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THE GREEN ROOM Can domestic appliances and consumer electronics really make a difference to climate change? And do your customers care that much, anyway? Get Connected takes a hard look at the realities – and opportunities - behind the environmental issues

PORTABLE CE DEVICES You can take it with you. And as more consumers want to stay “connected” at all times, portable devices are part of their lives – and part of the CE retail opportunity


FROM THE BENCH When lightning strikes

BACKCHAT Portway’s John Bainbridge gives a 2-minute interview

THE VITAMIX® TOTAL NUTRITION CENTRE: THE PERFECT BLEND OF TASTE & NUTRITION Add variety to your kitchen with the new Vitamix® Total Nutrition Centre. Whether you fancy a fresh smoothie, a refreshing frozen desert or delicious hot soup, this kitchen essential lets you perform more than 50 tasks, quicker, easier and faster with only one product, and without the washing up. This easy-to-use, multi-functional kitchen essential is more than just a blender. The variable speed control allows you to make the dish of your choice, whether it’s a steaming hot soup, a chilled cocktail or flavoursome fruit sorbet - you can create something to suit every palate all in one place. What’s more, the Vitamix® Total Nutrition Centre comes with a 7 year guarantee, making sure you enjoy this one-of-a-kind kitchen essential for years to come. Get the most out of your produce with the Vitamix® Total NutritionCentre. To find out more, please visit


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

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

Editorial Comment


The Word

In and around the industry

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The Product Gallery

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The Green Room

Degrees of environmental concern

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Portable CE Devices You can take it with you…

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George Cole Gets Connected Goodbye Blu-ray?

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From the Bench

Alan Bennett on the power of lightning

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2-minute interview with Portway commercial director John Bainbridge

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

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

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Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

Last month, we commented that 2012 was shaping up to be “one of the most remarkable years of the century”. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, added to the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, was beginning to have a salutary effect on the mood of the nation. Waving Union Flags, getting fired up about being the centre of world attention, and uniting in a general sense of being proud to be British, are genuinely admirable national traits.

And why not? We do have a great deal to be proud of. But as 2012 progresses, the upbeat mood and collective pride is constantly undermined by reminders that, as well as still being stuck in a “double-dip” recession, the UK is also suffering from a number of persistent – not to say “institutional” – problems that are definitely counter to our British sense of fair play, and make us less proud to wave the red, white and blue. Our banks have been caught bang to rights with their fingers in the till, blatantly “fixing” the important libor interest rate for their own profit, costing us millions. Bob Diamond, boss of Barclays Bank, was in charge of the Barclays department responsible when the fixing was happening, but could see no immediate reason why he should lose his job over it, because he didn’t know what was going on. Shades of Murdoch, father and son, also in charge when widespread phone hacking was taking place at News International. Likewise, they didn’t know what was going on. In both cases, people drawing big, big salaries for being “in charge.” So, in both cases, it’s either incompetence or telling porkies. Either way, the British sense of fair play has to dictate: “You’re fired!” Recalling News International brings up another embarrassing state of affairs. It’s not easy for us to stomach the revelations of just

how much abject fawning and clandestine cosying up our senior politicians – of all parties – were prepared to do to keep on the right side of the media moguls. That brings us to David Cameron’s moral censure of Jimmy Carr, who used a scheme to minimise his liability to tax. It’s never been wise for any politician to use the word “moral” in a personal criticism of anyone, and in this case, look around you, Mr Cameron. How many of your friends, family, cabinet colleagues and fellow parliamentarians take steps to ensure they and their businesses pay no more tax than necessary under the law? Accept this: if it’s legal but we don’t like it, change the law. The “moral” card doesn’t work any more in an environment where legally avoiding tax is a prudent business measure, and also a “moral” obligation to prevent our money from funding some MP’s extensive home improvements (remember the MPs expenses “scandal”? Remember their defence of “we didn’t break the rules”?) If it’s legal, what’s “moral” got to do with it? We need to draw the line. We are the banks’ and the newspapers’ customers, and the masters of our politicians. It could still be that “remarkable” year for Britain if it’s remembered as the year when the UK’s businesses decided they didn’t want to be ripped off any more. If it isn’t, we, as Britons, have only ourselves to blame.

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

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





GET CONNECTED MAGAZINE NOW! The editorial tackles key issues with a depth that invites the reader to think more widely around the subject, rather than just in straight lines.

I’ve read the mag from cover to cover, as have all of my staff. Twice over! It’s a real breath of fresh air. Relevant, balanced, readable features on the most important products and services, with outstanding quality of writing and design. I always look forward to receiving my copy of Get Connected. It combines all the latest industry news in bite-sized chunks with in-depth features on different product categories and market trends. The editorial is always relevant, well informed and thought provoking.

GC: Still recognised as the most

commercially relevant trade monthly in the electrical industry. 6



had fallen. The resulting rounded balance of +42% was stronger than retailers had predicted and represented the fastest growth reported since December 2010. Judith McKenna, Chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and Asda Chief Operating Officer, said: “The Jubilee provided a much needed boost to our high streets with many families and communities making the most of the Bank Holiday and coming together to celebrate. However, it is notable that sales were still considered to be below par for the time of year. Weak consumer confidence and uncertainty over the economic outlook are still putting a brake on consumer spending across the whole retail sector.” The full effect of the Jubilee celebrations on the UK economy has yet to be collated and analysed, but sales in the run up to the event during May were reported to be mostly positive. As sunshine lifted the mood on the high street, non-food sales rose 1.3% with, according to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker, retailers reporting growth in all areas. Don Williams, National Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, remarked that retailers have had to learn to draw in shoppers through a constant drip of carefully planned promotions. “Clearly it will eat into margins,” he added, “but retailers know promotions now tend to lead demand as much as seasonal buying patterns.” The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also recorded retail sales rallying in May. A report issued 21 June by the institute


opes for a revival in consumer confidence as the UK entered the summer of celebrations were scotched by a GfK NOP survey showing that consumer sentiment remained the same in June as in May 2012, at -29 points. Three of the five measures used in the analyst’s Index showed no movement, but while the climate for major purchases increased by four points to -28, this was offset by expectations for the general economic situation over the next twelve months, which showed a decrease of five points to -31, thirteen points lower than June 2011. Nick Moon, Managing Director of Social Research at GfK, said there has never been a year where the figures have remained so flat. “Any suggestions that consumer confidence would receive a ‘Royal bounce’ from the Jubilee, as it did from William and Kate’s wedding last year, have been proven wrong. The Index remains the same this month, with the poor weather possibly offsetting any positives from the long Bank Holiday. “The stagnant level of consumer confidence suggests that the public is stuck

…the BRC added yet another glimmer of hope for the high street as it, too, reported that the May sunshine had been good for retail sales.” in a period of constant depression, which it is finding very hard to snap out of. While the current position is better than it was at the depths of the financial crisis in 2008, the figures do mark a dispiriting new type of low. Consumer confidence has been at -29 or worse for an entire 12-month spell – the worst run in its 40-year history.” Slightly brighter news was delivered by the CBI, which reported that high street sales received the hoped-for gain from the early June celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee, although the organisation conceded that weak consumer confidence is still denting growth and the level of sales remained below those expected for the time of year. The report, which covers the first two weeks in June, showed that 58% of retailers recorded sales volumes up on a year ago, against the 17% which stated that they

showed that volumes had risen 1.4% during the month, exceeding the predicted rise of 1.2% and gaining 2.4% year-on-year compared to May 2011. In value terms, the rise was 1% on the month and 3.3% yearon-year. And the BRC added yet another glimmer of hope for the high street as it, too, reported that the May sunshine had been good for retail sales. Figures showed value up 1.3% on a like-for-like basis, and on a total basis, which includes new store openings, a rise of 3.4% was recorded. Stephen Robertson, BRC Director General, said much of the month’s positive performance could be attributed to spending in the final week when consumers responded enthusiastically to the sunshine. Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail at KPMG, added that many retailers will be “breathing a small sigh of relief.” JULY 2012 GET CONNECTED



No respite for Kesa Full-year sales flat but Dixons delivers ahead of expectations Dixons Retail reported a relatively flat year for the 52 weeks ended 28 April 2012, with like-for-like Group sales down 3% after a strong boost of 5% in the final quarter and an underlying pre-tax profit of £70.8 million, against £85.3 million in 2010/11. Good progress was made in UK & Ireland and Northern Europe with profits up 15% and 12% respectively but the lift was offset by weaker performances in Southern Europe and by online store PIXmania. Total sales in the UK & Ireland division fell 2% to £3,833.9 million and like-for-likes dropped 4%, with a flat second half showing an improving trend of +8% in the final quarter. Underlying operating profits increased to £78.8 million from £68.7 million in the prior year. The retailer said that the UK & Ireland performed strongly against a “tough market” and the effects of work carried out under its Renewal & Transformation plan benefitted the business through the year, enabling it to grow operating profits by 15% and “putting it on track towards a sustainable return.” 269 stores have been refurbished and continue to deliver average gross profit uplifts of over 20%, and a further 63 stores are expected to be reformatted in the year ahead, resulting in three quarters of sales going

through new format stores by Christmas Peak this year. Following an analysis of its store estate, the retailer said “we currently believe that in the UK we need 400 to 420 stores to provide the right level of service and convenience for customers. This includes approximately 40 high street stores similar to our CurrysPCWorld Black store in the Westfield centre with the remainder large out-oftown stores, predominantly in the 2-in-1 format.” Dixons later confirmed that it plans to close or consolidate around 100 of its 557 UK stores as part of the ongoing Renewal & Transformation plan. The programme of closures and consolidations would take place as leases come up for renewal. At product level, the launch of the new iPad helped grow the overall computing market. White goods showed modest growth, and although predominantly driven by the housing cycle, Dixons said that technical innovation and energy efficiency is increasingly giving customers reasons to replace or upgrade. The consumer electronics market remained weak throughout the year, but the retailer said it believed it traded ahead of the market for televisions, particularly in the fourth quarter with sales of large flat TVs up 25% in value.

Kesa, which owns the Darty brand in continental Europe and pulled out of the UK electrical retail market last year when it sold the Comet operation for £2, has reported profits down by nearly half, from €102 million to €59 million, in the financial year 2011-12. Kesa’s exit from the UK electrical retail market cost the French company some £100 million in investment commitments and taking on responsibility for Comet’s pension scheme deficit. Kesa is continuing to regroup under what the company called “exceptionally difficult” conditions in Europe. Following the sale of the UK Comet chain, Kesa is selling its Darty Telecom operation and is continuing to close stores in Spain and Italy. Kesa also announced that it is to rename the group, which will be called Darty from the beginning of August 2012. Chairman David Newlands said: “It is clear that market conditions have become more challenging across Europe and the macro-economic outlook remains uncertain.” Shareholder dividend is to be cut by half. The retailer also said that Mr Newlands would step down as chairman after nine years in the post, to be replaced by Alan Parker, a senior independent Kesa director and the former chief executive of Whitbread.

Steadier quarter for Argos chain Homebase and Argos parent Home Retail Group reported “a particularly volatile trading period” for the 13 weeks from 4 March to 2 June 2012, but stated that it was “comfortable” with current market expectations for full-year benchmark profit. Sales at Argos rose 0.2% as the closure of two stores during the quarter reduced the retailer’s portfolio to 746, but likefor-likes dipped 0.2%, with total sales registering £849 million. Gross margin declined by 25 basis points.



Consumer electronics sales were level with the previous year, driven by continued strong growth in laptops and tablets, which offset declines in the TV, audio and video gaming categories for which the markets remained “challenging”. Terry Duddy, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, said Argos had a “solid start” to the year supported by its multi-channel performance. Sales represented 51% of the merchandiser’s turnover, up from 46% a year earlier, while Online Check & Reserve grew 24% to 29% of total sales.


The Only Way Is Mary’s? Portas Pilots reality TV show: “We either let the cameras in with me, or I go back on the train and some other town gets it.”


he “Portas Pilots” high street regeneration scheme, which recently announced the first 12 towns to win retail guru Mary Portas’ advice plus a share of £1.2 million in Government funding, ran into some turbulence in the Kent seaside town of Margate, when the demands of reality TV appeared to come into conflict with real life. Ms Portas, as part of her involvement in the Government’s initiative to help UK towns revitalize their high streets, has plans to front a Channel 4 TV series documenting her work with some of the Portas Pilots winning towns. But in Margate, one of the locations scheduled for filming, the Town Team that put in the winning bid expressed some concerns about the restrictions that TV production company Optomen wanted to place on participants in the programme. In particular, a contract banning traders and participants in Margate from talking about the show on social media upset the Margate Team, which said it was concerned that production company Optomen’s requirements were “being placed above the needs of a community in transition,” and that “overly-restrictive contracts seem to want to quash and silence the public involvement and discourse which has been so effective and essential (and encouraged!) to date.” Ms Portas was quick to reassure the Margate Team that she would make it her business to ensure the offending restrictions were taken out of the contracts. A move endorsed by

the Department of Communities and Local Government, which confirmed Ms Portas had “asked for any restrictive elements of the contract in question to be changed.” And at a public meeting in Margate earlier in the same week, Ms Portas and Optomen TV turned up to generate support for the project and the making of the reality show. “This is not about me, this is about Margate,” she said (the working title for the TV series is, incidentally, “Mary Queen of the High Street”). While warning that “this ain’t going to be smooth,” and would show a “warts and all” TV

for Margate, and that it did not include the Government money, or her personal mentoring input. The Department for Communities and Local Government also issued a statement: “We are clear that it is up to Portas Pilots themselves whether to take part in any programmes following their progress and that their status as Portas Pilots is absolutely not dependent on their participation in any show.” Confusion cleared up. But this is a salutary lesson that, once reality TV comes into the picture, reality can be the first casualty. Ms Portas cannot be blamed for looking to further her own career as a TV celebrity, and there is no doubt that celebrity can be a powerful weapon in securing interest and publicity. There is always, however, a potential downside, and Margate is right to try to ensure that its primary purpose of revitalizing its high street is not subverted in any way by the quite different purposes of a TV reality show. As Robin Vaughan-Lyons, chairman of the Margate Town Team, put it in an interview with Kent Today: “What we did was forward the bid for the good of Margate and Margate High Street so, of course, we are very protective and passionate about our town. We want to make sure that it is portrayed well. You could say the eyes of the world are on Margate, so obviously we do not want to be let down.” Mr Vaughan-Lyons is absolutely right to have registered that being “portrayed well” doesn’t always suit the demands of TV light entertainment.

This is not about me, this is about Margate,” she said (the working title for the TV series is, incidentally, “Mary Queen of the High Street”). depiction, Ms Portas was also keen to set out the benefits that TV celebrity could bring to the town and its high street revitalization efforts: “If we put this on prime TV, people will come. That’s the decision you’ve got to take.” Somewhat confusingly, in an address caught on camera by a local blogger, she concluded: “We either let the cameras in with me, or I go back on the train and some other town gets it.” What “it” consists of was not, at the time, made clear, and some could be forgiven for believing that the £100,000 of Government funding that goes with Ms Portas’ mentoring could be withdrawn if Margate did not participate in the TV show. Again, Ms Portas was quick to correct any misapprehension about what was at stake




Blomberg van competition winner announced Independent retailer Adams & Jarrett of St Leonards-on-Sea has been announced as the winner of the Blomberg-branded van competition which was a feature of this year’s CI(H) show in April. Owner of Adams & Jarrett, Nick Bridger, said he was “delighted” to have won the prize. “Our built-in fitter was in need of a new van so this has come at just the right time. I visited the Blomberg stand at CI(H) because I was keen to see the new models. I have been stocking Blomberg for two years now and it has proved very successful for us in that time.” Nick Bridger is pictured (left) with John Hawley, channel director of Independents at Beko.

George Bartlett George Bartlett, Director of Bartletts Hi-Fi in Holloway Road, North London and a well-respected member of the electrical retail community, died on 1 June 2012 after a brief illness. Bartletts Hi-Fi was established in 1958 and the family business has become well known for its service and values. David Jefferys, a family friend and member of the team at supplier Armour Home, said: “George was a wonderful person who made everyone he met feel as if he’d known them for years, even at the first meeting. He was devoted to his family, an excellent retailer, a well-known and respected personality in the hi-fi industry and an active BADA member. “He will be sadly missed by all those who came into contact with him.”

Microsoft looking at bricksand-mortar in the UK

British-based maker of Pure digital radios hits £36.8 million pre-tax Imagination Technologies, the British company that licenses its technologies for use in smartphones, tablets, digital radios and other electronics devices, and which launched the Pure DAB radio brand ten years ago, initially as a showcase for its patented digital radio chips, has reported revenues up 30% to £127.5 million and adjusted pre-tax profits up 53% to £36.8 million in the year to 30 April 2012. The company, based in Hertfordshire, generates the bulk of its global revenues from royalties on its Intellectual Property licensed to technology partners around the world for use in digital radios, TV set-top boxes, mobile phones, tablet computers, games consoles and cameras.

Microsoft, which recently registered a plc in the UK, is reported to be planning to open a retail store, probably in London, in March 2013. There is also speculation that further Microsoft retail outlets will follow in the Capital and around the UK. The launch of the company’s online store here is scheduled to take place this summer. Microsoft would not give any further information about likely sites for the bricks-and-mortar store, but it is clear that one objective must be to start catching up with major competitor Apple, which has already demonstrated the benefits of establishing a distinctively branded retail store presence. Microsoft COO Kevin Turner said last year that the company had a target of opening 75 new retail outlets over the next two years, but gave no indication of where these might be. There are currently 19 Microsoft stores in the US. The news followed the unveiling of Microsoft’s “Surface”, an own-brand tablet, powered by Windows 8 and with choice of ARM-based or Intel processor. The device is a touchscreen unit that will put Microsoft in the market with its own hardware that can run standard applications such as Windows Photoshop and Office, placing the brand in competition with tablet market leaders Apple, and also, later, with manufacturers who are looking to release Windows 8-powered tablets in the future.

Smeg adds Eire to Bodel’s distribution portfolio Smeg has appointed Bodel Distributors as its exclusive supplier for Ireland, following 13 years of successful distribution of the brand in Northern Ireland. The agreement to cover the Republic commences 1st August this year.




Energy Saving Trust accused of “scaremongering” Industry association retra has accused the Energy Saving Trust (EST) of “scaremongering”, after it released the findings of a ‘Powering the nation’ study claiming that computers, televisions and other electrical products left plugged in, but not in use or on standby, costs the UK up to £1.3 billion a year in electricity bills. retra chief executive Bryan Lovewell (pictured) said the EST had taken a “worst case scenario” to generate headlines, and “at a time when the consumer electronics market is turbulent, to say the least, these negative headlines are tantamount to

scaremongering. I’ve seen figures from manufacturers that suggest that a great amount of work has gone into reducing both standby and off mode power consumptions to negligible rates.” The ‘Powering the nation’ study is the first of its type in the UK and was undertaken by the EST and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The government is hoping to use the survey to better understand energy usage and how households can become more efficient without lowering their quality of living, thereby saving money and helping the UK towards its carbon cutting, climate change targets. Mr Lovewell said the Government “should engage in dialogue with retra and its members as well as manufacturers as this study does not tell the whole story.”

An icon of British hi-fi returns… Britain’s most famous loudspeaker brand Wharfedale celebrates its 80th Anniversary this year with the return of the Denton, one of its “best loved” speakers of old, which was first introduced in 1967. The Denton claimed the balancing of craftsmanship, natural sound quality and affordability in a compact unit and was bought in its millions worldwide. Successive Denton designs ran until the late 1970s, at which point the famous name was confined to history. But, legendary loudspeaker designer Peter Comeau, Director of Acoustic Design at Wharfedale parent company IAG, has now re-imagined the Denton design to mark the company’s 80th Anniversary, with an updated edition using modern materials and manufacturing techniques to deliver a speaker that is fully equipped for the 21st Century. The process, he said, gave him “enormous pleasure.” The product, finished in a deep, rich mahogany wood veneer with a recommended retail price of £499.95 per pair, will be available from July 2012 in a strictly limited quantity.

Sony brings Google TV to UK

Sony has announced that its NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV, originally introduced at CES in Las Vegas in January, will be available at retail in the UK in July. Sony claims to be the first manufacturer to launch Google TV products outside the US, and the UK is the first territory where it will be available,

followed later this year by Canada, Australia, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Gildas Pelliet, Sony’s European Head of Marketing, said: “We are proud to continue our relationship with Google through the introduction of the new Google TV Internet Player. Entertainment content is available through so many channels and sites, and Google TV helps consumers easily find what they want to watch, listen or play with the freedom of the internet and using the familiar Chrome browser.” Sony has also announced that, in addition to the NSZ-GS7 Internet Player, its newest Internet Blu-ray Disc™ player with Google TV, the NSZGP9, will be available from October initially in the US, followed by Canada, Australia, the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

TRIC announces new President Impressionist Jon Culshaw (pictured left) has been appointed President of the Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC). He received his badge of office from outgoing president, broadcaster Eamonn Holmes (right), at the recent TRIC luncheon held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. Cheques for money raised at recent TRIC events were presented to three charities: Kids for Kids, SOS Children and the Dogs Trust. The annual TRIC Christmas Charity lunch will be held on Tuesday 11 December at the Grosvenor House Hotel. Bookings can be made via George Stone on 01277 624448 (

Beko develops new ‘white’ range for Currys Beko has launched a high-gloss white built-in double oven and hob which will be sold exclusively through Currys. The products are classified by Beko as “premium, style-led” appliances and are designed to appeal to style-conscious consumers.




‘Creative Living’ with Miele Miele has embarked upon a ‘Creative Living’ programme of events, demonstrations and courses to provide “inspiration and expert advice” for a wide range of culinary topics. The programme comprises Let’s do…, Appliance Masterclass, Simply Cooking and Kitchen Secrets events, each presented by an expert chef, a trained specialist or a Miele partner.

GDHA has received two Which? Best Buys for its Belling and Stoves range cookers. Both the Belling Classic 100GT and the Stoves Richmond 100GT were awarded Best Buy status after scoring a total of 73% each. Smeg’s recently introduced 90cm range cooker, the Symphony SY92IPX8, and 110cm Symphony SY4110 have been awarded Which? Best Buys. Which? praised both cookers for their even browning, consistency of temperature and ease of maintenance. Whirlpool has received Which? Best Buy awards for its MAX 109 microwave, the new WWDC 7410 washing machine and its AKR 503 IX decorative curved-glass canopy hood. Gorenje has received Red Dot Design Awards for its SensoCARE freestanding washing machine and IQcook induction hob, two concept products launched by the manufacturer at last year’s IFA fair in Berlin.

Dominic Worsley, marketing director for Miele, said the programme has been designed to help support independents and to double the number of consumers that attend nationwide Miele events from 6,000 to 12,000. It also aims to engage consumers earlier in the purchase process and to give added value to existing Miele customers. The events will be held at various locations around the UK throughout the year.

Colin Hoad has joined LGL Distribution to manage the Southeast and London territories. His appointment is integral to the distributor’s 3-year growth plan. Former Samsung National Accounts Manager Stephen Stroud has joined Portway Domestic Appliances to head up a new national sales strategy. Neil Bradford has become purchasing director, working alongside commercial director John Bainbridge. A new promotion through Smeg’s network of built-in display stockists offers consumers purchasing the brand’s 60cm SIM62B Multizone induction hob the opportunity to claim a free 3-piece saucepan set made by premium homeware brand Zwilling J A Henckels. The offer runs until 31 December 2012.

Audio manufacturer Klipsch has announced a 12-month partnership with Jazz FM to sponsor the station’s Peppermint Candy swing show. The initiative will be supported online and give listeners the chance to win Klipsch’s latest headphones.

Linn partners with Universal Music Linn Records and Universal Music Group have announced a “landmark partnership” to sell Universal’s catalogue as 24-bit Studio Master downloads. Albums from classic artists including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Diana Krall and John Coltrane can now be enjoyed as the artists originally heard them in the recording studio for the first time. Over 400 Studio Master albums are already available on

Indesit has teamed up with footballer Robbie Savage and self proclaimed ‘queen of vajazzle’ reality TV star Amy Childs to create a range of customdesigned appliance accessories. The accessory packs contain stickers for the purpose of decorating appliances and are on sale for £8 per pack through Indesit’s Facebook page. All proceeds will go to Sportsaid. Monster has announced that Olympian athlete and record-holding sprinter Carol Rodriguez has been become a “Monster Athlete for iSport™ Headphones.” Rodriguez will join other top athletes, including mixed martial art star Clifford Starks and world-renowned snowmobile, sled and dirt-bike freestyle specialist Justin Hoyer, as part of Monster’s GET FIT NOW campaign. Smeg UK is investing strongly in magazine advertising from July through to October to support the launch of the 110cm dual fuel “Victoria” Traditional Range Cooker. This is a major launch for the brand, and the print media campaign will cover key consumer titles such as Good Housekeeping, Ideal Home, and BBC Good Food, reaching a targeted circulation of more than 2.2 million consumers. Tefal has launched Facebook and Twitter communities to create consumer engagement with the brand, and is offering competitions to win various Tefal products along with hints and tips from a variety of professional sources. The brand has also partnered with 2010 Masterchef winner Dhruv Baker to launch a new selection of cooking products for 2012.




Electrolux brings professional Inspiration to new range The Electrolux Inspiration range of cooking, refrigeration, dishwashing and laundry appliances draws strongly on the company’s experience as Europe’s leading supplier to professional kitchens and laundries. Features and functions originally created for professionals have been adapted for the benefit of consumers to use at home. As Electrolux’s Graham Bremer explains: “The Electrolux Professional Division is the number one supplier to professional kitchens and laundries in Europe. Professionals demand appliances that deliver outstanding results reliably and efficiently and make it easier for them to do their jobs. In that sense, they don’t differ from domestic customers, so it’s only natural we adapt the same principles in product development.” It’s a powerful message at a time when consumers, exposed to more and more fine cuisine by top chefs in the media, are keen to reproduce the fine dining experience at home. It is perhaps not widely known that Electrolux is the chosen supplier of professional equipment to more than 50% of Europe’s Michelin-starred restaurants, and to reinforce the connection between its relationship with some of the world’s great chefs, and its domestic appliance expertise, Electrolux has brought “The Cube by Electrolux”, a unique touring gastronomic concept, to London, where it opened on June 1st and will stay through to September 30th. Sited on top of the Royal Festival Hall and commanding unique aerial views of a broad sweep of the Thames, Westminster and the wider London skyline, “The Cube” is an intimate, 18-seat dining space and open-plan kitchen where diners can observe great chefs at work, see them using Electrolux professional equipment, and learn skills, techniques and shortcuts that are now available on Electrolux’s Inspiration range of home appliances. A brigade of top chefs from around Britain, boasting some nine Michelin stars between them and all supported by Electrolux in their own restaurants, will provide the dining experience, plus the opportunity to see them at work, for the entire time that “The Cube” is in London. The Inspiration range includes: the Electrolux CombiSteam EOB8851AAX oven, a full 72 litre model featuring a combination of steam-plushot-air cooking invented by Electrolux for professionals, five shelf positions making it easier to employ the professionals’ trick of cooking more


dishes at the same time, and a convenient front-mounted temperature probe; the new Inspiro oven (available in the UK in September) featuring self-adjusting cooking sequences designed by professional chefs, plus automatic volume sensing; the InfinitePure induction hob EHD8740FOK with touch-screen controls and professional standard high-precision backlit, intuitive rotary sliders; gas hobs (available in the UK from September) with the Electrolux vertical flame burner adapted from professional equipment; new fridge/ freezers designed to maintain optimal humidity and temperature, keeping ingredients fresher and more flavoursome for longer; and hoods, dishwashers washing machines and dryers powered by high-efficiency, reliable, quiet brushless inverters. New Inspiration laundry and dishwashers are due for launch in September.

Samsung Electronics appoints new CEO in surprise reshuffle Samsung Electronics has announced that Mr Kwon Oh-hyun, formerly head of the company’s component business, is to be appointed Chief Executive Officer. Current CEO Mr Choi Gee-sung, who led Samsung Electronics to global No.1 position in television and smartphone manufacture, is to move to parent company Samsung Group to take over as head of corporate strategy, with a brief to develop new business across the Group. The reshuffle, which according to some industry watchers is part of the Group’s preparation to face further global financial disruption and fiercer competition from

China, will not impact noticeably on day-to-day operations, said Samsung in a statement. “As before, vice-chairman Kwon will oversee the company’s component business but, as chief executive, he will also handle corporate-wide affairs.” The moves, which make changes to the leadership of a very successful worldwide electronics group, have caused some surprise, and rivals such as Apple – with whom Samsung is contesting the No1 spot in smartphones – will be watching closely, not least because Samsung supplies smartphone components to other manufacturers.


Armour Home appoints Big Red Sales Armour Home has reached an agreement with Big Red Sales Ltd to strengthen the presence of selected Armour products within the independent retail sector. Chris Emerson, Armour sales and marketing director, said the partnership will complement the business’s own direct sales team and he is “confident” that the move will broaden sales penetration of the Armour product.




Sony and Panasonic to Collaborate on OLED Sony and Panasonic have signed an agreement to jointly develop next-generation OLED panels and modules for TVs and largesized displays, with the aim of establishing mass-production technology during 2013.

The news follows the unveiling of the world’s largest and slimmest OLED TV by LG Electronics in May this year. The 55-inch unit will be brought to the European market in the second half of 2012.

Smart TV Alliance officially launched LG Electronics and TP Vision (for Philips TVs) have announced the official establishment of the Smart TV Alliance, a co-operation that aims to enhance the Smart TV experience by developing a non-proprietary ecosystem for application developers to create platformindependent services. The establishment of the Alliance comes after the collaboration of the aforementioned TV makers announced at IFA 2011 in Berlin. The Alliance said that Japanese TV manufacturers are in the process of joining and other names will be announced in due course.

Sky remains the home of Premier League Football Sky has successfully secured 116 Premier League live matches per year for the 2013/14 and 2015/16 seasons. The broadcaster will pay £760 million per annum for the 5 packages of live rights for each of the three years of the new agreement. The deal complements a series of recent rights acquisitions and renewals including the Football League, UEFA Champions League, Formula One and England’s domestic and international cricket.

Off The Wall ready with next stage of growth strategy Bradford-based TV furniture company Off The Wall is spearheading its growth strategy this summer with the launch of three new product ranges over the next month, offering “stylish designs, TV and Soundbar integration and space-saving consumer benefits together with highly competitive price points and retail margins.” The company foresees that the wider product portfolio will demand “increased focus” on its independent and department store retail channels, and will be investing in key areas such as sales, marketing, merchandising and training. The current expansion phase has prompted the firm to employ its own dedicated field sales force, and a spokesperson called upon “industry sales agent professionals who are interested in being part of this British success story” to get in touch. Initial enquiries to Neil Truckel at

Liebherr has the X Factor Refrigeration specialist Liebherr has won Plus X awards for three of its latest appliances along with the award for ‘Specialist Trade Brand of the Year 2012’. ‘Best Product of the Year’ was awarded to the new A+++ rated TP 1760 table-height fridge, the A+++ rated GP 1486 table-height freezer and the B-rated WTes 5872 Vinidor wine cabinet, which is due to launch this summer in the UK. The wine cabinet also gained an award for outstanding achievements within a product category, and all appliances received Plus X Awards for ‘High quality, design and ease of use’. The Specialist Trade Brand of the Year in the ‘Large Home Appliances’ product group was presented to Liebherr based on the “special partner-like quality of its sales structure, fair distribution and commercially attractive product portfolio.”

Indesit’s Walker swims for Sportsaid Indesit is sponsoring its National Account Manager Adam Walker to complete a 26-mile swim down Hawaii’s Molokai Straits to raise money for Sportsaid. The activity will take Walker a step closer to completing the Ocean 7 Challenge to conquer the world’s seven most difficult swimming feats. Walker, who has already swum the English Channel and the Gibraltar Straits, said this will be the hardest achievement yet. “I will be up against huge swells and aggressive marine life like whales, jelly fish and, of course, tiger sharks. This swim should take around 13 to 14 hours and will be the hardest challenge of my life.” To sponsor Walker, visit molokaistraitswim

Sony to become Official Screen Partner of The O2 Sony Consumer Electronics and sister companies Sony Professional and Sony Computer Entertainment have joined forces to bring “the best” in products and content together to deliver an entertainment experience at music and entertainment venue The O2. Sony said it will place over 280 new BRAVIA displays throughout the venue over 14


the coming months to enhance the overall experiences of the eight million annual visitors. The Japanese CE company has also appointed agency Iris Worldwide to install a 120m2 experiential space that will be open all year to showcase the connected world of its latest products, services, content and entertainment platforms.



“A standout piece of merchandise that brings in customers and provides both a good margin and high turnover.”

GC turns the spotlight on:

The small appliance market has ridden the wave of economic turbulence remarkably well over the past few years while many other electrical sectors have struggled to keep their heads above water throughout an extraordinarily rough tide of depression. In particular, we’ve witnessed a move towards high-end products – those that deliver style, performance and longevity, and which make life easier for overstretched consumers whose lifestyles have altered in these “challenging” times.


ntertaining at home has become a popular and pleasurable pastime, stimulated both by an enthusiastic media and financial circumstance, and since it is an activity that demands time and proficiency, the right tools for the job are a must; hence, the food prep sector has benefitted significantly, with sales of up-market and professional products that offer good margins for retailers continuing to flourish. And the demographic for such product is “broader than people think,” according to Nick Wring, UK/ Ireland National Sales Manager for Vitamix, manufacturer of the high-quality, multifunctional blender which carries its name and a premium price tag. “Vitamix appeals to people who are either very passionate about their cooking or simply want the best blender on the market,” Wring tells GC. “In our experience, whether consumers have to save for a Vitamix or they simply buy on impulse, the product sells. No other blender has the credentials or the performance.”

Strong pedigree

important to mention because of the high use of Vitamix blenders by professional chefs who have come to rely on the machines and appreciate just how much they to have to offer.” On the retail side, the brand offers “a standout piece of merchandise that brings in customers and provides both a good margin and high turnover.”

Product assets

NICK WRING, NATIONAL SALES Wring believes that the UK retailer is now MANAGER, VITAMIX starting to understand the potential of the Vitamix brand just as traders in its home territory do. He points out that, “in the US, Vitamix is the number-one selling item in the largest American retail kitchen chain, and three different Vitamix blenders are amongst the top 10 selling products.” It is a success story that Vitamix would like to replicate in the UK. “The UK is a very important market for us, and one that the company is investing heavily in,” asserts Wring. “We need all good retailers to understand the benefits of stocking Vitamix for their customers and good distribution is vital for the brand.” In Britain, the Vitamix® Professional Series 500 is promoted as “the ultimate kitchen appliance.” The product blends, mixes, kneads, chops and cooks, so delivers a range of culinary delicacies, from chilled cocktails and fruit sorbets to flavoursome hot soups. The Vitamix® Total Nutrition Centre, meanwhile, is aimed at the health-conscious consumer and is capable of performing up to 50 tasks “quickly and easily.” Both appliances hold a 7-year guarantee. In a nutshell, Wring maintains that Vitamix offers the highest quality blender in the world, and the brand’s “first-class” customer service and substantial UK marketing spend will ensure that all retailers benefit from the Vitamix experience.

Because Vitamix blenders are built to last a lifetime, the cost of ownership can be justified by buying the best.”

Vitamix entered the UK market in 2005 and it could be classed as ‘one of the best kept secrets’ in the food prep sector here as the name is not widely known throughout the industry. Yet the US company, which is privately owned and operated by the Barnard family, has been making blenders since 1921. Wring says that the brand’s single greatest source of new customers is those that own one of these high-performing kitchen essentials and who recommend the product to friends.... and so the grapevine blossoms and grows. “Word of mouth is vital to Vitamix,” he adds, “and the demographic for products is broader than people think. Because Vitamix blenders are built to last a lifetime, the cost of ownership can be justified by buying the best. So while in the UK the consumer is mainly in the ABC1 category, the geographic spread is everywhere.” Vitamix’s route to market is two-fold: the commercial sector and the retail sector, which in turn is represented by three channels – the independent, the multiples and the web. “The commercial side is



Smeg TR4110P 110cm range cooker This traditional-style range cooker from Smeg incorporates a main oven, auxiliary oven, grill compartment and storage compartment with ‘press and release’ doors. The 110cm appliance is available in cream with other finishes due at a later date. ❯

Flexible hob with high-powered wok burner and 4 variable powered burners

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Choice of cooking functions includes Smeg’s Circulaire

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Philips Fidelio Primo DS9100W Philips has added Apple™ Airplay wireless audio streaming and extended audio performance to its Fidelio Primo DS9000W. The upgraded model, DS91000W, has redesigned bass ports, digital active crossover and biamped drivers. ❯

iPod/iPhone dock connector / iPad compatible dock

Clock / Alarm

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Black / silver finish

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Dimplex Optisuite2go® Dimplex has introduced the Optisuite2go®, a self-assembly fireplace range in a choice of two finishes incorporating the brand’s award-winning Optiflame. Dimplex claims that the units are faster to assemble than those of leading competitors. ❯

Solus model (pictured): brushed stainless steel inset fire with a pebble effect fuel bed / Cream surround with reversible back panel: cream stone or slate grey effect

Caleta model: brass effect inset fire with real coals / White surround with black/white reversible back panel

2kW / 1kW concealed fan heater

Overheat cut-out / CE and BEAB approved

OmniMount WORK range OmniMount’s new range of sit-to-stand workstation mounts is now available in the UK. The WORK15 and WORK20 are part of the brand’s ActionMount series and offer flexibility for users in multi-purpose workspaces. ❯

Full motion functionality

Easy installation via desk clamp or grommet mounting

WORK15 (SRP £285.00) supports single monitor up to 15 pounds

WORK20 (£300.00) supports two side-by-side monitors up to 20 pounds

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EchoStar Ultra Slim Box HDT-610R digital TV recorder EchoStar has launched what it claims is “the world’s slimmest digital TV recorder” (DTR) for Freeview, offering a number of smart features within a 14mm aluminium chasis, including the ability to pause or rewind live TV and record a complete series at the touch of a button using ‘Series Link’. ❯

500GB hard disk drive / Up to 300 hours of recording space

Twin tuner / Internet connectivity

Award-winning user interface / Setup wizard for ease of installation

Dolby® Digital Plus audio support

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Fagor IF-ZONE90HBS 93cm 4/5 zone induction hob Fagor’s latest collection of induction hobs incorporates Freezone technology and is available in 63cm and 93cm widths. This 93cm touchcontrol model is finished in silver glass and features a central digital display. ❯

Zone sizes: 16cm, 21cm and 28cm / 23cm x 40cm Freezone

12 power levels / Booster function and timer on all zones

Special ‘pasta’ function

7 safety features

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Rowenta DW6010 Eco Focus Iron The new Rowenta DW6010 Eco Focus iron claims to use 30% less energy than a standard iron due to its Microsteam 400 3De Soleplate which, according to the brand, increases efficiency. ❯

300ml capacity tank

Auto steam regulates output dependent upon fabric type

0-40g/min variable steam / 180g/min shot of steam

Anti-scale / Anti-drip

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Amica built-under larder fridge & freezer A 60cm built-under larder fridge and built-under freezer are now available in the Amica appliance collection. The A+ rated products are designed to be specified in pairs and are supported by a 2-year parts and labour guarantee. UC150.3 Built-Under Larder Fridge (pictured) features: ❯

Capacity 142 litres /5.0cu ft gross

Glass shelves x 2 / Crisper Drawers x 2 / Door storage shelves x 2

Reversible door with fixed hinge system

Operates at 41 dB(A)

Pure Mini & Mi Union Jack digital radios Pure has added to its collection of patriotic-styled radios with the ‘One Mini Union Jack’ and the ‘One Mi Union Jack’, both of which are promoted as “ideal travelling companions” offering “surprisingly punchy audio”. One Mini Union Jack features: ❯

Digital and FM radio

20 hours of portable listening when fitted with optional ChargePAK B1

16 presets / textSCAN to pause and control scrolling text

Auxiliary input / Headphone socket / USB socket

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“Global warming? Great! We’ll all have warmer weather in the future.” “Yeah, I’ve always wanted to grow pineapples and bananas on the patio.” “The sea level is rising. That’s good, isn’t it?” “Yep. No more water shortages.” “But the polar bears are drowning.” “Nah, that’s media hype…”


know that many people find the issue of global warming confusing and some remain skeptical of the existence of such a phenomenon at all, arguing that climate change and its effect(s) has been a characteristic of the earth’s transition since the beginning of time. Yet, slowly but surely, evidence mounts that the planet is under threat as adverse weather conditions and resource and commodity shortages become notable features of our everyday existence. Industrialised nations have throughout the past century and a half inadvertently upset the delicate balance of the carbon cycle by burning vast amounts of fossil fuels, cutting down the



forests that naturally absorb CO2 from the air and breeding great numbers of methane-producing livestock; hence, extra carbon in the atmosphere has been raising global temperatures. According to NASA, as the world consumes more and more fossil fuels, greenhouse gas concentrations will continue to rise and the earth’s average surface temperature will rise with them, possibly by an average of between 2°C and 6°C by the end of the 21st century.

Paradise postponed But global warming does not mean we’ll all enjoy basking in warmer, sunnier climes in the future. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature,, as climate patterns change, more extreme and



unpredicted weather will be experienced around the world. Some places will be hotter, some colder, some wetter and others drier. “We know the planet has warmed by an average of nearly 1ºC in the past century. That might not sound much, but small rises can create big problems for people and wildlife.” A rise of just 2ºC means severe storms and floods in some countries and droughts in many more; seas become more acidic, coral and krill die and food chains are destroyed. And the lack of Arctic ice in summer is “not just bad news for polar bears,” says the WWF, “it also means that the global climate warms faster, as polar ice deflects sunlight.” But what does this mean for the electrical industry and for consumers? Do we see global ‘greening’ as a passing fad, or are we seeing a cycle of change in attitudes towards the environment and sustainability?

Burning issue Many things contribute to global warming and environmental imbalances, and one which is high on the list of offenders is

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the difficult economic climate has, without doubt, had a huge impact on the demand for resource-efficient goods. “It has taken time,” he says, “but awareness of environmental issues and the benefits of green appliances are certainly increasing. Thanks in no small part to the efforts of retailers and manufacturers we are finding that many consumers now see energy-efficient appliances as a necessity.” Juliana Sado, Brand Marketing Manager for Whirlpool UK, is in agreement. “The world has truly changed,” she says. “It has taken a long time to get the consumer to understand the benefits of eco-appliances, but now they are a ‘must’, with the hike in energy and utility prices being the catalyst and the wakeup call for most households.” Sado also touches on “the lack” of government initiatives and praises manufacturers for “leading the march on green without any real support whatsoever.” WHIRLPOOL’S RESOURCEEFFICIENT GREEN GENERATION RANGE OF APPLIANCES WITH PATENTED 6TH SENSE® TECHNOLOGY

domestic electrical goods. Rita Balestrazzi, Marketing Manager for Baumatic, highlights “staggering statistics” which reveal that white goods alone consume around 60% of the world’s electrical energy and around 70% of the energy used in the average-sized family home. “In the UK,” she says, “it is estimated that between 30% and 50% of energy could be saved on white goods – a shocking statistic that shows the kind of money the nation is collectively wasting.”

Eco-products: looking ahead… “There will be a continued focus on environmental aspects – not just energy and water, but on reducing food wastage and noise pollution too” Iain Starkey, Hotpoint Marketing Manager

But she believes that such figures are now creating the impetus needed for consumers to go green. “Until recently, greening has been seen as a somewhat contentious issue, with many doubting the merit and legitimacy of energyefficient technology. However, attitudes are changing.” Balestrazzi’s view is that EU regulations for appliances have played a part in the “green turnaround”, ensuring that fridge/freezers, for example, must carry an A+ (or above) energy rating: “An important development, given the fact that refrigeration is the second biggest consumer of energy in the home,” she remarks. “And with an increase in the number of governmentbacked green campaigns, manufacturers and 22


retailers alike are now in a position to build upon consumer awareness. “If consumers invested in more energyefficient appliances, it is estimated that they could cut their CO2 emissions by 2,656kg and save up to £705 per year. The average UK consumer would also pay less for the damage caused by chemical leakages and water contamination, as well as for the sourcing of precious metals which we currently waste. Understanding how everyday living costs can be significantly cut is paramount in encouraging consumers to go green,“ she adds. Smeg UK Product Development and Training Manager Joan Fraser also believes that attitudes to the environment are changing, albeit “in differing degrees.” Her opinion is that the speed and adoption of practices depends upon timing and the presence of the right set of circumstances. “For example,” she asserts, “the recycling of plastic supermarket carrier bags succeeded because of a swift change in attitudes. Yet owners of old, water and energy-hungry washing machines will only consider purchasing newer, more economical models when the need arises and they simply have no choice.” But the state of the environment is a “key moral, economic and conservation issue that can no longer be ignored,” adds Gorenje Sales and Marketing Director Bill Miller. “It has a huge impact on every person and every country.” Apart from the costs incurred through the need to repair the damage done to the environment by the use of inefficient appliances, Miller rightly points out the negative effect that such products can have on consumer finances and believes that

Hot air? While there is plenty of media attention and debate surrounding the subject of the environment, Sado’s concern is that the focus is on the world at large and what countries are GORENJE’S FIERY RED RB60299 RETRO FRIDGE FREEZER DELIVERS AN A++ ENERGY RATING


To celebrate our birthday, Belling has created the 100 Collection, an iconic range which combines our rich heritage as a great British brand with modern good looks and technical innovation. The 100 Collection features clean lines, a brilliant white and chrome-look finish to create a range of eye-catching and effortlessly stylish cooking appliances. The collection offers a choice of four freestanding ovens, four range cookers, four built-in ovens and a new-look for the legendary Baby Belling. In this landmark year we have partnered with the Anthony Nolan Trust and will be donating a percentage of all 100 Collection sales to help the fight against blood cancer. For more information go to


doing collectively to tackle climate change, rather than at a consumer or personal level. “Very few are talking about how a modern appliance can help reduce the financial outgoings in the home in the long term, and it’s amazing that the national press hasn’t got the message and even seems to pass up the opportunity to influence consumers.” Her opinion is seconded by Gorenje’s Bill Miller: “The media is certainly focused on the environment and the dangers facing it; however, the coverage tends to be fixated at a macro rather than micro level. Most stories seem to look at events in the world at large, rather than what the individual consumer can do to help.” He maintains that if consumers were educated by

the press on what they can do to change their attitudes and actions for the better, they would pay more attention to the environment and make more positive decisions that will impact it in a helpful way. The use of electrical products and their accompanying resources does tend to be a very individual issue, varying greatly from person to person and household to household. Below, GC provides an idea of how our lives revolve around the appliances and gadgets our industry produces, and just how much we have come to rely upon – and sometimes take for granted – the developed technologies that provide convenience, comfort, security and pleasure in the home.

Eco-products: looking ahead… “Manufacturers will continue to seek reductions in water and energy usage, as well as improving insulation, particularly in ovens” Joan Fraser, Product Development and Training Manager Smeg UK

RISE AND SHINE  Digital radio alarm clock signals time to get up  Central heating on, hot water on, lights on, radio on  Kettle on, juicer on, toaster on, hob on  Bath/shower  Him: electric shaver / Her: hair dryer followed by straighteners Kids: watching TV(!)  Him/Her: Laptops on and charging  Kettle on for last cuppas before leaving home  Dishwasher on rinse, prewash or quick wash  Washing machine set on delay time  Security alarm set

HOUSEHOLD QUIET/EMPTY UNTIL MID AFTERNOON  Security alarm disabled  Central heating on, hot water on, radio on  Kettle/coffee machine on  Her: tumble dryer on, vacuum cleaner on, digital radio on  Kids: games station on, TV on, computers on, charge mobile phones

LATE AFTERNOON/EVENING  Lights on  Her: kitchen machine/blender on, hob on, oven on  Warming drawer on, microwave on  Kettle/coffee machine on  Dishwasher on  Main TV on, kids TVs and computers on  Kids: bath/shower, bedside lights on  Him: music system and laptop on / Her: iron/steam generator on  Kettle on (tea), microwave on (milk)  Recharge electric toothbrushes, laptops, mobile phones  Digital radio alarm clock on, bedside reading lights on

LIGHTS OUT  24/7: Fridge freezer, wine chiller, chest freezer ON




Back to basics It is clear that reducing the consumption of resources used by household appliances is an important part of moderating the impact of climate change – a foremost issue costing countries, i.e. tax payers, a great deal of money and which, if not addressed, will eventually lead to degeneration of the delicate eco-systems required to sustain a healthy and pleasurable quality of life. Henrik Sundström, Vice President Group Sustainability Affairs for Electrolux, discusses some of the difficulties facing the collective group of EU nations, and appliance manufacturers, in convincing consumers of the need to upgrade to resource-efficient products. “The EU has defined a forward-thinking plan to achieve a 20% increase in energy efficiency and a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 1990 levels, and it intends to reach this by 2020. But to make this a reality, we must create the right market frameworks backed up with strong signals to producers and consumers. It is a fact that if every household replaced its 10-year old appliances with today’s energy-efficient models, Europe would cut its carbon emissions by 18 million tons. A figure that corresponds to 6% of the EU’s objectives as defined in the Kyoto Protocol. “But while every new-generation Electrolux appliance put on the market is more energy efficient than the previous one, this is where it becomes more complex: Electrolux has developed state-of-the-art appliances which are widely available, but not yet widely adopted. At the same time, governments have a method of reducing CO2 and energy use that is not being effectively tapped into. At the current rate of replacing old products with new ones, it is estimated that it will take between 10 and 20 years to achieve the full environmental return on energy-efficient appliances.

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“To get these energy-efficient products into people’s homes, what we need is effective market incentives – initiated by national governments – that support green consumer choices. In theory, if all consumers in the UK switched from inefficient 10-year old appliances to the most efficient models, the nation could reduce CO2 emissions by more than 2.6 million metric tons.”

Broader thinking Sundström believes that, at present, consumers are simply not sufficiently motivated to make the change. “Given the relatively long financial payback time –replacing a 20-year old refrigerator with a state-of-the-art model, for example, is between 8 and 10 years – consumers only replace old appliances with new ones when they either break down or when homes are being renovated. But since the overall social, environmental and economic cost of energy is much greater than that which appears on consumers’ utility bills, the value of accelerating the rate of replacement extends beyond individual benefit to add to wider savings for society as a whole.” Although Sundström makes an important point that the use of energy-efficient appliances contributes to wider benefits for society, he concedes that consumers connect to environmentalism and sustainability in different ways. “For some, it’s clearly about doing the right thing and thinking about the next generation, and these consumers will engage immediately. But for others you need a different angle.”


Eco-products: looking ahead… “Money has been invested in good R&D for further advances in areas such as static freezing technology, Smartfrost and SmartGrid technology, and perhaps one day, further developments could see the introduction of solar powered domestic appliances” Mark Bristow, Managing Director, Liebherr

Clearly, more specific knowledge needs to be communicated and more enthusiasm generated on the benefits of replacing inefficient appliances, and Baumatic’s Balestrazzi is of the opinion that those who sell and manufacture MDA goods must “shoulder the responsibility” of converting consumers to greener technology. “Marketing eco-technology to the consumer has not only become the socially responsible





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Eco-products: looking ahead… “With continuous ecological education in schools, children who grow up taking care of the environment mark the creation of a new set of generations with an unwavering and purposeful enthusiasm and drive to protect our natural resources, and messages used in advertising, packaging and labelling will simply reinforce this mindset” Simon Freear, country manager, Amica UK


thing for retailers and manufacturers to do, it is also an act that serves to ensure the success of the electrical goods market in a more environmentally friendly era.” A positive appetite for green technology is there, she believes: “It is just a case of ensuring that consumers recognise which products are genuinely energy efficient.”

At the coalface… The majority of commentators agree that the greening of Britain poses a great business opportunity and retailers have a valuable role to play in the transition from carbon overkill to that of more moderate carbon generation. “Green is the future, without a doubt, and the huge impact it can have on many aspects of our daily lives means that there are excellent opportunities available to different companies and market sectors,” says Gorenje’s Bill Miller. “However, whatever the item, the retailer truly plays a vital role. The retailer is the bridge between the manufacturer and the consumer and will be the one to help explain the benefits and advantages of eco-friendly products to customers on a face-to-face basis. “It is the retailer who must prove, too, that an eco-appliance also offers value for money, as this is a key requirement in the current economic climate,” adds Miller. “Presenting the product as a whole package, with eco-efficiency as just one feature and highlighting other 28


important aspects such as design, technology and ease of use, will encourage customers to see the appliance as more than just a ‘green’ purchase but as a product that will benefit them in many other ways too.” “Retailers play a vital role in convincing the consumer to go green,” agrees Whirlpool’s Sado. “Environment-friendly appliances are an investment for people and may involve trading up to a better brand. This presents a good

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business opportunity for the enterprising retailer who can offer a wide range of such products. “Furthermore, it is the retailer’s knowledge and expertise that is invaluable in convincing the consumer to make their next appliance purchase an eco-friendly one.”


Music and memories…

…the times they are a-changin’

As home entertainment and IT functions converge into an integrated, connected world of fixed and portable access, the area of portable CE devices continues to undergo explosive development and change. GC provides a fleeting reminder of how the category has evolved throughout the noughties and a view of its performance into 2012


haring images and music, streaming and social networking are all now part of a lifestyle that can be accessed at home or on the move, and “transportable” entertainment devices, from digital radios and MP3/4 players to e-Readers, smartphones, tablets and digital imaging products, play an integral part in the lives of consumers who demand personalisation and portability of their content. But while integration and convergence are factors driving development of new products in portable consumer electronics, it is the manner in which this market has evolved that is the most notable feature. As one category is born, another takes a nose dive or fades into oblivion, and some, like the proverbial phoenix, rise from the ashes to become matrix stars as opposed to matrix dogs, mobile phones being a prime example – the sector having been reborn after text messaging reinvigorated a stagnant marketplace and CE companies scrambled to gain a share of what was later to become a multi-billion-pound category


Digital radio celebrates a landmark achievement” offering slim and fast, multifunctional devices, with extraordinarily short replacement cycles boosted both by style & technology-led products and fierce competition between mobile operators.

Bring in the new


The past decade has brought about some dramatic changes in the portable device sectors. One in particular being the birth of digital radio, a category which celebrates a “landmark” achievement this year with 15 million radios sold and the prospect of significant financial returns as the nation enjoys the aptly named “summer of sport”, commencing with the (just passed) UEFA Euro 2012 competition before moving onto the sporting spectacular which is the Olympic Games from 27 July to 12 August and the Paralympic Games from 29 August to 9 September. It’s a hefty schedule which the CE industry on the whole hopes will bring with it a revival in fortunes. For digital radio company Pure, 2012 marks another achievement: the 10th anniversary of the launch of the brand and the 10th birthday of its iconic Evoke radio. And it is worthy that we should note this celebration. As Marketing Director Colin Crawford asserts: “Pure kick-started the digital radio market 10 years ago, and when we launched JULY 2012 GET CONNECTED



the original Evoke in 2002 we never imagined that we would see crowds queuing down Oxford Street to get their hands on one, but that’s what happened, and the rest, as they say, is history.” The Pure Evoke-1 was the first highvolume sub-£100 digital radio on the FUJI FINEPIX F600 EXR: “THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL COMPANION” market. Digital radio has now established global volumes of 7.7 million units during the itself as a mainstream product with listening first quarter of 2012, and although the figure was rising 11% to a new record of 310 million 15% below that of the same period last year, the hours during the first quarter of 2012 (Source: company is still profiting nicely from sales of the RAJAR). And as the, somewhat controversial, iPod and the great feat of marketing that created targeted switchover date of 2015 draws nearer, the magic of all things “i”…. the category, which is well supported by the independent channel, is expected to continue to reap the benefits of greater volumes. As Ford Just the medicine… Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, commented: All things “i” extended even further into the “With all the exclusive music and sporting events portable device market in 2010, in this instance this summer available on digital radio including helping to lift the IT category, with the launch of the launch of BBC Radio 5 Live Olympics Extra, the iPad and a plethora of competitive Tablets and the accelerating momentum of digital radio pushing the sector into stronger value growth. in cars, we expect 2012 to be the year that many According to industry analyst GfK, IT values in more people choose to go digital.” April this year rose 14% above those of the year prior, and if Tablets were stripped out of the equation the overall market would have fallen by Dance on the grave? 1% over the period. As the market for portable CE devices has continued to evolve, another standout feature from the turn of the millennium through to recent years has been the development of the MP3 player which began its life in the very Capitalising on the growth of Tablets will be late 1990s when the MP3 compression format “key” for the retail environment, believes GfK. was monetized via the pocket-sized music player. The category grew by an impressive 214% in It is a category that was to largely bypass the volume during April 2012, to reach the same independent channel and which provides a market share as that of Notebooks, and 206% perfect example of how quickly the market for during March this year. “With figures set to rise high-tech products can change. as we progress further into 2012, this is a prime By 2009, headlines such as “MP3 players have example of innovation driving growth,” says played their last tune” and “All played out?” began Account Manager Manish Goenka. to appear, and although such billings somewhat overdramatized the then forthcoming market trend, it was predicted by the EITO (European Information Technology Observatory) that the volume and value of products would experience a double-digit fall during 2010, dropping by 14% throughout Europe, and in the UK – the biggest individual MP3 market – a fall of 22% in value to €630 million and 20% in volume to 5.5 million units was forecast. The decline was widely attributed to convergence and the increasing number of alternative devices such as mobile phones and radios, for example, that could, and would be able to, play back MP3 files. Sales of MP3 players are, of course, in decline, but the category is far from dead. Indeed, Apple alone reported COMPUTING ON THE MOVE: THE APPLE IPAD

Shutter stutter Change, for good or for bad, is an aspect of the CE industry that retailers have learned to quickly recognise and work with – the digital imaging sector proving no exception in delivering its own set of challenges. The photo market continues to show further decline, and value and volume in the standard compact camera category have fallen significantly as smartphones progressively cannibalise the sector. Overall year-on-year value growth in digital imaging fell 7%; year-to-date dropped 7.7%; and month-on-month (March to April 2012) declined 12.8%. Even online sales dipped considerably, at 15.2% down. But it’s not all bad news for the camera market, “super zoom” and bridge models grew in value by 8% and 26% respectively in the first 4 months of this year, compact system cameras by 15% in value, and, as GfK points out, new products seem to be driving growth both in terms of volume and value.

Lost in transit? While photographs will always provide one of the most emotive means of connecting to the past, present and with others, it seems our willingness to share our memories via social media has overcome our enthusiasm to keep them. According to new research carried out by The Photo Imaging Council and The Photo Marketing Association, we now take more photographs than ever before via our mobile phones, but 64% of us don’t bother to store hard copies of them. The concept of the “family album” is under threat and 37% of us have lost important images that are special to us – a figure which rises to 70% amongst the 16 to 24 age group. Image fatigue is clearly a symptom of today’s fast-paced society and retailers could well benefit by encouraging consumers to preserve their personal and family histories by engaging in promoting the sale of accessories such as photo-printers, digital photo-frames – which, according to GfK, fell 61% in volume in the year to April 2012 – and the simple, but effective, photo album.

Capitalising on the growth of Tablets will be key for the retail environment…”



Precious moments Keeping those treasured images may not be of great importance to the snap-happy camera user, but Panasonic maintains that the key driver in the camcorders market is


the capturing of special occasions and everyday moments to be preserved for the future. Hence, the market for such products is growing year-onyear by 27%, according to the manufacturer. In a survey commissioned by Panasonic, 47% of participants cited holidays as a key reason to purchase a camcorder; 23% cited the arrival of a new baby, with expectant parents and prospective grandparents purchasing for this reason, and 19% of people purchasing devices for wedding occasions. Long recording times in particular are a key benefit of camcorders, according to a Panasonic, as “digital still cameras only allow a maximum recording time of 20 minutes and 59 seconds.” In the three months to 31st August, Panasonic has engaged in a cashback promotion on selected HD camcorders in its range to help retailers boost sales.


D and 9V cells are not as prevalent as AA and AAA, says Sewart. “In fact, these now account for less than 20% of the market volume. Battery manufacturers are investing huge amounts of time and money into research and development of more powerful batteries to support this miniaturisation trend.” Rechargeable technology has also developed considerably in recent years, offering cells ready to EREADERS QUICKLY ESTABLISHED use straight from the pack with THEMSELVES AS “MUST HAVE” PRODUCTS FOR CONSUMERS ON THE MOVE increased power and shorter Holding power charging times. Sewart points As consumers become more ‘on the go’ and ‘in the home’ battery chargers,” out that while this market is still and more reliant upon portable comments Sewart, highlighting in particular evolving, consumers are becoming technology for entertainment and VARTA’s recently introduced V-Man Zero, a more familiar with the concept of their day-to-day communications, it portable charging device with adapters for rechargeable batteries and the longfalls upon battery manufacturers to Micro USB, mini USB and selected Apple® term benefits they can bring. support the ever growing demand products. When charged via USB cable or The commonplace nature of to keep devices operating and up to mobile phone, the V-Man Zero can be taken on power-hungry, portable gadgets speed. Anthony Sewart, sales director the road and used to charge mobile devices in means it has been necessary for at VARTA UK, comments that “ever any location. manufacturers to develop portable busier lifestyles mean people want “It is an ideal travel companion for those charging solutions which come to communicate, update and be who spend a lot of time on the move,” Sewart with a range of adaptors to enable entertained on the move, and with VARTA’S VMAN concludes. devices such as MP3/4 players, digital this there has been a huge shift in ZERO PORTABLE radios, e-readers, smartphones, the technology we use to power our CHARGER: LITHIUM tablets and digital everyday gadgets and accessories, ION TECHNOLOGY with more powerful battery chargers ENSURES DEVICES ARE imaging devices CHARGED QUICKLY to be charged and rechargeable solutions all AND SAFELY simultaneously. coming to the fore.” “This innovation in power Innovation in battery technology is driven technology has opened up by the development of new devices and as a new sales opportunity for a technology evolves, so too does the drive manufacturers and retailers to make products as small and as portable as and has led to the introduction of possible. The result of this shift being that C, THE CYBERSHOT™ RX100 FROM SONY

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George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics.



ndy Wood, CEO of the media streaming company Roku, created quite a stir by declaring at a conference on the future of television that the Blu-ray format was on its way out – and soon. “Will people use Blu-ray in four years?” asked Wood (somewhat rhetorically), “I don’t think so.” Now, Wood is not exactly a disinterested party in the debate, as his company sells two streaming media products (costing £50 and £100 each) in the UK. The Roku box plugs into a TV, connects to a

TV programmes and services from the internet (the latest statistics for BBC iPlayer, for example, reveal that, on average, viewers made 190 million programme requests per month in the first quarter of 2012 - up 24% year-on-year). This year also sees the launch of the YouView service that will offer a range of catch-up TV services. So yes, there’s a big appetite for streaming video content, but can we infer from this that Blu-ray is almost on its last legs? I don’t think so, and neither does Wood, because he also said that a box

…there’s a big appetite for streaming video content, but can we infer from this that Blu-ray is almost on its last legs?” home broadband service and streams content from the internet. The devices join the media streamers already on the market, along with Smart TVs and games consoles that stream online content. There’s no doubt that many more of us are watching



that combined Roku with a Blu-ray player was not out of the question. It seems odd that anyone would want to hitch their new product to a format with a short shelf life. There’s no doubt that physical disc sales are falling – the British Video Association (BVA) reported that sales of Blu-ray and DVD discs in the UK fell by 4.7% in value and 7.2% in volume in 2011 to £1.75 billion and some 207 million units respectively. But while digital sales are growing, they still only accounted for 13% of the total market by value, and many consumers are embracing both forms of media by purchasing triple play packs that include both physical media and a digital copy that can be watched on a Tablet or laptop. Blu-ray sales haven’t reached the dizzy heights of DVD, but that’s for a variety of reasons – such as the economic climate, price differences (although this is narrowing) and upscaling DVD players – but anyone who thinks the format will be on its way out by 2014 is way out of line.

HELLO DIGITAL? Let’s be honest – the music industry has always loved the compact disc, but often viewed digital music (like downloads and streaming) with suspicion. It’s easy to see why. Before the arrival of low-cost CD burners and copiers, it was difficult and expensive to copy CDs, while it’s always been easy to copy a digital music file and share it with others, without any change in audio quality. The CD was a cash cow for the music industry in the 1980s and 90s, with many consumers buying their record collections a second time. CDs cost pennies to make and typically sold for £12-15 each. No wonder record executives were crying into their champagne glasses. The problem is that the record industry didn’t learn from history – music formats don’t live forever, and so it wasn’t prepared for digital. We all know what happened next – the internet became a wild west with loads of illegal file sharing sites springing up. The CD went from being a cash cow to a high quality digital master that could be ripped in seconds and posted online soon after. But now, the music industry is having a change of heart over digital, because in the first quarter of this year, digital music sales overtook physical sales (CDs and music videos) for the first time. The music industry trade body, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), reports that digital accounted for 55.5% of the £155.8m UK consumers spent on music in the first quarter of 2012. The BPI adds the growth in digital boosted the record industry’s total market value by 2.7% , helping to offset the decline in CD sales. Impressive stuff, but even the BPI says that the CD is far from finished and still remains the dominant music format.




Zapped by lightning As we enter the main season for electrical storms in the UK Alan Bennett looks at their effect on home entertainment equipment, and at repairs and precautions


any one time over 2000 thunderstorms are going on in the world. Between them they produce about 100 lightning flashes a second, whose potential ranges up to 100 million volts, and whose current can be as much as 120,000 amps. Lightning travels at 90,000 miles a second and the stroke, typically just 50mm in diameter, can vary in length from 70 yards to 20 miles. About 90% of lightning strikes are over land.

from serious damage. Don’t handle landline phones or electrical appliances at the height of a local electrical storm!


Any equipment which has been taken out by lightning is certainly worth investigation because the damage is utterly unpredictable, and may be quite superficial. On the other hand it can be completely – often invisibly – wrecked! The first step is a thorough internal examination, looking for scorches and burn marks, particularly near the point of entry of the spike if known. Scrutinise both sides of the PC boards and adjacent plastic and metal surfaces, which Vulnerable may have got spattered. If there has been burning, sparking or arcs in the lowIn the face of this power and energy, what chance level (processes, memory, signal) circuits it’s likely that the damage is severe and has the delicate electronic equipment in our houses? widespread, and not viable for repair. In a strong direct strike, very little. Most damage If the gear is not completely dead, just stunned as it were, try resetting the arises, however, from indirect hits, static, induction main control/processor chip by interrupting the mains supply for a few minutes, and secondary conduction, where a good first line of then if necessary check for an internal IC-reset pulse and then for loss of data/ defence is the grounding of the TV aerial or satellite derangement in the operational memory chip/s. Where there is no operation dish by a thick wire direct to an earthing plate in the at all check the fuses and semiconductors in the power supply; sometimes ground or a conductive water pipe at the point where it the plastic top of a transistor or IC may have been literally blown off by a enters the house. mini-explosion inside. If semiconductors and/or fuses on the secondary TV, audio and computer gear is delicate electrically, side of the switch-mode transformer have failed it bodes ill for the and easily wrecked by voltage spikes and surges caused rest of the set because a large spike on a power rail, data, clock by lightning. Tuners, once separate modules, are now more or reset line will have reached many devices throughout. In integrated; because of the non-availability of many parts and this situation much fruitless time can be spent investigating, assemblies these days, front-end damage may well result in the writeperhaps only to find that replacement parts or panels are off of the whole caboosh. While some set-top boxes are relatively cheap, not available anyway – the replacement cost of the sophisticated ones incorporating recorders are less so, and top-end TVs set or box must be set against the time involved in very expensive; they can be wrecked – or at least damaged – in less than a diagnosis. Insurance companies seldom quibble, millisecond by a lightning strike. One of my customers, hit more than once, now I’ve found, in these circumstances. uses an old receiver box (in RF-through mode) as a kind of sacrificial buffer, as well as having his dish and aerial grounded via a house-external strap and buried copper plate. Precautions Prevention is better than cure, at least with Conduits hindsight, and several kinds of protective There are three possible inward routes for damaging lightning surges. Roof- and walldevice are available from trade component mounted receiving dishes and aerials, especially on high and exposed dwellings, are suppliers like Charles Hyde & Son and perhaps the most obvious ones. Mains supply cables are another, especially (but not CPC. The most common, and cheapest, are exclusively) where they are routed overhead on poles or masts, generally in rural mains plugs and socket strips incorporating districts. A big surge on the mains can cripple electronic equipment connected to it, surge- and spike-suppressors and absorbers. but here again precautions can be taken – see below. A third potential(!) conductor Also available are devices to fit into aerial and of electrical thunderbolts is the telephone wire, and again it’s more likely to do dish downloads, sometimes combined with a so if it’s an overhead one. As with the mains, however, underground cables are mains suppressor; and telephone line protectors, certainly not immune from induced spikes and surges. The telephone line has some at quite high cost. Specialist companies become a vital link in home TV and computer systems, but fortunately it usually like Bowthorpe EMP offer a wide range of surge couples up via a relatively inexpensive (and hence dispensable) distribution box and lightning protection devices. Fuses and circuit and modem, whose front-line position may well save the TV, PC or whatever breakers offer no protection against lightning... GET CONNECTED



2-minute interview · He could see himself as a wild west frontiersman, or master

of an ocean-going vessel, as long as he had adequate supplies of his special gum. He’d like to lose a stone or two, but a taste for Cabernet Sauvignon and curry may be getting in the way. Meet the “caring, thoughtful, attentive” John Bainbridge, commercial director at Portway Domestic Appliances

Favorite quote? “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt” Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My father

Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry? Just sort of happened. It chose me

If you weren’t in your present position, what job would you choose to do? Ship’s captain

Who in the industry would you like to spend time with? Simon Freear from Amica. He makes me laugh and his honesty is refreshing

Favourite TV programme? “Not Going Out”, and “Mrs Brown’s Boys”

What do you daydream about? Boating

What surprises you? The incredible low margins we seem now to accept

Favorite holiday destination? Scotland

What makes you laugh? Paul (full name suppressed to protect the innocent), for his comments to customers who visit his shop. Has me crying with laughter! What was the greatest turning point in your life? Joining Portway and meeting my lovely wife Jane Hobbies? Boating and shooting What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told? “Yes, it suits you” Greatest regret? Not spending enough time with my father How would you describe yourself? Caring, thoughtful, attentive How do you think others see you? None of the above What’s your pet hate? Unsolicited calls and emails Any bad habits? Nicorette chewing gum: ten years on and still using it. And my wife tells me I snore (not that I had noticed) 34

What sort of music do you like? Wide choice from classical to Pink Floyd


Favourite cuisine? Indian You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice. What character would you like to play? John Dunbar in “Dances With Wolves” You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day. What would be the first change you would make? Make unlimited funds available for cancer research Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change? Lose two stone Do you have any hidden talents? Still working on this one Any particular fetishes? Not that I am prepared to share What would you put into Room 101? All forms of cancer What’s your greatest achievement? Bringing up two beautiful, well-rounded daughters

Name your poison Cabernet sauvignon

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Still working with the great team at Portway What’s your favourite piece of kit? My boat – albeit very small What motto do you live by? Treat others as you would wish to be treated

Eavesdroppings Electrical Retailer: “A customer told me the other day that, like horses being replaced as the principal means of transport, independent retailers have to accept that they’ll be replaced by other, more efficient means of shopping. It’s just progress, he said. I won’t tell you what I replied.”

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Get Connected: July 2012  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry