate your customers. We find that interactive demonstrations are an ideal way for retailers to up-sell the benefits of new technology, so a visit by a home economist will actually provide a great product endorsement and an opportunity to demystify the whole steam process for customers.”

Britannia’s Delphi Professional 60cm mini range cooker




Producing the most important meal of the year often takes entertaining to the extreme, and one of the greatest bugbears for those coping with greater numbers at the table is juggling the range of foods that need be cooked with the capacity available in the oven. “We all know that a large capacity oven will certainly remove some of the stress of preparing the Christmas dinner,” says Hotpoint’s Rochira, “so retailers should take the time to ask the customer what they intend to cook for their festive meal. If they’re planning turkey and all the trimmings, why not take the time to demonstrate how many baking trays can easily fit in a variety of ovens. This will help the customer visualise how much space they really need and avoid any disappointment should they later realise that they should have invested in a larger appliance.” Beko’s Salah Sun points out that the festive season can sometimes trigger panic in those who find themselves faced with hosting a large number of people. “Therefore,” she advises, “retailers should take time to discuss the shopper’s needs and find out what kind of appliance will be most suitable for their longterm requirements. Find out the type of cooking they enjoy; do they eat roasts every Sunday, do they bake…?

If they are set on a large oven, even if they only need it one day a year, ensure you highlight the other benefits so they realise that their purchase is a real investment.”


“It helps if salespeople are home cooks themselves, or at least can be briefed a little about the process of cooking the Christmas dinner,” suggests Lucy King, product manager for Smeg UK. “They will then understand the very basic requirements – an oven large enough to house a turkey or a range cooker which can cook multiple different food types in one go.” “Apart from their obvious aesthetic appeal, freestanding range cookers also deliver excellent all-round functionality for the modern-day cook and they look as good in a contemporary setting as they do in a country kitchen,” comments Hoover Candy Baumatic’s Kelly Penn. “In the lead up to Christmas, a range cooker has additional sales appeal because consumers will undoubtedly appreciate the concept that the entire Christmas dinner can be cooked simultaneously using one single appliance: the joint and trimmings roasting in the oven(s), while vegetables and gravy are heated on the hob alongside a steaming Christmas pudding. “But, like any appliance, a range cooker is not just for Christmas and retailers can illustrate the year-round flexibility of many dual fuel models as they feature contemporary cooking options such as wok burners within a gas hob layout and electric ovens which often have similar features to many built-in ovens, incorporating a number of functions for roasting, baking and grilling.” Michael Haigh, Head of CRM & Marketing at Britannia Living, opines that range cookers, which do tend to be popular at this time of year, require more in-depth training because they represent a larger financial investment for customers. “As a result, they are a more considered purchase so the consumer is likely to have further questions before committing to buy. It’s vital that the sales team is equipped with the product knowledge to be able to explain all of the appliance’s features and benefits and to demonstrate the difference between different brands and configurations. This expertise will remove the fear of the unknown and reassure the consumer that their money is being well spent.”




Belling’s much-loved and iconic Range Cookers are back. And it’s a better investment than ever. Think bigger choice and improved margins. For more information please contact your GDHA Business Development Manager.


of the season The motivation for consumers to get their homes in order for the festive season coupled with Christmas gifting and entertaining provides retailers a great opportunity to make the most of a certain lift in consumer spending. Here we feature a range of products that manufacturers and suppliers are promoting as their “Pick of the Season” for 2016.

Versatility holds the key to growth According to research by premium blender manufacturer Vitamix, versatility holds the key to growth in the UK blender market. “High-performance blenders are true allrounders and combine the functionality of ten kitchen appliances in only one machine – including blending, pureeing, grinding, whipping, crushing, kneading, chopping and emulsifying,” comments Martin Devaney, Country Manager UK & Ireland at Vitamix. Featuring this versatility and durability, the Vitamix S30 offers sleek, compact design that allows users to easily create smaller batches and streamlines everyday kitchen tasks. With an RRP starting at £349 (including a blending cookbook and 7-year warranty), the S30 is available to all retailers in a wide choice of colours: Black, White, Brushed Stainless, Red, Cream, Daybreak Blue and Sour Apple Green.

Little helpers Bosch’s small domestic appliances are the perfect little helpers for the home. The TDA3020GB, TDA5070GB Steam Irons and TDI9020GB Compact Steam Generator take care of clothes while removing creases. The MUM58720GB Kitchen Machine is great for preparing food. The colour variants available make it perfect for gifting as the colours match some of the other Bosch small domestic appliances. The Tassimo Caddy TAS75SE2GB provides perfect, quality drinks for guests, with a choice of 40 varieties from well-known brands. For pet lovers, the ProAnimal Athlet BCH65TRPGB cordless vacuum cleans 30% faster with the cleaning performance of a corded vacuum to ensure the home looks its best.

Contact: Rebecca Ness Trade Marketing Manager – Consumer Products Email:


Making baking fun Vortx Air Fryer – the ultimate in air frying On the success of Tower’s digital air fryer, which received endorsement from Good Housekeeping, Tower has now expanded on its Health range with the recent launch of the Vortx at the Autumn Fair 2016. Able to cook healthy alternatives to traditional fried foods, the Air Fryer’s revolutionary Vortx technology saves on precious time and energy in the kitchen, with innovative air circulation technology that guarantees even heat distribution, offering quiet operation and faster cooking times. Requiring little to no oil, the Vortx is the healthier way to fry, roast, grill and bake using 80% less fat than a regular air fryer. The Vortx is available now for trade orders, ready for early January 2017.

For sales enquiries, email: or call 0333 220 6070



The VisiCook line-up is soon to be enhanced with the innovative and fun Home Baker – in stock during September and timed to launch alongside the nation’s favourite TV show The Great British Bake Off. Available from good stockists or direct from VisiCook, it boasts descriptive, classic and distinctive retail packaging. The appliance comes with a full colour lay-flat recipe book and three high temperature easy-clean silicon cooking moulds: a cupcake mould, a 2lb bread loaf mould and a tray bake mould, all in distinctive colours. The Home Baker is priced at an attractive RRP of £59.99.

Tel: 0121 693 1960 Email:


One setting for all fabrics. iCare technology sets THE per fect temperature. Faster, easier ironing. Find out more at

The World’s first

3D BackGlide soleplate to guarantee 360° glideabillity

2x more steam.* Super compact, huge tank capacity.

*Compared to Braun TexStyle 7 steam iron.


New Akai Retro range delivers audio in style Bringing vintage style into the modern day, the new Akai Retro range takes listeners on a trip down memory lane whilst offering advanced technology for a crystal clear audio experience. The range includes retro-style portable radios available in FM/AM and digital, and vinyl record players offering retro aesthetics and modern functionality including Bluetooth connectivity. It is available in a selection of retro-inspired colours including pastel pink, blue and cream, alongside a bolder choice of red and black. “The Retro range offers a blast from the past with best-in-class technology for a superior listen,’’ says John Knight, Electrical Buying Director. All products in the Akai Retro range come with a 3-year guarantee and are available to order now.

For sales enquiries email or call 0333 220 6070.

Team’s oven range grows with this innovative design Boasting a tardis-like 9-litre capacity, the Double Decker Oven is the only Compact Oven to have three heater elements and two slide-out oven trays. Unusually, its orientation is vertical, thus making the best use of precious counter-top space. It combines functional excellence with a useful aesthetic and, being just 34cm high, it sits easily beneath kitchen cabinets. Available from good stockists or direct from Team, it is priced to retail at a competitive £49.99, complementing Team’s oven range, which extends up to the 24-litre MiniKitchen. Team is a brand of Team UKI Ltd, along with VisiCook and efbe.

Tel: 0121 693 1960 Email:

Rolling Back the Years Carmen is to reignite its heritage by introducing a fresh new take on the 1960s Carmen heated rollers. In response to feedback gained from consumer focus groups as part of the R&D process, this product has been designed with innovative easy-clip grips to simplify the curling process, and thanks to a two-minute heat up time the rollers create salon results in just five minutes. The Keratin coated ten-piece sets contain larger rollers for voluminous styles and smaller rollers for tighter curls, to create long lasting, natural looking styles. The product forms part of the new look twelve-piece Carmen by Samantha range and features newly designed black packaging. It is available now for trade orders for the peak retail period.

For sales information visit or call 0333 220 6070.

Award win for Stoves Range Cooker UK kitchen appliance brand Stoves scooped a top award at this year’s House Beautiful awards. The Stoves Richmond 1100Ei in Soho Green won gold in the Best White Goods category, beating competition from AEG, Caple, Hoover, Miele, Samsung and Smeg. The winning products were selected by a panel of expert and celebrity judges, which included John Rocha, Sebastian Conran, Vanessa Arbuthnott, Lisa Stickley, Clarissa Hulse and DIY experts Jo Behari, Nick Knowles and Tommy Walsh. The British-made Stoves Richmond 1100Ei features a powerful and ultra-responsive induction hotplate with five touch-control zones and an array of high tech features. For user convenience, Stoves engineered the powerful induction range cooker to run on a 32Amp circuit.





the boxes

The nights draw in, the Autumn TV schedules are well under way, Black Friday (November 25 2016) is only weeks off and Christmas is in the air. Traditionally the time when the UK's longstanding love affair with the television intensifies, and retailers expect a seasonal boost.


ut domestic TV and AV is developing so fast that the cosy traditions of family viewing are being challenged, consumer habits are changing and choices of when, where and how we consume content mean that retailing relevant solutions can be a much more demanding process than it used to be. Just when we think technology has achieved the ultimate in sophistication, TV – and its increasingly closely connected family of AV devices – has a habit of delivering smarter, sharper, bigger, brighter, better connected and more content-rich choices for UK homes. The development of 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition), HDR (High Dynamic Range) and OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technologies has made large-screen picture quality so outstanding that it is, according to commentators, pushing the limits of the human eye’s ability to appreciate further enhancements of resolution and colour. Sound quality, which initially suffered from the advent of ultra-thin panels and minimal bezels – necessitating small, backward-facing built-in speakers – has caught up with the stunning visual experience: sound bars, soundbases and a range of wireless speaker configurations are delivering sound to match the pictures. As with all advances in consumer electronics, premium quickly becomes standard, and consumer expectations move up to the next level.

As Dawn Stockell, Head of Brand at LG Electronics, remarks to GC: “Consumers’ expectations continue to rise when it comes to home entertainment systems, especially picture quality.”


All this would seem to feed into the concept of consumers watching TV programmes as they always have, but on bigger, better TVs with higher quality sound. But watching broadcast programmes on the main home screen at the time they’re broadcast is being replaced by the accessibility of on-demand content that can be viewed not only on TV but on laptop, tablet, smartphone whenever and wherever it’s wanted. Smart TV – in effect a computer with a big, high quality screen that can access internet content and communicate with other devices – allied to wireless connectivity, is the spearhead technology that is changing UK viewing habits. As James Attfield, MD of Vogel’s UK distributor Turnstone AV, tells GC: “TVs are getting bigger, more content is being piped around the house and so broadband and Wi-Fi are becoming an integral part of the solution.” Neil King, head of home entertainment at Sony UK, adds that consumers are “embracing the idea of connecting their home to create a seamless home entertainment experience, and streaming is a big part of this.” And

Pictured above: Philips LS 7180 TV

Armour’s Stephen Reichert says: “Today’s consumer wants to be able to stream music and other content to their home entertainment systems via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. They want systems that are easy to connect and easy to control.” There is no shortage of content providers feeding Smart connectivity. Stephen Mitchell, General Manager TV and AV, Samsung UK and Ireland, sums up the direction of travel: “We expect to see more consumers demanding a seamless entertainment experience from their TVs, so they can enjoy great TV, music, film and game content through one central system. We have strengthened our partnerships with content providers like Amazon and Netflix to expand the range of HDR content available to our users.”


So the future is Smart, with streaming and wireless connectivity delivering choice and variety of content far beyond what is available via traditional broadcasting. But does the evidence of the present bear this out? Apparently so. As GC’s consumer electronics correspondent George Cole said earlier this year: “It’s hard to believe that when Smart TVs started to emerge onto the market, there were some who thought they would only appeal to a niche consumer market, namely techies who liked exploring the internet on their TV screen. How wrong they were.” The figures show how wrong. A 2016 Futuresource Consulting report on TV worldwide says: “Smart TVs continue to see strong growth in all markets with shipments growing by 11% in 2015 and more than 75% of sets are expected to feature smart connectivity by 2020.” In the UK, according to an IHS survey, the forecast is that 53% of all TVs will be Smart sets by 2019. And last year, a Nielsen UK Smart TV report found 29% of all TVs were Smart, 78% of them having been OCTOBER 2016 GET CONNECTED



Sony XD85 4K UHD TV

purchased in the previous 24 months. For those who may say Smart is growing simply because that’s what’s now on offer, and that the facility won’t necessarily be used (remember 3D?), the clinching figures from Nielsen are that 93% of Smart TV owners have connected their set to the

internet, and 37% of viewing time is spent watching online content. George Cole adds: “The fact is that the vast majority of online content viewed on a smart TV consists of catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, and streaming film and TV services like Netflix.”

For all that, TV & AV is a difficult market for retailers to make money in. The smarter the technology, the smarter dealers need to be to maximise its potential. That means understanding how the advanced thinking inside the boxes translates into customer-specific benefits, then clearly communicating and demonstrating those benefits to the right customers. Turnstone AV’s Attfield says demonstration is still key, as is simplicity when pulling together complicated solutions. “That is why AV specialists are thriving,” he asserts. Armour’s Reichert agrees: “The three most important things are demonstration, demonstration and demonstration! Stephen Mitchell of Samsung is also an advocate of demonstration: “It’s vital that practical demonstrations of the devices are given to customers, so they can see how the technology would work in their own home. We are committed to working closely with our retail partners to ensure they have the necessary skills to accurately inform customers and aptly demonstrate the various features of our whole range of home entertainment products. Instore, retailers should be both educating customers on the importance of new
















issue was resolved by setting two different standards for the two display technologies. This means that anyone buying an LCD or OLED UHD TV shouldn’t have to worry about HDR; but sadly, things are not so straightforward. Dolby is offering Dolby Vision, which could be described as “HDR+” or “Super HDR”. Like HDR10, Dolby Vision is designed to enhance both contrast and colour, SETTING STANDARDS but there are some differences. HDR10 The standards applying to the plethora mastering supports 10-bit colour, but Dolby of developments may, however, bring Vision supports 12-bit. And whereas HDR10 their own complications, as George Cole uses a static metadata system, which has pointed out in GC Magazine. All UHD provides brightness and colour information Premium and all UHD Blu-ray players for segments of content, Dolby Vision and discs conform to an HDR standard uses a dynamic system, which adjusts the known as HDR10. In order to watch HDR metadata on a scene-by-scene basis, which content, three things are required – a TV should mean even better image quality. set whose peak brightness and black level Dolby Vision is compatible with HDR, specifications can support HDR; an HDMI so any TV set with Dolby Vision can also 2.0a connection, and content that has display HDR10 content, but the reverse is been mastered for HDR. The mastering not true: HDR-only sets are not compatible process includes generating metadata, with Dolby Vision, because a dedicated which tells an HDR-compatible TV how to chipset is required – you can’t convert display the image. an HDR10 set to Dolby Vision with a So far so good, but setting the HDR firmware upgrade. So far, the only UK TV standard has not been simple, not least manufacturer to support Dolby Vision is because LCD and OLED TVs have different LG, with its latest range of OLED UHD TVs. display characteristics (put simply, LCD Dolby has the support of several major sets offer higher peak brightness levels, GC-AD-210x148_150916_o.pdf 1 15/09/2016 10:27 Hollywood studios, including Sony Pictures, and OLEDs a higher black level), but this certification Ultra HD Premium and true Ultra HD logos and bringing to life the audio visual benefits of the products available. Using content as part of the sell is hugely beneficial and it’s important that retailers work with manufacturers to select video content which works best to show these benefits.”

so it’s a fair bet that Sony will at some point launch Dolby Vision-compatible sets, although a Sony spokesperson said: “Our TVs are compatible with HDR10, because a wide availability of content is expected.” Netflix backs both horses – HDR10 and Dolby Vision. UHD Blu-ray can also support Dolby Vision, although this is an optional feature, so we are likely to see a mix of UHD Blu-ray titles, some of which are Dolby Vision-compatible and others that only support HDR10. The same goes for UHD Blu-ray players. As you can see, things could get a bit confusing both for consumers and retailers when it comes to buying and selling UHD equipment.


That is a lot of technical information for retailers to master, and although it’s not always appropriate to pass all of this on to customers looking for the best experience they can get for their budget, it is important to keep it in mind when giving advice and helping customers make the right choices. In the end, understanding individual customers’ needs, and helping them satisfy them in the most simple and relevant way, is what matters. If retailers can show as well as tell, so much the better.




From electric fires to portable fan heaters and dehumidifiers, there is a wide choice of innovative seasonal heating and air treatment solutions available to electrical retailers, combining high margins with genuine consumer appeal. Nick Paul, Retail Marketing Manager for Dimplex, assesses the market

Electric stoves recorded 8% growth in sales volume last winter


is coming to that usual time of year when national newspapers run stories predicting that we are going to have the harshest winter for many years, with sustained periods of cold and more snow than experienced in recent years. However, for the past three years it seems to have been milder than average, with last winter being the warmest for England and Wales since the record series began in 1910, according to the Met Office.. The reality for many retailers, however, is that despite the recent unusually mild winters, sales of electric fires, portable heating products and dehumidifiers were still robust in 2015/16, as consumers sought to take advantage of new innovations and enhanced technology. We know from speaking 30


to our customers that electrical retailers continued to create sales opportunities last year and consumers were visiting stores throughout the winter season. GfK data also shows some impressive sales growth amongst individual product categories such as electric stoves and premium fan heaters. Even in a warm winter, the fact remains that nights are still cold and people with inadequate insulation, ageing heating systems or draughty rooms still need portable products to supplement their main heating source.


This robust performance in defiance of the milder winter conditions can be attributed to a number of factors, not least the investment

There are similar opportunities to be had in the portable heating market too. Sales of premium fan heaters were up last winter, as were oil-free radiators, offering an ecofriendly alternative to oil-filled appliances, with rapid warm up and cool down times. Both categories continue to prove popular thanks to the ongoing development of new technologies, alongside the convenience of being able to move appliances from room to room.

“Consumer expectation is increasingly demanding when looking for a realistic flame effect fire”

by manufacturers in developing their products. The heating market has evolved in recent years and electric heating appliances are no longer simply a distress purchase restricted to the depths of a cold winter. In the fires market, for example, consumers are looking to put the warmth and emotion into their living rooms that flat screen TVs struggle to bring, therefore wanting to make the fireplace the centrepiece of the living room again. Consumer expectation is increasingly demanding when looking for a realistic flame effect fire. This expectation has been driven by a number of factors, principally the quality of the pictures they experience on a daily basis on smartphones, tablets and TVs. The old-fashioned spinner flame picture will just not cut the mustard anymore. Consumers demand that their flame effect fires have the most realistic looking flames, and this has led to a surge in product development which has raised the standard of electric fires. Electric fires are now as much an interior design/refurbishment purchase as a heating one, offering year-round sales opportunities for any electrical retailer, and are available in a wide range of models including wall-mounted, inset fires and suites. But it is the electric stoves category which is proving most popular, as shown by an impressive 8% growth in sales volume last winter, according to GfK. Offering a clean, maintenance-free and stylish alternative to solid fuel stoves, they can be installed in any room simply by plugging them in and switching them on – proving just as valuable within a retail showroom as to the consumer.


One of the most exciting portable winter products for electrical retailers in terms of sales opportunities is not a heater at all – it is the dehumidifier. The demands of modern-day life and the wet UK climate mean that our homes are constantly being pumped full of moisture. Everyday activities such as showering and cooking mean that moisture struggles to be ventilated effectively from our homes. This not only causes damage to our properties, it also affects our health. The problem can be exacerbated in winter because the colder the outside air, the more condensation there will be in the room; even in a mild winter there is likely to be condensation inside when temperatures drop at night. Other factors such as drying clothes indoors can also add to the problem, leading to damp and condensation appearing on walls and windows. Installing a dehumidifier will help reduce the humidity of a room, bringing it back to a safe and comfortable level. By introducing dehumidifiers into the showroom, retailers can help to raise awareness of both the problem and the solution. In many cases, customers will be unaware that there are products available for less than £200 which can reduce the moisture in their home. A dehumidifier is a cost-effective solution for avoiding damp, mould and mildew problems which, if untreated, may be costly to remedy. The sector is a clear opportunity for electrical retailers.

Stay warm and cosy this winter, and save with De’Longhi Smart Heating


Your comfort doesn’t have to cost the Earth De’Longhi Smart Heating is packed with easy-to-use and patented design features and technology that allow you to control room temperature to your ideal comfort whilst reducing energy consumption.

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Get Connected Magazine - October 2016  

Featuring "Changing Seasons" Supplement. 6 The Word In and around the industry 12 The Product Gallery 14 Opinion Crimtan’s Paul Goad consid...

Get Connected Magazine - October 2016  

Featuring "Changing Seasons" Supplement. 6 The Word In and around the industry 12 The Product Gallery 14 Opinion Crimtan’s Paul Goad consid...