AUGUST 2011 www.gcmagazine.co.uk
T H E
M A G A Z I N E
T H E
E L E C T R I C A L
I N D U S T R Y
TOWN & APARTMENT LIVING Space is at a premium in many modern homes, but nobody wants to compromise on the important elements of style and design in the kitchen. As greater demands are made upon performance, versatility and energy efficiency, where is the smart money going on kitchen appliances that can fulfil exacting consumer needs?
HOME ENTERTAINMENT The current buzz is about 3D TV, but the concept of “Smart” TV, with the connected television becoming the hub of a whole network of entertainment and internet access to a huge choice of content, is opening up new opportunities – and challenges – for manufacturers and retailers. George Cole takes stock of where we are now and where home entertainment may be going in the future
GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED Nothing stays the same in Consumer Electronics, and the way we buy, keep and enjoy audio and video is changing. George Cole looks at the future for the CD and DVD
THE HIGH STREET IN CRISIS There was a lot of reaction to last month’s GC feature “High Street High Noon?” We look at a cross section of what the industry thinks
LG’s Andy Mackay gives a 2-minute interview
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Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33 firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial & Publishing Director: Terry Heath Telephone: 01420 886 33 email@example.com Magazine Advertising Sales: Graham Southern Telephone: 05557 735 501 firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Director: Will Dobson email@example.com Advertisement Production Administration: Will Dobson Telephone: 01342 850 456 firstname.lastname@example.org Production and Print: Blackmore Press, Shaftesbury, Dorset www.blackmore.co.uk
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In and around the industry / / / / / / / / / / /
Talk on the High Street
Industry ideas on the retail revolution
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The Product Gallery
Town & Apartment Living Getting it right in the kitchen
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Brands of Distinction Lec: Cool heritage
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the publisher. Get Connected is published by Mud Hut Publishing Ltd., Alresford House, 60 West Street, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7EH.
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New dimensions, smarter options
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George Cole Gets Connected
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From the Bench
Alan Bennett on the eco-choppers
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Industry comment and a 2-minute interview from LG’s Andy Mackay
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Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief
GET CONNECTED AUGUST 2011
his issue of Get Connected was at press when news started coming in that retailers in London and elsewhere had become the target of looters, boldly – and apparently without fear of any consequences – walking off with desirables such as flat screen TVs from their local electrical stores. In some cases, just to emphasise their contempt for the rule of law, and their disregard for the business people whom they see – and probably chat to – every day as they live, work and serve in their communities, they set fire to the premises as well. It seemed worthy of comment, not just as casting a whole new and lurid light on the concept of “saving the High Street,” but also as an image of how middle class, hardworking, law-abiding, taxpaying middle England has so brutally been caught in a pincer movement by society’s opposite extremes of criminal audacity. It’s an irresistibly poignant picture, and would serve as a satirical cartoon of the spirit of the age: out of the retailer’s smashed back door staggers a youth in a hoodie with a 42-inch LED flat panel in his arms – something for nothing and the taxpayer picks up the bill. Out of the front door (being held open for him by a respectful shop assistant) strides a suited Member of Parliament, followed by another shop assistant carrying his 42-inch LED flat panel to his car for him. The MP will of course be claiming the TV on expenses for his “second home” – something for nothing and the taxpayer picks up the bill. Both, in their own way, examples of inexcusable behaviour. The only difference is that the MP’s audacity comes from a confidence that his rapacity is “legal,” and the looter’s audacity comes from a confidence that the odds are stacked against “the law” ever identifying, arresting and punishing him.
Why should either one of them think any differently if we, the people in the middle, accept the consequences for our own actions, but don’t insist on their doing the same? How can an MP educated to have a natural sense of entitlement, and functioning in a place that seems to have forgotten who is serving whom, be expected to have a sense of responsibility to the “ordinary” people who are foolish enough to pay his salary? And how can a youth who has been subjected, as one psychologist remarked, to “a toxic mixture of dysfunctional parenting and a consumer and celebrity culture which tells youngsters they should have whatever they want,” be expected to have a clear sense of right and wrong? The point is that the victim in this is the man in the middle – the retailer, local businessman, taxpayer – who is getting exploited from both ends and is expected not only to bear the cost of the perpetrators’ actions, but also to go on funding their lifestyles. And, of course, picking up the bill for the policing, the legal processes and the inevitable “enquiries” and “commissions” and whatever other expensive and largely pointless machinery for the discovery of the blatantly obvious the “authorities” choose to set up. Add to this the additional burden of bailing out banks which have a similar attitude of audacious entitlement, and whose senior officials seem to have returned very quickly to the enjoyment of individual bonuses running into millions, and it’s a wonder that middle England can struggle to its feet, let alone fulfil the expectation that it will once again climb that mountain to recovery. But this is a democracy, and a nation of shopkeepers, so if the people we choose to pay generously to take care of certain aspects of our society while we’re looking after the shop don’t do their jobs properly, it must be our fault.
Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director
Will Dobson Creative Director
James McIntosh Consumer Consultant
Lynne Henry Communications Officer, GfK Marketing Services
George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant
Graham Southern Advertising Sales
Average net circulation for the 12 issues distributed between Jan-Dec 2008 is 6,228
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BRC warns of “spending paralysis” Six TJ Hughes stores sold; 31 outlets to close Administrators of discount department store chain TJ Hughes have agreed the sale of 6 stores to Lewis’s Home Retail in two separate deals and confirmed that a total of 31 outlets will close during August, bringing the total job losses to 1,600 since TJ Hughes went into administration on 30 June. Lewis’s Home Retail is a retail arm of wholesaler Benross Marketing, a supplier of electricals, lighting and homewares based in the Liverpool area.
Benross Group managing director Anil Juneja said: “TJ Hughes is an extremely well known and much-loved brand and we’re thrilled to be bringing the retailer back to life. The stores have a proud history, especially in Liverpool, and our aim is to do both the employees and customers the justice they deserve.” Lewis’s acquired TJ Hughes’ stores in Newcastle,Widnes, Eastbourne, Glasgow, Liverpool and Sheffield, safeguarding 576 jobs.
GET CONNECTED AUGUST 2011
Knight Vinke ups Kesa stake as sale process continues
Comet parent Kesa Electricals confirmed that Knight Vinke Asset Management LLC, its biggest share holder, upped its stake in the group from 102,273,208 to 105,973,208 shares, giving it 20.01% of the voting rights. Knight Vinke is reported to be keen on Kesa offloading Comet and is backing the sale of the business on the condition that it is run as a going concern. Readers that follow the news on www. gcmagazine.co.uk will be aware that only two parties are thought to have been taken through to the second round of bidding for the UK electricals chain. Former Habitat owner Hilco, who was reported to have dropped out, is now said to be battling it out with OpCapita, the investment company that owned MFI under its previous name of Merchant Equity Partners,
and it is understood that GA Europe and Weight Partners are now out of the running. Speculation that Kesa may offer a dowry to have Comet taken off its hands arose during the weekend following the first tabling of bids on July 20, and have continued to persist, with recent reports stating that £100 million is under consideration. None of the bidders were said to have offered much for the troubled UK chain which posted losses of £8.9 million for the year ended 30 April 2011 and is reported to have a pension deficit of £49 million. Updates on the ongoing sale process have come from “sources close” to Kesa, as none of the parties involved have been willing to comment. See www.gcmagazine.co.uk for further updates
BRC Director General Stephen Robertson warned European and US policymakers that business and consumer confidence needs to be restored quickly before spending paralysis sets in, after UK retail sales values rose just 0.6% on a like-forlike basis in July. According to the BRC-KPMG Sales Monitor, total sales, which include new stores, were up 2.5% compared to the same month last year, but homewares were “mostly down and often promotionled.” Consumer caution continued to hit big-ticket housing-related purchases. Non-food, non-store sales were 9.6% up on a year ago, but down on June’s 11.5% growth. “Apart from March, when sales were reduced by this year’s later Easter, this is the weakest growth for non-store sales of non-food goods for almost two years,” said Robertson. On the wider retail sales picture, Roberstson commented: “This is a modest improvement on recent months but overall conditions remain very difficult for retailers. When you take into consideration inflation and January’s increase in VAT, 2.5% growth effectively means people are buying fewer goods…. shoppers were only tempted into stores by an unprecedented number of promotions which come at the expense of margins. Sales of non-food goods barely grew. “Growing fears of a global economic slowdown and a sovereign debt crisis have sent shockwaves through financial markets. Policymakers in Europe and the US must act quickly to implement a coordinated and credible strategy to reduce public sector deficits while supporting growth. Business and consumer confidence needs to be restored quickly before spending paralysis sets in.”
Q2 retail employment falls while store numbers increase Retail employment in the UK fell 0.4% in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the same period a year ago, with the equivalent of 3,100 fewer full-time jobs recorded,
despite the number of retail outlets growing by 4.5% – an additional 743 stores. The results of the BRC-Bond Pearce Retail Employment Monitor showed that the fall
in job numbers was heavily weighted towards non-food retailers, with both full-time and part-time staff working fewer hours compared to the previous year. Food
retailers continued to increase employment. This is the first time the Monitor has recorded three consecutive months of negative annual growth.
THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS
The retail industry is now definitely in recession with retail health likely to fall back to the levels of the banking crisis by the third quarter of 2011, the KPMG/Synovate Retail Think Tank (RTT) said, after the state of retail health, as measured by the Retail Health Index (RHI), fell to 84 in quarter two – one point down on the previous quarter. The fall was less severe than the twopoint drop in quarter one, which was salvaged to some extent by the late, sunny Easter and the Royal wedding, but the mini revival that occurred in 2010 has now well and truly reversed, according to the RTT. The decline in health in Q2 was attributed largely to yet further softening of demand as well as new, more vigorous pressures on margins as retailers struggled to shift stock with earlier than normal promotions and sales. When there is a reason to spend, the RTT said consumers are prepared to oblige, but without the benefit of extra bank holidays or national events to look forward to, there is little sign of any recovery in the short to medium term. RTT members expect a further twopoint downward acceleration in quarter three, bringing the state of retail health back to the darkest days of the banking crisis in mid 2009. Neil Saunders of Verdict Research said: “May and June showed how weak the underlying trend remains. Pressure on disposable income with new, recently announced rises in utility bills has only hurt consumer confidence further and many Britons are clearly no longer regarding shopping as the pleasurable experience they once did.” Synovate’s Tim Denison said footfall remains down by around 4% year on year. “Demand is weak, and May and June showed the underlying trend which will continue into quarter three,” added Nick Bubb of Arden Partners. “It is likely that September – the back to school, end of the holidays, new ranges in the shops but not on Sale month – will be kill or cure. We will have to wait until then to see whether the austerity measures have permanently frightened shoppers.”
Now Labour launches campaign to save our high streets Labour has called for urgent action to help retailers protect jobs and give people a “real say” over their local high street, and has unveiled a four-point plan which includes a temporary cut in VAT. Chuka Umunna MP, Labour’s Shadow Small Business and Enterprise Minister, accused the government of “bystanding” while businesses suffer and high streets stagnate. “The recent wave of high street business failures should send a signal to ministers on the real pressures which firms are under,” he said.
“Consumer confidence has been badly hit by the government’s VAT hike and the squeeze on family incomes. It is no surprise that retail sales have remained sluggish.” According to the Local Data Company, 14.6% of retail premises in the UK are now vacant, indicating that approximately 50,000 high street units are empty, with vacancy rates rising. The Javelin Group has predicted that if current trends continue, a quarter of all non-food retail outlets in the UK could be vacant by 2020.
Read the full article at www.gcmagazine.co.uk
Retail inflation slows as stores continue to discount Shop price inflation slowed to 2.8% in July from 2.9% in June as retailers continued to discount prices to entice cash-strapped consumers into purchases. The BRCNielsen Shop Price Index showed the fall was attributed to the food sector, where 39% of all goods bought in supermarkets are now on offer. Food inflation slowed to 5.2% in July from 5.7% in June, while non-food inflation remained unchanged at 1.3%.
Banks claim to be on target for SME lending The five major banks which signed up to the Government-backed Project Merlin deal in February this year, and thereby agreed to lend at least £190 billion to UK businesses this year - £76 billion of it earmarked for small businesses – have said they have in the first six months of 2011 achieved £100.4 billion of new lending, with £37.4 billion of that going to SMEs. A spokesperson for the banks involved in Project Merlin said: “The Merlin banks are on track to meet their business lending commitments. The first half-year performance demonstrates the banks’ commitment to providing businesses with the financial support they need to invest and grow and the significant progress made this year. The banks’ efforts to encourage customers to come forward with borrowing proposals are set against the overall economic environment which remains challenging and business demand for credit which remains weak.”
The “weak demand” from small businesses for bank finance has been cited by the banks as a difficulty in achieving lending targets, but small businesses and their representatives have argued that demand from small businesses has been severely depressed by punitive rates and conditions imposed by the banks. In a recent FSB member survey, of the 20% of small firms that had applied for credit in the 12 months to June, a third had been refused. FSB national chairman John Walker said: "This has meant that growth opportunities have been missed or delayed for many businesses. The FSB is urging the Independent Commission on Banking to be bold in its recommendations to Government in September and to ensure that increasing competition in the sector is at the forefront of its report – without this, small firms will continue to get a rough deal."
GET CONNECTED AUGUST 2011
UK retail now firmly back in recession
THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS
Vogel’s aims to help retailers maximise bracket sales Vogel’s is holding a retailer event on September 15 to help independents get their fair share of the wall mount market. The manufacturer says the channel is missing out “big time” on bracket sales as only one is sold with every 20 TVs purchased in independent stores, compared to one with every 5 TVs purchased in supermarkets. Vogel’s UK Manager James Attfield had this message for
independent dealers: “Make the effort to attend the event and you will learn how to break this cycle and increase your sales significantly in this category, and that’s a promise. “This is a silent category with great growth potential, offering one of the biggest margin contributions and more profit per square metre than the TV section.”
GDHA introduces support initiative for independents Glen Dimplex Home Appliances has unveiled a new retailer support scheme for independents as part of an initiative to increase sales of its ‘Made for Britain’ Stoves, Belling and New World built-in and integrated appliances. Participating retailers will be rewarded with a package which includes display discounts, extended product warranties, access to exclusive promotions, support with local advertising and the supply of exclusive display stands, if required. Retailers will also receive specialist onsite training, assistance with staff incentive schemes and preferred supplier status on GDHA’s branded websites.
GET CONNECTED AUGUST 2011
Haier establishes R&D centre in Germany
Chinese brand Haier is reinforcing its presence in Europe with the opening of an R&D centre in Nuremberg, Germany. The establishment is dedicated exclusively to dishwashers and, according to Haier, will provide the group with “unquestionable advantages.” René Aubertin, CEO of Haier Europe, said the opening of the R&D centre is “strategically important” in the group’s ambitions, “namely to become one of the top 5 domestic appliance manufacturers in Europe by 2015 and to become a major player in the market.We also intend to pursue a strong growth pattern with the aim of achieving a 5% market share in Europe by 2013.” Products developed at the 550m2 centre will be aimed at the European, American and Chinese markets.
Attfield added that Vogel’s has “reenergised” its offering and packaging to ensure a big impact in-store ahead of the key season. The September event is supported by industry body retra and will be held at the recently opened Coworth Park Hotel in Ascot. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0330 202 0980.
Hotpoint launches new ‘InStore’ partnership scheme Hotpoint is reshaping its Hotpoint Centres programme with a new partnership scheme for independent retailers. Hotpoint InStore launches in the UK this month to tie in with the company’s 100-year anniversary and offers independent retailers the opportunity to sign up for a three-tiered support package. The programme is being supported by a series of special promotions aimed exclusively at Hotpoint InStore members, which will continue throughout the year. Hotpoint Brand Director Ian Moverley said: “Our Hotpoint Centres programme
has been running successfully for more than 50 years, but we wanted to move away from a ‘one size fits all’ scheme to a more tailored programme for our independent retailers. “The new Hotpoint InStore programme will give different sized traders the opportunity to tailor a package that’s more suited to them, but with the same superb backup and support from the Hotpoint team.” Independents should contact their Hotpoint regional sales manager for further information about the new scheme.
‘Exclusively Independents’ show launches in autumn An exclusive event for independent retailers is to launch in the autumn, showcasing new products and alternative market opportunities to help boost sales. ‘Exclusively Independents’ is organised by Dimplex, Morphy Richards and Glen Dimplex Home Appliances and will take place Sunday 2nd and Monday 3rd October 2011 at Cranmore Park, Solihull. Commenting on the reasoning behind the new show, Karen Trewick, marketing communications manager at Dimplex, said: “Electrical retailers are facing challenging times as consumer spending on non-essential items such as high-value TVs and entertainment is declining. But there are plenty of alternative revenue streams within the sector that are holding up well and
even growing, including heating, fires and domestic appliances, and it’s why we’ve launched Exclusively Independents, so retailers can see these opportunities all together under one roof.” Retailers attending the event will have access to a range of special offers. Entry is free of charge, and those who preregister online will be provided with a free breakfast or lunch and entered into a competition to win a product from each of the three organisers. CI(H) members will have exclusive access to the show on Sunday 2nd October. For further information about the event, visit www.exclusivelyindependents.co.uk or contact your regional manager at Dimplex, Glen Dimplex Home Appliances or Morphy Richards.
Amica establishes service network Polish brand Amica has established a service centre in Kilmarnock to provide cover for England, Scotland and Wales. The centre operates alongside a network of service sellers, engineers and technical retailers that provide servicing via their own engineers and/or nominated sub-contractors. Simon Freear, country manger for the Amica, said: “The aftercare of the Amica product range is not a profit centre but an integral part of the Amica product promise which requires investment and specific focus. “We invited our retailers to register for the new system and have been delighted by the interest and enthusiasm for this transparent way of providing service care. There remain opportunities for new retailers to register so I would invite anyone interested to contact us.” For further information, visit www.amica-international.co.uk or email email@example.com
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THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS
BSkyB reported “an excellent year for
Carphone Warehouse reported
Panasonic reported an operating
customers and shareholders” after sales grew 16% to £6,597 million and EBITDA rose 19% to £1,405 million in the 12 months ended 30 June. Operating profits increased 23% to £1,073 million. The business announced a 20% increase in the ordinary dividend and its intention to return £750 million to shareholders through a share buy-back programme.
“a very satisfactory start to the year” despite Q1 like-for-like sales falling 3.3% (constant currency). The retailer, which owns 50% of Best Buy Europe, said revenues were affected by the shift to 24-month contracts in the UK but positive growth was achieved in the rest of Europe. Total sales at the Group fell 4.8% to £756 million.
Sony posted a net loss of ¥15.5 billion
Electrolux announced a net income of
profit of ¥5.6 billion (£39 million) for the first quarter to 30 June 2011, down 93% from ¥83.8 billion a year ago. Expenses resulting from the Japan earthquake pushed the pre-tax loss to ¥17.4 billion. Panasonic is undergoing a cost-cutting programme which is said to involve the shedding of some 17,000 jobs and the closure of up to 70 facilities around the world over the next 24 months.
(£122 million) for its first fiscal quarter ended June 30 2011, compared to a ¥25.7 billion profit in the same quarter last year. As well as the severe production, operational and financial effects of the East Japan earthquake, the company said the temporary shutdown of network services and Sony online due to cyber attacks on Sony’s systems and “deterioration of the electronics business environment” were factors in the loss. The company has cut its full year earnings forecast from ¥80 billion to ¥60 billion.
GET CONNECTED AUGUST 2011
Hitachi posted a Q1 drop in profits of 86% compared to the same quarter last year and said it is “considering” ending production operations in Gifu, Japan. The plant is Hitachi’s last surviving primary TV manufacturing facility in Japan, as the company has continued to pursue its cost-cutting strategy of manufacturing components in Japan but outsourcing TV assembly to countries such as Taiwan.
Philips reported a €1.34 billion loss for the second quarter on sales of €5.2 billion, having taken a €1.39 billion impairment charge in the quarter on intangible assets and goodwill. The charge related to Philips’ healthcare and lighting divisions, where growth is expected to be lower than previous forecasts. The company has begun a €500million cost-cutting programme that will run through to 2014 and a €2 billion share buy-back scheme due for completion in 2012.
£53 million for Q2 2011, down 45% on the same quarter last year. Sales fell 12% to £2.3 billion. Weaker demand and significant increases in raw materials costs were cited as major factors in profit reduction. The company warned that profits in the second half will continue to fall below 2010 levels.
Whirlpool Corporation announced a second-quarter net loss of $161 million compared to net earnings of $205 million in the same period last year. Sales rose 4% to $4.7 billion, driven by favourable currency trends. Adjusted Q2 operating profit totalled $223 million compared to $298 million in the prior year. Apple posted net income of $7.31 billion for the third quarter of its current fiscal year, 125% up on the same period last year, as sales of iPads and iPhones doubled. 20.34 million iPhones (up 142%) and 9.25 million iPads (up 183%) were sold in the three-month period, although iPod sales continued their decline, falling 20% to 7.54 million units. Toshiba reported Q1 net sales down 9% to ¥1,326.1 billion (US$16,371.7), citing appreciation of the Yen and the impact of the Japan earthquake as the main contributor to the decline. Operating income fell ¥29.7 billion to ¥4.1 billion. Net income, at ¥0.5 billion, remained unchanged. The company’s projections for the full year remain unchanged: sales are forecast at ¥7,000 billion and net income at ¥140 billion.
Amazon posted a 51% increase in net sales for the second quarter ended 30 June. Revenues rose to $9.91 billion compared to $6.57 billion in Q2 2010, but net income fell 8% to $191 million against $207 in the same period last year. Worldwide electronics and other general merchandise sales grew 69% to $5.89 billion. Samsung reported depressed profits in the three months to June 30th 2011, echoing the generally weak market for TV panels. Net profit fell 18% to 3.51 trillion won. The TV division made a loss for the second successive quarter, with sales of LCD panels some 15% down. John Lewis ended its half-year with a modest rise of 2.6% on the same period last year, saying it was “well pleased” at finishing ahead of a strong performance in the first half of 2010. Johnlewis. com (up 27.4%) was the undoubted redeemer of the retail bellwether in the difficult trading conditions experienced in the UK during the six months, as only three stores managed to achieve positive growth. Online white goods sales and distribution operation DRL reported a 50% increase in like-for-like revenues in the first quarter of its current financial year. The company is reported to have upped its revenue forecast for the full year to £250 million following a strong upsurge in sales from the beginning of April.
THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS
Bosch’s Ken Humphrey takes early retirement Bosch Home Appliances brand manager Ken Humphrey is to step down after 21 years of service and will be succeeded by Rosalinda Buttice, who he has worked with for the past 2.5 years. Humphrey joined Bosch in August 1990 and has helped grow the brand’s sales from £25 million to £250 million. Commenting on Humphrey’s departure, Rainer Bannwarth, marketing director for BSH Home Appliances, said: “It’s a great shame that Ken is leaving us. He’s done a fantastic job for so many years and has been instrumental in helping the brand to grow and evolve both in terms of volume sales and environmental progress and achieve prestigious accolades such as the Which? Best Large Home Appliance Brand for the
second time. Personally, I will miss his dry sense of humour and his ‘say it like it is’ style. With Ken, what you see is what you get – very straight, efficient, totally committed and loyal to the Bosch brand. For many, he is Mr Bosch and we will all be sad to see him go but wish him a long and happy retirement.” Rosalinda Buttice said that she has “some very big shoes to fill.” She commented: “I could not have wished for a better mentor. I am really looking forward to the challenge and to building on Ken’s huge success.” Speaking about his future, Humphrey said: “First of all I want a rest. Then I want to do more things for me, like play golf when I want and spend more time in Spain, where the sun shines!”
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UK’s oldest refrigeration brand receives a revamp Refrigeration specialist Lec is to celebrate its 70th birthday with a new advertising campaign, photography and website, and a return to its original style of polished-metal badge in celebration of the brand’s heritage. The new advertising and imagery is underpinned by simple messages with a strapline promising to deliver ‘Pure refrigeration’. Lec Commercial Director David Garden said: “We felt it was time to refresh the brand but were also keen to celebrate Lec’s rich heritage, so our products will now feature a logo with a modern twist on the badge Lec had at the height of its success.” See www.gcmagazine.co.uk for the stories behind the news…
Panasonic to sell off Sanyo white goods operation 10 billion yen deal struck with Haier
Digital listening hours rise 14.3% DAB digital radio ownership shows strong growth
High Street parking freed from central Government restrictions Local councils will be free to provide more town centre spaces to attract High Street shoppers
CBI forecasts modest growth into 2012 2011 growth forecast reduced to 1.3%
Panasonic in breach of advertising standards Vacuum cleaner claims supported by insufficient evidence
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Telephone: 01344 891248 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS
Hughes Electrical launches national trade division Hughes Electrical has launched a new business supply brand trading as TED (Trade Electricals Direct) with a national service operating from seven locations. The move follows the recent acquisition of Bennetts, which also has a successful trade division, and the decision to merge the two operations. TED will employ in excess of 20 staff and is said to already have sales and contracts in excess of £10m for the current year from a range of businesses across the UK. Branches are located in Norwich, Ipswich, King’s Lynn, Peterborough, Colchester, Birmingham and Chelmsford – the latter covering the London region. Paul Chisnall, general manager of the business, said: “These are exciting times and we are looking to develop TED into a true national brand for the supply of major domestic appliances and audio visual products to trade customers. Our size means we buy in bulk and pass savings onto customers, who are welcome to call into our branches or we have access to our group fleet of 150 commercial vehicles if delivery is required.” For further information, contact: 01603 750444
Varta batteries range undergoes revamp
GET CONNECTED AUGUST 2011
Europe’s number two battery manufacturer Varta has updated its range and refreshed the brand with new POS and guidance for retailers on how to improve battery sales. The new look combines an updated brand image with clearly differentiated product designs and messaging and will launch in the UK in September this year.
Proposals in place to cut bureaucracy burden on retailers The government has announced plans to scrap or simplify more than 160 regulations, freeing the public and retailers from rules that are unnecessarily burdensome, overly bureaucratic or completely redundant. The proposals are the first results from the Red Tape Challenge retail theme, which was launched by the Prime Minister on 7 April to give the public the chance to have their say on some of the 21,000-plus regulations that affect their everyday lives. Comments from the public and business on the 257 regulations under consideration have led to proposals to replace or simplify
more than 12 pieces of overlapping, costly and confusing consumer rights law with a single new piece of legislation, and to remove a number of burdens specifically identified by retailers, including the requirement to notify TV Licensing about TV sales. Announcing the proposals, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “This is just the start. We still need the help of business and the public to make the rest of the Red Tape Challenge a success and free businesses to compete, create jobs and unleash a private sector-led recovery.”
John Lewis accelerates growth plans Department store chain John Lewis is to increase its presence in the UK with a flexible store format that plays to its strength as a multichannel retailer. The new format will offer the full John Lewis assortment, tailored for individual locations and complemented by the firm’s online operation. The first outlet will open late 2012 in Exeter City centre on a site initially earmarked for an ‘at home’ store. The retailer said it has identified at least ten UK locations that will support the new concept. Outlets will range between 65,000 to 100,000 sq ft and sit between the established major department store business, which averages selling spaces around 132,000 sq ft, and the 40,000 sq ft ‘at home’ stores. John Lewis MD Andy Street said the flexible approach to the size of stores allows the business to “forge ahead” with growth plans in locations where it has long wanted to have a presence.
Dixons teams up with Harrods Dixons Retail has entered into a concession agreement to operate the consumer electronics section of Harrods in London, supplying a broad range of equipment and its KNOWHOW technical support service to the up-market retailer’s clientele. The 11,000 sq ft outlet, sited on Harrods’ 3rd floor and fully staffed by Dixons Retail colleagues, will open to customers early 2012. David Miller, Director of Home, Furniture and Sound & Vision for Harrods, said the store had “carefully selected a partner that boasts the best ranges and a trusted operation to ensure that the latest consumer technology is always at our customers’ fingertips.”
Made in Britain marque unveiled A standard marque for products made in Britain has been launched with the backing from UK kitchen and bathroom manufacturers and MPs. The marque was commissioned by British kitchen appliance manufacturer Stoves after research conducted earlier this year revealed that half of the British public
were confused about which brands could still claim to be made in Britain. Denver Hewlett, Chief Executive of Stoves parent GDHA, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response to the Made in Britain campaign so far. With widespread interest, a mention in the House of Commons and many other UK
manufacturers showing their support, there is clearly an appetite out there for a standard marque. “We think that this logo really captures the essence of the campaign and will proudly be displaying it on our website and marketing material and encouraging other UK manufacturers to do the same.”
THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS
‘Stand and Deliver’ lives on Armour Home has announced the acquisition of certain assets of Stand and Deliver Group Ltd. following the AV furniture company’s recent cessation of business. Commenting on the acquisition, Armour Group CEO George Dexter gave this brief statement: “Despite eventually succumbing to the severe economic conditions, Stand and Deliver has, over the past five years, established a strong franchise in the online marketplace. This acquisition will enable Armour Home to utilise this site to better promote and support our business, brand objectives and authorised dealers.”
Domestic appliances becoming impossible to repair cheaply, says Which? Manufacturers are making domestic appliances more difficult to repair, leading to more products being scrapped, according to Which? The consumer watchdog said that it now costs nearly as much to rectify some appliance faults as it does to buy a replacement as products aren’t being designed with repairs in mind. Exacerbating the situation, domestic appliance repairers have told Which? that manufacturers don’t always supply the
Smeg has launched a product brochure in CD format to supplement the printed version of its main range catalogue. The CD enables users to navigate quickly and easily to the required product sections and is intended for use by consumers and retailers. Bosch is offering up to £100 cash back on its most energy-efficient laundry, dishwashing and cooling products from the 12 September until 31 December 2011. The campaign will be promoted via digital media and the cash returned on a prepaid Visa card. Zanussi’s ZKG7145 washer dryer has been named a Best Buy and Budget Buy by the Good Housekeeping Institute. In a test of eleven washer dryers, Zanussi and AEG models were rated the highest, with the Zanussi ZKG7145 earning a score of 71/100 and the AEG Lavamat L16850 70/100.
information they need to enable them to make repairs. “It’s madness that consumers are faced with repairs costing as much as a new machine,” commented Which? reliability expert Matt Stevens. “Manufacturers need to make machines that can be repaired cheaply and easily and need to share all of the information they hold about how to repair their machines with independent repair specialists.”
Read the full article at www.gcmagazine.co.uk
BSH has been named ‘Supplier of the Year’ in the large home appliances category by Europe’s largest buying group Euronics International. It is the sixth year in succession that the manufacturer has received the award. Big Red Sales Ltd has announced it will be the first to distribute two new ranges of Sennheiser coloured earphones to the independent retail sector. Floorcare specialist SEBO has launched a new, easy-to-use website with dealer locator, product information and images and advice on how consumers should care for their floor coverings. Parts and accessories can also be purchased on the site. The Haier Glass Design® range has gained the PREVIEW Design Award at the IFA Preview press event in Germany.
Stoves and Belling launch ‘Colour Boutique’ Stoves and Belling have unveiled a new colour concept which will give consumers the opportunity to choose from 12 hues across some of the brands’ most popular range cookers. ‘Colour Boutique’, initially available in the brands’ Range Centres from September this year, can be applied to all size and fuel variants of the Stoves Richmond and Belling Classic models, providing a total of 180 colour/cooker combinations. Rob Burton, Commercial Manager for range cookers at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, said: “We have seen significant sales increases in range cooking across the Stoves and Belling brands in the last year and we believe Colour Boutique will help to take the brands to the next level, offering consumers a wider choice.”
TRIC names new President Broadcaster Eamonn Holmes has been appointed the 2011/2012 President of the Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC). He received his chain of office from outgoing President Tony Hadley, lead singer with Spandau Ballet, at TRIC’s annual general meeting in the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. Nick Gregory, Director of Planning at Sky, has been appointed the new chairman of the Club.
2 year parts and labour warranty on all Beko Built-in Appliances www.beko.co.uk T. 0845 850 5008 E. email@example.com
Photo © Flickr - Irish4Ph
TALK ON THE HIGH STREET
GET CONNECTED AUGUST 2011
s this magazine was going to press, first news was coming in of the riots and looting of business premises in London and around the country. Although this has a direct bearing on our High Streets and retail businesses, and may prove to be the final straw for some, we took the decision to keep the focus on the longerterm, deeper-seated questions about the future of our High Streets and our retailers. Recent figures show that nearly 15% of retail premises are now vacant. That’s 50,000 High Street units standing empty. And there is a projection that says 25% of all non-food retail outlets could be closed by 2020. Yet at the same time there are local and regional electrical retailers who continue to flourish – or at least to make a good living – even in these very difficult trading conditions. Clearly, understanding local conditions is the key to addressing a process that was happening before 2008, and has just been exposed and accelerated by recession. The impact of the disorder and theft on our High Streets needs to be assessed in context, when its extent is clearer, and last month’s piece generated a great deal of reaction from electrical retailers, both independent and multiple, and from CE and MDA manufacturers, who were addressing the longer-term retail problem. Some of their views, and the trends of opinion that emerged, are reproduced here.
Acting local One preponderant body of opinion that emerged from electrical retailers was that, while central Government intervention and national measures to support High
Last month we asked whether the UK’s High Streets can be fixed, and whether even trying to do so is, in every case, the right way for retailers to approach the future. In the light of recent events, the title of that feature, “High Noon on the High Street,” had a ring of confrontational violence that was more prophetic than we could have known at the time.
Street retailers could provide a useful general stimulant to consumer confidence and spending, the detailed work has to be done area by area, High Street by High Street, because there is no single, one-size-fits-all solution that will work nationally. One independent told GC: “The Government could cut VAT. That might help. They could also give local authorities more power to do things on their own initiative, like with the parking charges. But they know nothing about different local situations and they don’t know anything about retail. So to do any good we will have to sit down with our own landlords, local councillors, local business people and local shoppers to work out what we can do for ourselves in this High Street. As your article says, every place is different, and there may be things that will help, or it may be that we have to accept that in some places traditional High Streets are not wanted any more.” Another pointed out: “When my Dad and his brother started this shop in the sixties, they knew what they were doing, they knew who their customers were and what they wanted, and they did well by making a good reputation. But the area has totally changed now, and the people who live around here commute up to London and do their shopping at the weekend at the supermarkets and big shopping malls.
Shopping on this street was getting less and less before the recession even started, and now it’s practically disappeared. Being the best, most helpful electrical shop in the area is no good if nobody comes, and I can’t really make them come because the first thing that they look at is price. I don’t think the Government can really do anything about that. ” At the other end of the local retail experience, emphasising the fact that there’s no universal solution, we received this: “The recession has hit very hard on local shops as it has on everyone, but this High Street is still in the middle of a really well established community, and this is where local people still come to shop. I’m serving people whose parents bought from me. I make sure I give good service and good advice, I deliver locally and I do servicing, so local people still rely on me. Plus I have a local landlord who understands that empty shops are no good to anyone, and local business associations and the local council do work together to put on events that bring customers to the High Street. I do feel sorry for local traders in other areas who’ve had the rug pulled from under them by customers changing and being lured away by big out of town stores and cheap prices on the internet. I am lucky to be where I am, but I also work twelve hours a day at it, so it’s more than just luck.”
TALK ON THE HIGH STREET
The “local solutions” message was carried through to industry opinions of how effective the intervention of “retail guru” Mary Portas could be in a nationwide initiative to “bring back the bustle to our High Streets.” A consumer electronics manufacturer said: “We deal with a huge variety of retail channels, and what’s clear to us is that the problems are not the same for all of them. Where they are, how big they are and whether their offer is based on price or service is all important, and we’re very conscious that we have to support them all in different ways. Mary Portas has an impressive CV as a retailer, but I can’t honestly see how her expertise can be applied nationally to help every High Street wherever it is and whatever types of shops it has. It’s difficult enough for us to find ways to support High Street retailers, and we’re in close touch with them. Unless Mary Portas has the time and resources to look at all the local factors, she can only recommend the central remedies that we all know about already.” A single-outlet independent with a shop on the High Street says: “Don’t get me wrong. Mary Portas is probably really good at what she does. But I don’t see what she can do to help me. Short of coming here and talking to my landlord, my local authority, my suppliers, all the local traders and a fair number of local residents, how can she understand exactly what needs doing here? I work in the community every day, and I don’t have the complete answer.”
Any effort to revive High Streets has to be applauded, and we are all still hopeful that Mary Portas can, at the very least, focus the big players – Government, landlords, giant retailers, local authorities – on the big things that can be done to create the most favourable national conditions. But she can’t work at micro level, and that is where the effort has to be put in to take best individual advantage of those favourable conditions.
Being national, thinking local John Lewis, whose retail model and sales figures are followed carefully as a measure of how well retail can do in difficult times, is an example of how a national strategy based on local knowledge can work. The store’s core retail operation has always been based on big departmental stores of 130,000-plus sq. ft. floorspace, in centres with a substantial population, staffed by well trained people who know their products. The success of the online business has grown in close association with that bricks-and-mortar reputation, and it’s an online model that can be modified to suit most retailers, big or small. But John Lewis recognised that the big-store model is not a good one for all locations, because some may not be densely enough populated to support it. Hence the smaller “At Home” stores with around 40,000 sq. ft. of floorspace, offering all the benefits of the John Lewis reputation, a good selection of appropriate lines in-store, plus access to the entire John Lewis offering. A local solution to suit local conditions. Taking this local modelling further, John Lewis is now creating “in-between” stores with size flexibility to suit specific locations and catchment areas. It’s a lesson for all retailers on the importance of recognising the demands of the locality and tweaking the successful elements to fit it.
The RRP route Movement towards removing the ban on manufacturers’ Recommended Retail Price for certain electrical goods has been generally welcomed in the industry as a way of taking back some control that manufacturers and retailers can exercise – if they choose – as an antidote to the somewhat ill-conceived drive towards “consumer rights.” For a long time it’s been assumed as a basic article of faith that consumers’
rights to unlimited choice, the cheapest possible prices and the reassurance that retailers will have to jump through legal hoops for them, are sacrosanct. But taken to extremes, the concept of “consumers’ rights” leads to intolerable pressure on retailers, pricing anarchy, the destruction of retail – and eventually manufacturer – margins, and a consequent collapse of consumer choice. Retail outlets going out of business, the boarding-up of our High Streets and the concentration of power in a smaller and smaller number of mega-retailers is not good for consumers. The move to remove the ban on RRP is an acknowledgement of this, but there is more to be done here. “Bringing back RRP is probably a good thing if it can be made to work,” said a regional independent. “But only if we all agree to honour RRP and the manufacturers don’t give in to the biggest retailers and the volume-shifters they all seem to need. We’ll have to see how it works, but maybe it’s too late to make a difference.”
What’s next? It’s clear that patterns of retail are changing irrevocably, and that some High Streets have really run their evolutionary course in the development of society. Some will have to be let go because the customers needed to sustain them have made different choices. But the High Street is still the core of UK retail, and still has a central place in creating a good retail experience for buyers and sellers. The opportunities for bricks-and-mortar may be fewer, and it may be harder work for retailers to get it right, but there are still rewards for those who understand the place and are able to adapt to suit what its consumers want.
GET CONNECTED AUGUST 2011
The guru factor
JVC UX-VJ5 / UX-VJ3 iPad®, iPhone®, iPod® audio systems Two unique audio systems from JVC feature a slim, vertical centre unit and speakers that connect and charge iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® devices simultaneously. The centre unit has a USB host, PC input, FM/AM tuner, and conceals two docks behind its simple design. Model UX-VJ5 also incorporates a CD player and has the facility to record music (MP3, MSC). UXVJ5 comes in white, brown, and violet, and UX-VJ3 in white, pink and green.
Video output / Audio input
Output power: 15W x 2, RMS, 1kHz, 6 ohms, 10% THD
Sound control: 5 Settings, Surround Mode / Sound Turbo
30 FM / 15 AM presets
Auto power save 30 minutes
020 8450 3282 www.jvc.co.uk
Electrolux T8 cylinder vacuum cleaner The Electrolux T8 vacuum cleaner has multi-cyclone technology which provides continuous suction and powerful cleaning both on carpets and hard floors. Top of the range model ZT3530UK comes with a turbo nozzle, an upholstery nozzle and a hard floor nozzle.
Maytag MDW 606 AWG IntelliSense® dishwasher Maytag’s MDW 606 AWG uses just six litres of water to clean 13 place settings and reduces the need to pre-treat dishes prior to washing. The low level of water consumption is achieved by saving the water from the final rinse in a dedicated reservoir where it is recycled for use at the beginning of the next programme. The water is filtered and automatically drained to prevent the formation of bacteria if the appliance isn’t used for more than three days.
250 air watts
1.3-litre dust container
5m cord with rewind / 9-metre operating radius
Soft-start function / Soft rear wheels / Sound absorber
SRP: ZT3510 £99.99 / ZT3520 £159.99 (pictured) / ZT3530 £179.99
IntelliSense® advanced sensor technology
‘Impulse Pulse’ pump technology alternates low and high pressure throughout the cycle
Steam Clean option
Low energy usage (0.98kW) / Programme time 65 minutes
08445 614 614 www.electrolux.co.uk
0844 499 0101 www.maytag.co.uk
OmniMount Blade Series AV furniture system
The Blade Series low-profile furniture system from OmniMount comes in a choice of one shelf (Blade 1) or two shelf (Blade 2) models and is designed for easy mounting in just a few simple steps, either beneath a flat-panel TV or as a standalone unit. Multiple Blade 1 units can be mounted together.
Integrated cable management
8mm tempered glass shelving supports up to 35 lbs (15.9 kg)
Supplied with installation template and full hardware kit
01280 850004 www.omnimount.com
THE PRODUCT GALLERY
Husky ‘Brand Britain’ refrigerators Refrigeration specialist Husky has launched two compact drinks appliances with ‘Brand Britain’ themed finishes: one sporting the Union Jack and the other a montage featuring some of London’s most iconic images such as Big Ben, Tower Bridge, a black cab and a London bus.
Removable compartment shelf / 2 x door shelves
Temperature range 0-10°
Holds up to 40 x 440ml cans
01455 555397 www.husky-retail.com
Steel Cuisine range cookers Steel Cuisine’s range cooker collection comes in a number of vibrant colours, but the option to change colour schemes after purchase gives consumers the choice to be as bold as they please. For around £190 and in under an hour, the appliance is reborn. 01926 338116 www.steelcuisine.co.uk
NAD 3D-capable T 748 audio video receiver NAD’s new 3D capable T 748 A/V Receiver offers a combination of high quality sound and high definition video at a competitive price of £795.00. It has seven channels of ultra-low distortion power and incorporates the company’s proprietary EARS (Enhanced Ambience Retrieval System) surround mode for converting stereo source material. All surround sound formats are decoded by the latest high speed DSP. HDMI provides simple integration of multiple digital video devices
Intuitive user interface
Custom A/V presets
FM/AM tuner with 30 station presets and RDS support
Connection for NAD’s optional IPD 2 Dock for iPod and DB 2 Digital DAB+ module
01279 501111 www.armourhome.co.uk
AEG PowerMix Silent blender AEG has hailed its new PowerMix Silent blender a “global innovation” with a patented sound reduction system making it quieter than any other on the market, operating at 77dB compared to the average 85-95dB. There are two models in the range: the SB4400 in Antique Steel and the SB4600 in Deep Aubergine, the latter with a mini-chopper powerful enough to crush ice.
600W motor / 1.5L capacity
6 x speed settings / pulse function
RSP: SB4400 £99.99 / SB4600 £149.99
08445 614614 www.aeg.co.uk
3D video at resolutions up to 1080p
KITCHEN SHOWPIECE: DE DIETRICH COMPACT 45 APPLIANCES IN AN ATTENTIONGRABBING INLINE DISPLAY
TOWN & APARTMENT LIVING
Traditional barriers in the home are coming down as family rooms give way to open-plan living. For some, the goal is to realise the full capacity of small dwellings; for others, a ‘lifestyle’ statement and enhancement of the living space. In this Town & Apartment Living feature, GC looks at the potential solutions for retailers and kitchen planners, whose job it is to fulfill consumer aspirations, with particular emphasis on appliances suitable for smaller homes
urnishing the kitchen of a small home or apartment can sometimes prove a challenge for consumers: space is often limited and, in many cases, open-plan areas have been developed to make the most of living accommodation. But while households with kitchens, dining and living areas merged into one may have many considerations to take into account when choosing domestic appliances, the scope for originality, creativity and expression in composing a seamless alliance between form and function, even if on a small scale, is only limited by the imagination. The bijou-home dweller is not alone, of course, in appointing the open-plan milieu as a preferable living style. As a recent study showed, 2.9 million rooms have disappeared from British homes in the past five years as households opted for the airiness of a larger, undivided space. 190,000 living room walls are soon to go, according to the study, and, interestingly, 170,000 utility rooms will be added, suggesting that
certain domestic appliances are considered purely as utilitarian workhorses and have no place in today’s ‘statement’ kitchen. The idea of open-plan living is by no means new; rather, it is one which has developed over the past fifty years, from the more conservative marrying of the kitchen and dining areas, or dining and living areas, into the bold liberation of the entire ground floor.
The nucleus The heart of the open-plan home will more often than not be the kitchen – the zone that commands most of the interior design budget and the model upon which the blueprint for the entire living space will be based. No pressure, then, for kitchen designers and retailers, who in effect have become charged with fulfilling consumer aspirations and dreams in the making of a lifestyle statement, while delivering all the serviceable practicalities of a working environment. Mike Jarrett, Sales Director at Neff, believes the “most critical” issue with UK kitchens is often the lack of
tall cupboard space: “Many kitchens do not have any tall housing space at all and many only have space for one tall housing, so it is up to the consumer and/or kitchen planner to decide how best to use this one key unit. The big question is,” he says, “do they use it for storage, for cooling or for housing the cooking appliances? In our opinion, this is the most important decision to be made.” In the open-plan space, a streamlined, uncluttered look which bows to simplicity while projecting individuality is often the primary design requirement. But with this comes the need for functionality and the platform for theatre, as the status of home cooking and entertaining has evolved. As Whirlpool Brand Communication Manager Juliana Sado remarks: “Social habits have been just as much of a factor in the reshaping of the home.” Sado points out that the current trend for home entertainment isn’t confined to big houses and big families: “We’re all doing it,” she says. “Not only is the practice a method of keeping food bills down, it’s a way of showing off to friends. We want to show them a professional kitchen with the latest high-tech appliances.” Lack of space, of course, is often a hindrance, and Sado recommends that what does exist be maximised by clever thinking, neat installation and intelligent, multi-tasking appliances that are not necessarily compact – although this can be an advantage – but cleverly designed and flexible, without compromising on function and performance.
The focal point Modern-day kitchens will have at their heart a ‘statement’ – an expression of personality, lifestyle and, albeit subjective, good taste – and the trend for banking cooking appliances is, for many, a way of presenting an eye-catching feature that projects this statement while harbouring the suggestion of culinary finesse. Neff ’s Jarrett says the secret here is to “think big.” Never has there been a broader selection of appliances on the market, and “any household,” he believes, “irrespective of size, can easily accommodate every possible cooking requirement with three cavity-appliances – a multifunction oven, compact microwave combination and a steam oven either in-column or side by side – plus a hob and efficient hood.” There is no shortage of innovation and choice in the compact appliance sector: Neff itself has in its range a selection of steam ovens, microwaves and microwaves with grills that can be installed in standard 30cm deep wall units, offering a flexible solution for many homes.
TOWN & APARTMENT LIVING
the number of products “or indeed the functionality.” AEG, she says, has a wide range of such appliances, from coffee machines to multifunction ovens, combination microwaves, steam ovens and dishwashers, all of which fit neatly into a bank to make a design statement.
Little or large?
CANDY’S TRIO COMBINES A MULTIFUNCTION OVEN AND GRILL, A GAS OR CERAMIC HOB AND A 6 PLACE SETTING DISHWASHER IN A SINGLE APPLIANCE WITH STANDARD COOKER FOOTPRINT
benefit of the brand’s ‘intelligent cooking system’ with four cooking functions that recommend the best shelf position, temperature and cooking time. Hoover’s 76L Prodige oven is another example of the “double oven within a single cavity” concept. The unit has independent temperature controls for each section and a stylish lighting system comprising 14 LEDs in the glass door, providing clear illumination throughout the appliance interior.
Top displays It has been widely acknowledged that the British are considered a nation of ‘oven cooks’, unlike our Continental neighbours, who tend to do most of their cooking on the hob. A change in habits is coming about, however, as the popularity of cuisines such as Mediterranean and Oriental has spread and the desire for the earlier mentioned display of ‘theatre’ has grown. The increasing importance of the hob, both as a cooking appliance and a design statement, can be seen in the growth of island units which place the appliance as the centrepiece of the kitchen, and in breakfast bar-style hob housings which act as a divide for open-plan space. Individual requirements as to the size of hob and fuel type will, of course, vary, but Smeg Product Development and Training Manager Joan Fraser urges retailers and designers to look towards Domino hobs for a range of solutions. There are a number of inventive Domino designs on the market from a wide selection of brands and many collections extend to products that offer the opportunity A BOLD STATEMENT MADE BY THIS MAYTAG SIDEBYSIDE
Compact appliances seem perfect for kitchens with limited space, but are they the only answer for this common feature of British homes? Apparently not. Samsung Product Manager for Cooking Nick Bevan believes an appliance that acts as an all-in-one solution and provides multiple options for consumers is the best choice, “especially since space is often limited in modern homes. Multifunction appliances always do well saleswise – it’s what the consumer is looking for.” Bevan highlights Samsung’s Dual Cook Steam Oven, which he says saves time and caters for people’s “ultrabusy, leisure-centric lifestyles.” The appliance can be used either as a full 65L cavity with or without steam, or be divided into two sections – a 32L lower section and a 30L upper section. The divider seals both cavities so that independent cooking programmes can be run without the transfer of odours or flavours between the two, “even if steaming in one whilst roasting in the other.” Hotpoint also believes in the versatility of a dividable cavity. Brand Manager Iain Starkey says the company’s Openspace ovens provide the flexibility of a double oven in a single oven space. These appliances offer 70L capacities which can be split into two independently controlled cooking areas and have the
Jarrett also points out that compact appliances can be installed under the work surface, as can some of Neff ’s double ovens, but if possible the oven should always be placed at a comfortable user height. “Think about half-height tall housings as part of the divider between the kitchen and living area,” he advises. De Dietrich also highlights a number of flexible cooking solutions particularly suitable for smaller kitchens. Sales and Marketing Director Richard Walker is keen to promote the recently-launched DOS1045X, part of the brand’s Compact 45 collection of ovens. The 45cm unit has 11 oven functions including fan cooking, full width variable grill and turbo grill with rotisserie options. “The benefit for keen cooks,” says Walker, “is that the oven also incorporates an integrated water receptacle for steam cooking and features three steam functions. It also has three pyroclean cycles. Together with a 45cm ICS microwave combination oven (DME795) and 45cm steam oven (DOV745), these compact alternatives fulfill every type of cooking requirement.” De Dietrich sister brand Fagor, which produces advanced appliances aimed at a “younger, aspirational audience,” has two compact ovens which maximise space in the kitchen: a 45cm touch-control microwave combination (6H-570ATCX) and matching 45cm steam oven (6HV-585ATC X). Walker says the products will appeal to consumers that require “quality, energyefficient appliances at more affordable prices.” Sophie Davidson, AEG Local Product Manager, Food Preparation, is keen to point out that, with compact appliances, consumers don’t need to compromise on
TOWN & APARTMENT LIVING
for theatre. Smeg’s 30cm range includes induction, gas and ceramic models as well as a low-level deep fryer, teppanyaki and lava stone grill. De Dietrich’s Walker recommends “flexible, spaceefficient hobs” as ideal for small or open-plan kitchens in which people want to entertain and where room for a large hob [such as a 90cm model] is not available. “The 65cm DTi1053X Zoneless Dual Continuum induction Hob offers greater space flexibility than a standard 60cm hob as it can accommodate multiple pans on each of the side-by-side zoneless Continuum Cooking areas, with two separate temperature controlled areas for each zone. If necessary, the zone can also be converted to one overall cooking area for larger pans,” he explains. And if space is truly at a premium, his advice is to opt for a 38cm modular induction hob: “The De Dietrich DTi1041X is a single continuum Zone that will accommodate multiple pans, again with two separate temperature controlled areas that can be converted to one single larger zone.”
What’s overhead? Extraction – an important factor for any kitchen planner to take into account – becomes even more critical in the open-plan environment as, apart from undesirable, lingering cooking smells, soft furnishings will need to be protected from penetrating odours and grease. Neff ’s Jarrett stresses that the efficiency of the cooker hood is “vital.” Retailers and designers need to check how much grease and odour can be extracted, “so it’s really important not just to look at the air flow rates,” he advises. He also highlights the fact that apartment blocks often don’t have sufficient access for ducted ventilation so recirculation may be the only solution. “Here, air flow is less, so the efficiency of the grease and odour filters becomes hugely important.” ATTRACTIVE APPLIANCES NEED NOT BE CONFINED TO THE KITCHEN
Space-saving built-in products from Stoves The Stoves collection of built-in products offers an option to suit every style of kitchen, size and fuel preference, allowing retailers to provide customers with a wealth of choice and a product that truly fits their needs. The core range, launched late last year, has recently been expanded with the addition of a number of new products to offer even greater flexibility and choice. Taking the aesthetic from the highly popular Stoves Sterling range cooker,
Jarrett advocates the use of telescopic hoods where space is limited: “These can be installed just 430mm above electric hobs and are designed to maintain as much usable space as possible in the wall units above. Not only is this a practical solution, but it is also a chic and understated alternative to the larger chimney versions.” Smeg’s Joan Fraser supports this view, pointing out that her brand’s KSET610 60cm telescopic hood can be “pulled out from a wall unit when required and pushed back tidily out of the way when finished with.” Importantly, Fraser adds that the unit is also quiet in operation, at 27dB (A) on setting 1. The noise level of a normal conversation is said to be around 50 – 60dB. Jarrett urges kitchen planners to check the noise levels of extractors, but cautions they not be misled by the different rates declared: “Ask for the international measurement according to the EN norm which requires lengths of ducting to be attached to give a better indication of installed noise levels. However, beware of the different measurements as the legislation allows two, which means direct comparisons between brands are much harder to make.” Noise levels are an important consideration for open-plan living areas, and domestic appliances are not traditionally known to be silent operators: fridges humming and whining 24 hours a day, dishwashers whooshing and sloshing through the evening and washing machines groaning, whirring, vibrating and bumping their way across the kitchen floor. But times have changed, and operational noise levels are now a great USP that needs to be demonstrated, as the majority of consumers have no conception of the decibel scale. There is little doubt that most will be astonished at the improvements – many of which will be highlighted as we move through other product areas in this feature – and at the varying price levels of ‘silent’ appliances on the market.
the new products include four built-in single and double ovens, a 70cm builtunder double oven and three gas and electric hobs. All of the new Sterling built-in products are also Made in Britain. For further information: 0844 248 4149 www.stoves.co.uk
STACKING A WASHING MACHINE AND TUMBLE DRYER PROVIDES A SPACESAVING SOLUTION
Well loaded… Laundry appliances are an essential, and most consumers will want to wash less often while having the option to ‘wash and go’ when necessary. Little space means little room for drying apparatus, and the prospect of clothes hanging over radiators is not conducive to an uncluttered, aspirational way of life. It would be an injustice to the industry to articulate the development in washing machine capacities as anything less than remarkable. The convenience of washing less often has certainly been met by manufacturers, with the production of appliances boasting capacities more than double those available in the 90s. Up to 12kg in a standard sized machine means that additional space is not required to take advantage of the benefits brought by such products. LG’s new 6 Motion Direct Drive 12kg washing machine with TrueSteam™ has an impressive ‘A+++’ energy class,
Space creating innovation Haier’s 4-door side-by-sides are double the internal width of a standard side-by-side – with the same external dimensions
Amazing new technology from Haier Fridge or freezer? The choice is yours... -18 ° C
Haier has launched the new AFD626 combi fridge freezer series. The middle compartment of this fridge freezer can be independently controlled from +5°C to -18°C, giving customers greater flexibility over how they manage their food. The AFD626 is available in stunning Haier glass black, red, white and stainless steel effect. To learn more about this product, please contact Haier.
*Source: Euromonitor International Limited; retail volume sales in units based on 2010 data.
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TOWN & APARTMENT LIVING THIS NEFF STEAM OVEN SLOTS NEATLY INTO STANDARD 30CM DEEP WALL UNITS
Bowlfuls of space
‘A’ class wash performance and ‘A’ class spin performance, with a low annual energy consumption of 222kWh. Samsung’s Eco Bubble 12 kg machine has the facility to wash garments “perfectly” at a temperature of 15 degrees, giving the same results as in a 30/40-degree wash, and Hotpoint’s 11kg Aqualtis has its drum built into a soundproof cabinet, providing the brand’s “quietest wash ever” with spin speeds up to 1600rpm, “so clothes spend less time in the tumble dryer or hanging around on the radiator,” says Brand Manager Iain Starkey. The drying of large wash loads does tend to pose an awkward problem for many households – laundry draped on clothes horses, over radiators, banisters and in front of fires can quickly turn the living area into a perceivable shambles. Where a tumble dryer is a no-no due to lack of space, the obvious solution is to consider a washer dryer. Samsung’s Gino Grossi offers this advice for retailers and designers recommending such products: “Be aware that these machines need to be vented properly to prevent overheating, not only of the machine but the exterior space, too, since the heat from the dryer can often cause a room to get stuffy. Proper ventilation is key to ensuring the living space remains fresh.” De Dietrich’s Walker recommends integrating a washer dryer “as the beauty of an integrated appliance is that it is both functional and space-efficient.” The brand’s DLZ693BU integrated model has a 6kg wash and 4kg drying capacity and is available in black with minimalist silver controls.
For consumers that prefer a ‘big wash’, Indesit’s freestanding Prime PWDE8147S washer dryer has an 8kg wash and 6kg drying capacity. And for smaller kitchens or utility areas Hoover’s slim-depth 45cm model has a 6kg wash and 5kg drying capacity. Slim-depth washer dryers are quite uncommon in the UK, but there are a growing number of washing machines in this size category, which are particularly suitable for galley-style kitchen or utility rooms where reduced depth worktops have been installed to free up floor space. Hoover’s OPHS 712DF accommodates a family-sized 7kg wash load, as does sister brand Candy’s 40cm deep Grand’O, which delivers a full wash in just 32 minutes. Indesit’s slim-depth 45cm IWSC5125 offers an express 15-minute wash and special programmes for jeans, wools, delicates and sports shoes, while Amica’s A-rated, 42.5cm AWSO10L has 15 wash programmes, including a 27-minute short wash cycle, and an antibacterial system. AEG and a number of other brands suggest the stacking of washing machines and tumble dryers to save space, and offer stacking accessories which ensure appliances banked on top of each other are stable and safe to use.
Dishwasher ownership is increasing in the UK, and a generation of new householders who have lived with such products is emerging. For them, it is an essential they will not want to be without. And with built-in, integrated, in-line, slim-line and countertop models on the market, there is a wealth of choice for those kitting out small and open-plan areas. However, according to De Dietrich’s Walker, “one of the first appliances often crossed off the wish list due to lack of space is the dishwasher, yet this is possibly one of the most important appliances to own in a space-efficient kitchen.” “Many of us forget the great advantages of the dishwasher,” says Whirlpool’s Sado. Apart from the resource-saving, hygienic washing and drying of dishes, she remarks on the appliance’s inherent de-cluttering facility – a hideaway for dirty dishes and, after washing, a storage area for clean ones. In effect, “a great use of space rather than the ‘space grabber’ they are often deemed to be.” Sado aptly describes the dishwasher as “an ever-increasing tardis.” The majority of models on the market now have place settings in the region of 12 to 13, although Maytag’s XXL appliance has a massive 17. The ‘tardis’ effect can also be seen in slim-line appliances, many of which now have a family-sized 10 place settings and are available at a range of price levels. De Dietrich’s integrated slim-line model, the newly launched AAA rated DVY1010J, for example, is ideal for smaller and open-plan kitchens. It operates at 46dB(A) and incorporates the brand’s Intelligent Control System which assesses the level of dirt on items before automatically setting the most performance- and resource-efficient programme. Hotpoint’s slim-line SDD910 is also a sensorcontrolled machine with 10 place settings. Its ‘Flexipower’ motor provides shorter wash times and it has an operational noise level of 47dB; Indesit’s AAA rated IDS105 is recommended by the EST and has gained the Waterwise marquee; Smeg’s AAA rated slimline models each accommodate 10 place settings and operate at 48dB(A); Beko’s 45cm DE2541F, again with 10 place settings, operates at 49dB(A).
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TOWN & APARTMENT LIVING
MAX on test
Compact dishwashers are available in a range of formats; the selection of brands and models too numerous to mention within the context of this feature. But one of the most recent launches is Gorenje’s GIC63140 AX, an extension of the brand’s Pure range of appliances. The in-line model comes in a stylish black and stainless steel finish and is the “perfect choice for those who lack the room for a full-size model but don’t wish to compromise on style and functionality,” according to Marketing Manager Ruth Ferguson. “Consumers are increasingly looking for appliances that perfectly match their spatial requirements, making compact models of real interest, and will appreciate the retailer who can offer eye-catching products in a variety of footprints,” she adds.
Cooling space Combination cooling appliances generally take up the biggest area in the kitchen, but sufficient, safe food storage is a must. And, as Maytag Product Marketing Manager Caroline Guillermard says: “Consumers want appliances that say something about them.” With the kitchen and living space opening up, the opportunity to opt for bigger, focal-point cooling appliances becomes a possibility and “side-by-sides in two and three-door configurations and those that can be customised both inside and outside will certainly make a statement.” Whirlpool’s Sado adds that the side-by-side takes up less space than a paired European fridge and freezer sited together (1000mm compared to 1200 mm), and Whirlpool’s new models ventilate through the plinth so can be built in between cupboards or living room furniture. “The latest glass and glass-like finishes are just perfect for a dramatic effect,” she says. Sado advocates extending refrigeration appliances such as wine cabinets into other areas of the home: “The latest sophisticated and elegant designs lend themselves to being placed in the dining or living area to create a superb display of the owner’s wine collection.” Hotpoint’s Iain Starkey also believes that cooling appliances could be liberated from the kitchen. “Stylish products with true design appeal, like the Hotpoint Quadrio and Indesit Trilogic, look equally at home in an open-plan living room,” he comments.
For those looking for flexible fridge and freezer space, there are a number of models on the market with compartments that can be switched from fridge to freezer mode. Haier’s ‘MyZone’, for example, has a middle compartment that can be used as either. “This means that customers no longer need to trade off capacity against smaller fridge freezers,” says UK White Goods Product Manager James Osborne, “and they can use this appliance to meet all their storage needs throughout the year. For example: the storage of more frozen products in winter and more fresh produce in summer.” MyZone comes in a glass finish, offering “a glamorous design for a small space.” Consumers need to recognise that good use of vertical space is every bit as important as the clever use of floor space. As AEG’s Sophie Davidson notes: “Space is precious and the homeowner needs to maximize what’s available.” For smaller kitchen areas she strongly recommends the purchase of extra-tall refrigeration as a resourceful means of doing away with the “dead space” that would normally exist above cabinets or threequarter height cooling appliances, thereby providing valuable, safe food storage. Where vertical space is occupied by in-column or banked appliances, cooling drawers may provide a stylish alternative. Hotpoint is one of a number of brands with such products in its range: the 90cm units can be supplied either with Hotpoint Experience Steel fronts or finished with matching cabinetry.
WHIRLPOOL’S RANGE OF DISHWASHERS OPERATE AT A “WHISPER QUIET” 39DBA
As the number of low-occupancy, more compact homes increases across the UK and more areas are surrendered to the open-plan environment, consumers will continue to seek out appliances that can deliver aspirational lifestyle requirements. But, “regardless of the space available in the home, when we boil it all down to basics, most would-be buyers want the answers to the following questions,” says Maytag’s Guillermard: Does the appliance fulfill my needs? Is it a brand I can trust and rely on if anything goes wrong? Does it look nice and will it fit in with the rest of my kitchen and living area? How much will it cost me over the long-term in energy and water expenditure?
Microwave ovens are a great benefit to any household, whether space is limited or not, and the traditional perception of these appliances as “pie warmers” is due mainly to consumers’ lack of knowledge as to how to use products for cooking rather than solely for reheating food and beverages. In September 2010,Whirlpool introduced its new MAX range of microwave ovens: the MAX 35 equipped with steam facility, and the MAX 38 equipped with grill and combi-grill and incorporating Crisp® patented technology for oven-crisp results. The first striking features of the MAX are its rounded back, which allows it to slot neatly into the corner of the worktop, its flat-screen glass door and clutter-free fascia. Overall, the design is clean and its gentle curves project a trendy retro feel. Not only does it sit perfectly in the corner of the worktop, but when placed ‘flat on’ its compact size and shape make it an appealing worktop focal point. GC put the MAX 35 through its paces over a period of time and found the appliance intuitive and easy to use due to its clearly labelled control panel. As for cooking, reheating and defrosting foodstuffs, it can’t be faulted. The Jet Defrost facility is a ‘godsend’; it does the job properly without partially cooking food and defrosts evenly too. Cooking the normal run of everyday foodstuffs such as baked potatoes, porridge and scrambled eggs (lovely with smoked ham or smoked fish added) was quick and easy, too, and produced the desired result – the scrambled eggs in particular were delicious, delivered with a soft and fluffy consistency with no ‘rubber tyre’ around the outside of the bowl. If GC had any advice for Whirlpool it would be to produce a cookery booklet for this versatile appliance, because the MAX’s ability is not limited to the cooking of basic foods. GC found that dishes such as prawn curry and quick risottos, for example, also turned out well. Steaming food in the MAX 35 is both quick and easy and, yet again, we found the appliance delivered the perfect result. Fish in particular was delightful: tasty, moist and cooked to a ‘T’. The MAX has a clock with kitchen timer, so users are signalled to return to check their dish or add further ingredients, and a memo function which stores preferred settings – really handy if cooking the same type of foods often. The 28cm turntable accommodates a standard-sized dinner plate, and the top of the MAX has been specially designed so dishes can be placed on it while checking their progress. Overall, we gave the MAX 35 a big ‘thumbs up’. The MAX 35 and MAX 38 both hold Which? Best Buy status and come in a selection of colours: red, cream, black, silver and white (model dependent).
One of the industry’s oldest and best known distributors is on the move. Swift of Stoke on Trent have just completed a major new investment programme to enable them to move all staﬀ to their purpose built Fenton site. Malcolm Scott, their commercial director, talks about the programme:
“In these diﬃcult times Swift has continued to invest in the future with a new oﬃce complex and exhibition area due to be completed during August. To mark the completion of the project, we will host the most comprehensive appliance show of the year on 18th, 19th & 20th October with over twenty industry giants showing their wares. We feel it is important for retailers and manufacturers to meet and discuss ideas - with the pressure from multiples and internet traders ever present, it is essential for kitchen showrooms and independent retailers to see the latest ideas and innovations.”
“…the most comprehensive appliance show of the year” As Swift’s marketing manager Jamie Wells points out “This is not just another ‘roadshow’ visitors will get the chance to talk to some of the industry’s key decision makers. Managing Directors from ﬁve leading appliance brands have already conﬁrmed that they will attend the three day show, plus the Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA) and White Goods Trade Association (WTA) will be representing the independent retailers. ”
“From the appliance world we have AEG, Amica, Belling, Bosch, Candy, Daewoo, Electrolux, Hoover, Hotpoint, Indesit, LEC, LuxAir Hoods, NewWorld, Smiths Environmental, Stoves, Whirlpool and Zanussi. Franke, Insinkerator, Perrin and Rowe and MGS Taps will also be showing their latest sink and tap oﬀerings. Since every brand will have outstanding ‘deal of the day’ oﬀers, this really is the show to visit.” visit www.swiftuk.co.uk/tradeshow to keep up with the latest tradeshow news and register for your tickets.
An outstanding brand achieves distinction by identifying and fulfilling real consumer needs, and by establishing over time a heritage of trust in its consistency and quality. While preserving the best of its established heritage, a Brand of Distinction must also prove its vitality by continuing to innovate, develop and respond to changing consumer needs and tastes. Lec, with 70 years of tradition and recognition in the UK refrigeration market, and with a current, vibrant, inventive identity as part of the Glen Dimplex Home Appliances stable, has clearly achieved that Brand of Distinction status.
Lec: Fresh and strong at 70
LEC’S LONDON SHOWROOM IN REGENT STREET, 1955 AND LEC FOUNDER CHARLES PURLEY
badge will also change, becoming a fresh take on its original polished metal badge to celebrate the brand’s heritage. The bold new badge will be more prominent on products and has been designed to convey Lec’s brand promise to provide good, honest refrigeration. The new advertising and imagery is stylish and bold, underpinned by simple messages and a promise to deliver ‘Pure refrigeration.’
The Lec Heritage
ounded in 1942 as the Longford Engineering Company, Lec is now the oldest refrigeration brand in the UK. The company was originally formed by Charles Purley, a fishmonger based in Bognor Regis who was fed up with the high cost of ice, and wanted to develop a refrigeration system to keep his fish cool. His first refrigerator, made using a CO2 compressor, proved so popular that he abandoned fishmongery and was soon making 27 fridges a week. By the late 1940s Lec was turning out more than 2,000 refrigerators a week, had 90% of the British export market to Canada and was making inroads into America. In 1989 the company was capable of producing up to 3,000 fridges a day and employed nearly 1,900 people. The company was acquired in 2005 by Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, who have invested heavily in restoring the Lec brand to its best with the launch of affordable, reliable and energy efficient products.
Pure Refrigeration Lec is celebrating its 70th birthday with a complete re-brand. As part of this re-brand, which includes a new advertising campaign, photography and website, Lec’s product
Eco-Friendly Cooling Lec is proud to have its complete range of A+ rated products backed by the Energy Saving Trust (EST). The EST is the UK’s leading impartial organisation helping to save energy and reduce carbon emissions. The role the trust plays in reducing energy use is vital to looking after the environment. So, it’s a partnership that is great for everyone. To be recommended by the EST, a refrigeration product must be A+ rated and conform to independently set criteria. The EST symbol represents a smarter choice all round. In fact, whenever you buy a product that features the symbol, you can be sure that it will cost you less to run and be kinder to the environment.
Best on Test
No gadgets, gizmos or gimmicks Lec’s ‘Pure refrigeration’ promise is reflected in its simple, effective ‘no nonsense’ product range of freestanding fridges, freezers, combis and wine coolers. Whether it’s capacity and durability for the family home, compact designs for smaller properties, or contemporary style for the modern apartment, there’s a Lec product for everyone.
Lec’s products have consistently performed well under test conditions and its appliances regularly receive praise from consumer testing body Which? Most recently, the Lec U5526W freestanding freezer received the highest possible mark of five stars for reliability, whilst the Lec L6046W freestanding fridge was awarded both a Best Buy and Exceptional Value product status. Awarded only to those products which achieve the highest results during rigorous testing and analysis, Which? Best Buy and Exceptional Value status is reserved only for the very best products and services on the market.
BRANDS OF DISTINCTION
Under Counter Class One of Lec’s particular strengths is in the under-counter category. In 2010 the brand consolidated its product range, focusing on its strongest categories, which have traditionally been the 50cm and 55cm under counter and combi models. Amongst the brand’s best sellers are:
R5010B As one of Lec’s strongest selling undercounter refrigerators the R5010B offers 100 litres of cooling capacity and 14 litre 4* freezer compartment. The R5010B, which is A+ energy rated and recommended by the Energy Saving Trust, sums up all the strengths of the Lec brand – value for money, efficiency and practicality – and is estimated to save up to £8 per year on energy bills. It also features two safety glass shelves, a salad drawer and a bottle shelf, and is available both white and black gloss.
TF5517W This new, competitively priced, A+ rated combi is a 55cm wide, 1.7 metre high frost free combi with an impressive 237 litre net capacity. The auto defrost freezer in the TF5517W offers 81 litres of freezing capacity and four spacious freezer drawers. In the refrigerator there are two shelves and a generously sized salad drawer. The product is available in white and is finished with recessed handles.
“Since acquiring the brand in 2005, we have worked hard to simplify the product portfolio and develop a point of difference in what is a very competitive market. Lec was always well known for its niche sizes and models, and we have continued this theme with such products as the 1.2m high 50cm combi T5039. But where we have really advanced and started to add value is in energy savings, delivering an A+ rating on all of our under counter products and many of our new range. “Our forward strategy is demonstrated through our new branding in terms of offering good, honest refrigeration with a strong energy message as endorsed by the EST. We have re-branded our products with a new, modern, stand out badge and our advertising message is all about offering good quality, energy efficient and reliable refrigeration products. We are really proud of the ownership of Lec and, as a British manufacturer of cooking appliances, we are working to continually develop the range of refrigerators to best serve the UK consumer in the most energy efficient way.” David Garden, Commercial Director at Lec
This product is one of Lec’s best sellers due to its niche size and affordability. At 1225cms tall it offers 90 litres of cooling capacity and 45 litres of freezing capacity, giving it great flexibility. Featuring integrated handles and reversible doors, along with three glass shelves and a bottle shelf, this A+ rated product is estimated to save you up to £5 a year in energy costs and is available in black or white.
T5039 50cm wide combi fridge freezer
THE TV AS HUB OF ONLINE CONTENT AND SERVICES
There are many home entertainment products and services, and a wealth of content, to choose from, including 3D, HD (broadcasts and packaged media), online services, digital downloads and streaming, as well as wireless systems. The challenge for consumers, retailers and manufacturers is knowing which will be the drivers of the future in this sector. George Cole talks to the people and examines the trends
s ever, the TV plays the central role in home entertainment, and while HD has its ongoing appeal and the interest in 3D continues to grow, 2011 will see internet access via the TV become more pervasive, says Tom Henderson, Philips’ trade marketing manager, TV. Philips has launched NetTV, a proprietary service that uses open standards to offer web access and selected services. Philips also offers a wireless internet service on its 7, 8 and 9 series TVs, and most Blu-ray players. “3D will continue to grow in importance, particularly with more affordably priced mid-range (passive) TVs and Blu-ray players coming on to the market, as well as the continued increase in 3D content availability to help to drive consumer interest,” adds Henderson. LG believes that 3DTV and Smart TV are the most significant drivers in the home entertainment market for 2011, says George Mead, product and consumer marketing manager, LG Home Entertainment. “We are offering consumers a wide choice of products featuring both these key technologies.” James Attfield, Vogel’s general manager UK, says that the development of the TV as the media hub of the home will change viewer
behaviour. It used to be about sitting down to watch your favourite TV programme or video: now, on the box, you can watch YouTube videos, update your Twitter or Facebook account, surf the web, stream on demand television, and watch catch up TV services. “This trend will increase the need for more sets in the home, and place the TV even more at the heart of the home environment.,” he adds.
Guy Kinnell, Samsung’s marketing director for TV, thinks that intelligent connectivity and content discovery are going to be the biggest developments in the market for the rest of 2011. “Having a device that learns your preferred entertainment options will help consumers watch the quality content they want and free them from the TV schedule.” Kinnell also thinks that more and more consumers will embrace a connected lifestyle, which integrates multiple devices (such as TV, Blu-ray player and smartphone) in the living room. Manufacturers offer many products that cater for these new trends. The latest Samsung Smart TVs, for instance, include 3D, HD quality images, full internet access and a 3D streaming service. LG has equipped
“The role of the television is changing from a passive device into a convergence point for digital content” Online TV future 3D and Connected TV seem to be driving the business at the moment, notes Fabrice Estornel, Panasonic’s senior manager, TV group visual marketing. “The ability to view online content on your TV is a very appealing feature. The seamless transition between broadcast and broadband represents a new experience for customers. The role of the television is changing from a passive device into a convergence point for digital content.”
all its SmartTV products to support DLNA home networking standard, as well as LG’s Media Link technology, that works via 3G and Wi-Fi. Last spring, LG launched the world’s first LED Cinema 3D TV range, with its LW450U, LW550T and LW650T models. This year’s range of Philips’ 7, 8 and 9 series TVs offer Smart TV functionality, which allows the set to communicate with Wi-Fi enabled gadgets such as phones, tablets and laptops, and display content from multiple sources
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SMART TV BRINGS THE WORLD TO THE SCREEN
simultaneously on the TV screen. Viewers can also control the set via an Android smartphone app or a wireless keyboard. Panasonic’s TV lineup incorporates a large number of Connected TVs, including the company’s cloud-based portal Viera Connect, as well as various home networking features. The majority of the TVs also offer 3D Full HD.
Furniture to match the technology
Accessories companies are also adapting to new trends in home entertainment. Paul McCarthy, Alphason’s commercial director, notes that “the AV furniture market is changing, with customers seeking OFF THE WALL “ECLIPSE” STAND out designer furniture to AVAILABLE THIS complement the latest SEPTEMBER designer sets. There has been a boom in sales over the last 3-4 years of budget glass and pole type stands. Many customers purchased this type of stand with their first flat panel TV. The market is now being largely driven by second and third generation panels, and customers are looking for the latest stands rather than budget glass stands.” The budget stand is now becoming the preserve of the hard discounters with, in some cases, prices being as low as £30. McCarthy thinks that retailers should move away from budget stands and “offer as much inspiration with your stand as you do with your TV.” Alphason has just launched a new Design First range, designed to do just this.
There are twelve ranges within the Design First collection and Alphason says it will be working with retailers to provide the best offer for their customer base. “We believe customers will become more demanding in the future, and we have responded to this with great British design, and the use of high quality materials such as polished metal and real wood veneers,” adds McCarthy. Off the Wall is introducing two related stand ranges, due to be available from September 1st. ,the Horizon and Eclipse, offering a choice of wood and glass finishes, both finished and assembled in Bradford with “the majority of parts locally sourced,” and with retail prices ranging from £269 to £319. Despite the movement from physical formats towards digital formats, there is still a demand for AV accessories, says Attfield, “I am sure physical storage will be affected by the introduction of cloud services, but for the foreseeable future, you will still need a bracket and a cable.” Vogel’s is adapting to the changes in the home entertainment market by watching developments and focusing on usability, affordability and choice. “No matter what the economic cycle is doing, you can’t get something for nothing; quality matters to all customers as does the user experience,” adds Attfield. TVs are now considerably lighter than they were just a couple of years ago, so Vogel’s has modernised its product portfolio to take this into account.
Who’s leading whom? Are these trends being driven by consumers or being pushed by the suppliers and developers? Mead says it’s “driven by both consumer demand and manufacturer’s desire to meet that demand – so this goes hand-in-
hand. Estornel also believes it’s a bit of both, with customers looking for new experiences and features, and manufacturers looking for differentiation. “There is a convergence of these trends from both sides,” he adds. “The interest for 3D from customers is real; only the content is still lacking. And for connected TV, customers appreciate the fact that they can access a lot of content without having to plug in their computers.“ Henderson says that, in order for any format to be truly successful, consumer pull and manufacturer push must proceed in balance; sales growth cannot be achieved without the appropriate mixture of the two. “The demand for 3D has risen dramatically over the past year, but only a handful of channels are providing content,” observes Kinnell, which is why it thinks its Explore 3D service will be a hit with consumers. He adds that Samsung is also in discussions with a range of potential partners, including broadcasters, gaming companies, high street stores and App developers, to ensure Smart TV is at the centre of entertainment and communication for within the home. “Due to the popularity of smartphones and tablets, we know people are comfortable with smart devices. Smart TV is the next step in the evolution of smart devices,” he adds. But with so many companies and sectors (including the computer industry and consumer electronics companies), who is best positioned to offer the products and content? “No one sector is best placed to deliver a complete solution,” says Henderson. “CE companies develop their products to take advantage of the content developments of the day – while still using their knowledge to optimise the consumer’s experience. Content/software companies adapt and extend their products to take into account
LIGHTER, SLIMMER PANELS ALLOW ULTRASLIM MOUNTING
hardware developments, both now and in the future. It’s a symbiotic relationship that no one party can own.” Estornel believes that CE companies have an advantage, because the television has always been the main device in the living room: “I think that the TV is the ideal convergence device for all those new services. A computer won’t replace a TV. You can put a computer inside a TV, but it will still be a TV, albeit a smarter one”.
Pivotal role for “traditional” retailers? The high street seems to be in crisis, with music and video stores struggling to combat the rise of online companies. As more of entertainment content goes online, should traditional electrical retailers and AV accessories companies fear this development? Henderson points out that “electrical retailing is very different from selling content. The typical ticket price
3D IN THE HOME IS A SIGNIFICANT DRIVER
“3DTV and Smart TV are the most significant drivers in the home entertainment market for 2011”
PC AND TV FUNCTIONS CONVERGE
and potential complexity of selecting and using the products is far higher, leading to a demand for demonstration facilities and product knowledge that doesn’t exist in the content world – where price and availability are the only factors. Ultimately, what will help an electrical retailer ‘shine’ will be the ability to quickly and easily guide consumers to the best product or solution for their individual needs, and being able to demonstrate its key benefits, thereby offering a level of service that is impossible to provide online. “ Attfield agrees. “Most of our products still need to be seen and touched, and that will continue to be a key differentiator for the physical retailer. However, if the consumer is
just coming to see the product in store and then buying online, that creates a problem. Retailers need to select their partners carefully to ensure that they are doing the right thing for them by managing their portfolios and creating a differentiated proposition for them from what’s available online.” Estornel thinks retailers should definitely see this as an opportunity. “They have the possibility of demonstrating all the new services available on traditional CE products. This gives them a real reason for selling addedvalue products. However, they have to adapt. They need to be ready to show all you can do with these products and demonstrate their advantages to end users.”
: a powerful tool for the electrical trade Indi is an online B2C and B2B directory for electrical retailers, aerial/satellite installers and custom installation companies, distributors and manufacturers. The Indi site is optimised for search engines and is being heavily promoted online. Membership is FREE to qualifying industry members, and there are options to maximise exposure with listing enhancement and category page sponsorship.
Consumers can find your company by what you do, by postcode or the area you cover. Trade members can use the Trade search to find manufacturers and distributors by what they do, and the regions they operate in. Information pages help the public find and research products and services and make informed purchase decisions. For Trade searchers, these pages assist diversification into new products and services. Indi is being used now to help put manufacturers, retailers, distributors and consumers in touch with a view to doing business.
GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED
George Cole George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics. E-mail: email@example.com
YET ANOTHER RIVAL TO THE CD?
n my last column, I talked about the
£4.99 a month. The service apparently
most homes have high-speed, always-on
rise of cloud computer services, which
attracted fewer than 10,000 subscribers
broadband connections. Added to this, smarter
aim to put all our home entertainment
and was economically unviable. Although
compression systems have been developed,
content (like music) online. The question
digital TV services offer many digital radio
so the time taken to download a high definition
is whether cloud services will replace
stations, relatively few people listen to
movie is much shorter.
physical formats such as the CD and DVD?
radio via their television.
Now, comes another potential threat: Virgin
If the Virgin Media/Spotify deal is to
All this helps explain why a recent report by the specialist online brand protection
Media’s deal with the online streaming music
work, I think it’s going to need to bundle
company Envisional says that, in the UK,
service Spotify. Under the deal,Virgin Media
the service as part of the overall package,
illegal downloading of movies has grown
customers will be able to have millions of
rather than being an add-on. And even
by 30% over the past five years, and the
music tracks streamed to their TV set-top
then, I’m not convinced that vast numbers
top five box office movies were illegally
box for £4.99 a month. The announcement of the Virgin Media/Spotify deal has resulted in some inevitable hyperbole, with one commentator going
downloaded 1.4 million
I don’t think the music industry has yet found a viable alternative to the physical disc, when it comes to raising similar revenue.
as a far as to ask why
downloading of TV shows, especially those from the in the same period too,
of consumers will want to listen to music
with 1.24 million illegal downloads for the
that so much music is available online?
this way. That doesn’t mean CD player and
top five most popular shows. Envisional
Elements of the music industry have also
discs are safe of course, but I don’t think
says that there are several reasons for
described the deal as a potential game-changer,
the music industry has yet found a viable
this increase, including faster broadband
when it comes to how music is purchased.
alternative to the physical disc, when it
speeds; a desire to see movies and shows
I’m not surprised that the record companies
comes to raising similar revenue.
that are already out in the US; and a new
want to talk up this move; after all, the music
generation of consumers that has few
industry is having to tackle online piracy
qualms about getting its content for free.
like this save the industry? I suspect not.
it £170 million. The illegal
connection would want a CD player, now
operating on an industrial scale. But will deals
industry says this costs
US, has increased by 33%
anyone with an internet
times last year. The film
Let’s look at some figures. Last year, UK revenues for recorded music were
MOVIES AREN’T SAFE EITHER
The question is: how do you stop it? The answer is: you can’t. The internet is too vast to police effectively and you can be sure that any technologies designed to stop
£800 million, but only a quarter of this was
When illegal online music services started
illegal downloading will be side-stepped
from digital music (downloads, ringtones,
to spring up, the movie industry felt immune
or cracked. Envisional says the best way to
streaming), and streaming services only
from the effects of illegal downloading,
combat illegal downloading is for content
accounted for £26 million, or less than 4%.
because at the time most homes had a dial-up
providers to reduce prices and make their
And Virgin Media is not the first company
internet connection and it could take days
content more readily available. But it also
to offer consumers streaming music via
to download massive movie files. And even
needs a radical change in consumer attitudes,
their television: last year, Sky shut down
if you did, the cost of the connection was
because if this trend continues, the only
its Sky Songs streaming service, which
so high that it would have been cheaper to
new music and movies will be made by
offered consumers five million tracks for
buy the film in the first place. Now, of course,
amateurs posting them on YouTube.
FROM THE BENCH
Alan Bennett sings the praises of modern switch-mode power regulators made in power-regulator design
line-scan-synchronous ones, with each set
in recent years, in perfect tune
designer having his own bright ideas and
an oscilloscope connected – with care –
with the need for high efficiency in these
concepts and each service engineer tearing
at the primary winding of the chopper
days of hideously expensive energy. It wasn’t
his hair out as he tried to do his job.
transformer: it will show needle pulses or a
Today’s switching regulators are brilliant in concept and design. Their efficiency
slowly-repetitive ‘bump-bump’ effect. In the secondary circuit of the PSU,
generally ranges between 80% and 90%,
check by inspection and with an ESR meter
The further back in time you go, the less
sometimes more. Very simply they work by
for faulty electrolytic capacitors; with an
efficient and hotter-running was home
converting incoming AC mains energy to
ohmmeter for short-circuit diodes; and (if
entertainment equipment. I can clearly
DC where necessary, then applying this via
necessary with a magnifying glass!) for
remember the days of wire-wound mains
a very fast-acting repetitive semiconductor
dry joints. On occasion, a faulty diode or
dropper resistors, and of diverse designs of
switch to an energy reservoir having
electrolytic capacitor will not show up on
power supplies which operated at power-
inductive (magnetic) and capacitive
test instruments; here substitution by a new
line frequency, 50 or 100Hz. There were
(electrical) storage elements. The chopper
one is the only certain way to prove its guilt.
thyristor regulators, which took huge, sharp
transformer provides electrical isolation
Apart from the ferrite-cored transformer,
and short bites out of the mains supply, in
between the mains and the load, while the
many PSU parts are generic and widely
some types only on one half-cycle. There
energy fed out is proportional to the duty-
available from component suppliers and
was an ingenious design by Sony in which
cycle (ratio of on- to off-time) of the switch
wholesalers, while complete boards and
two large capacitors were charged in series
in the primary circuit. This is governed by
panels can be had from Grandata and
on one mains half-cycle and discharged
a feedback loop, monitoring the secondary-
into the load in parallel on the next. All very
circuit voltage or current. This PSU building
Shopjimmy. A brilliant producer of PSU repair kits is Phoenix, who research failure
well until something went wrong, which in
block forms part of all mains-powered home
modes in a wide range of TVs etc, and
those days it often did! Some of the early
entertainment kit, and provides light-as-
make up complete sets of components
types of switching regulator were fiendishly
feathers gadget-chargers etc.
which are in my experience almost
Then and now
certain to do the job reliably. Typically consisting of one or more fuses, a handful
Current and recent designs of chopper PSU
of semiconductors and some passive R
Very few TV sets had mains transformers
are reliable and reasonably predictable.
and C components, these inexpensive kits
because of their cost, weight and stray
Complete failure may be due to an open
include all the little villains, victims and
magnetic fields. In their place were a
circuit fuse, dry soldered joints, diode or
heroes of breakdown. They are available
huge variety of switch-mode designs,
capacitor failure, with the latter the most
on the web and from, for instance, Charles
some based on ICs, some using discrete
common. In the primary circuit, fuse failure
Hyde at www.chsinteractive.co.uk I can
transistors, often in large numbers. They
may arise from a short-circuit chopper
really recommend these kits which are
could be a nightmare to work on: you might
transistor or IC, or just fuse ageing/
now available for a very wide range of
replace a whole bunch of blown-up bits,
metal fatigue, while the small electrolytic
TVs etc. Charles Hyde also stocks a range
only to have them instantly destroyed again
capacitors here can cause the failure
of external PSU modules, used with some
at switch on, with a brilliant blue flash
of the chopper switch to operate. More
small-screen LCD TVs, laptop PCs etc.
from the mains fuse. There was a certain
common are problems on the secondary
Japanese 18-inch TV which had a frequent
side, often betrayed by a ‘pumping’ action
habit of destroying two expensive SG-type
of the circuit, the usual reaction to some
Always replace PSU components with
power FETs; unless you got the diagnosis
kind of overload condition, which may be
exact known equivalents to avoid fire and
and repair exactly right the replacements
outside the power unit altogether, i.e. in
shock hazards. Particularly in diodes and
would rupture as soon as power was
the circuits which form the electrical load.
fuses not all characteristics of would-be
reapplied with a raucous pzzzz from the
This pumping/sampling action may not
replacements are obvious from (sometimes
fuse as it blew apart. There were difficult-
be obvious, but is easily discernible with
superficial) published specifications.
to-service Wessel designs, and other
hat brilliant progress we have
He’s a well known and well respected personality in the industry, but doesn’t take himself too seriously, has a sense of humour dryer than a Bond Martini, is a proud parent and – perhaps a little-known fact – would be a useful man to have on your side if you ever get into an argument with Vladimir Putin. He is Andy Mackay, UK commercial director, LG Electronics. Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry? Seemed like a stable enough sector at the time Who in the industry would you like to spend time with? The Ladies who hand out the Leaflets at the IFA Show look like they’d be able to tell you about the latest technical innovations?
Who do you most admire? Guys in the Armed Forces
What makes you laugh? GfK (Only joking!)
Do you have any particular fetishes? Report writing
What would you put into Room 101? Poverty
What motto do you live by? Treat others as you would like them to treat you
What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told? “No, you look fine, honestly”
What’s your greatest achievement? My kids
What’s your greatest regret? There’s never enough time for what matters
What sort of music do you like? Daren’t say
What’s your pet hate? Self Importance Do you have any bad habits? Absolutely not AUGUST 2011
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Hopefully - still enjoying it
What’s your favourite piece of kit? My car
How do you think others see you? They tend not to till I’m real close
Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change? Cut down the hours a little
…and who deserves it? GfK (Still kidding)
Do you have any hidden talents? Would you believe I speak Russian?
How would you describe yourself? Busy
You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day. What would be the first change you would make? Make sure there was enough food to go round
If you weren’t in your present position, what job would you choose to do? Well, I certainly wouldn’t try being a retailer – not easy Favourite TV programme? “An Idiot Abroad” What surprises you? Very little these days Favourite cuisine? Chinese
Favourite quote? “Be Respectful – Remember, it’s nice to be important, but it’s much more important to be nice!” Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My Father Name your poison Guinness What do you daydream about? Getting some sleep What’s your favourite holiday destination? The United States What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you? People passing on before their prime What’s the best kind of punishment…. Spanking
Life is……. (Guess we walked into that one! – Ed.)
Independent Electrical Retailer: “Loved the ‘High Noon on the High Street’ article [July issue]. Answer me this: If Lord Sugar and Mary Portas and that shower on ‘Dragon’s Den’ are that brilliant at business, why do they need to be supplementing their income by making fools of themselves as celebs on the telly?”
Consumer electronics manufacturer: I am really looking forward to us being able to put a RRP on our products again. It hands us back a bit of control and may bring some good sense back to this market if it’s understood and used properly.”
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