JUNE 2012 : JUBILEE ISSUE
w w w. g c m a g a z i n e . c o . u k
DESIGNER PRODUCTS “Design” is the powerful attribute common to all categories of electricals. It’s very much about looks and style, but it’s also crucial to performance, reliability and relevance to consumers’ needs
FLOORCARE The floorcare category is performing well in today’s difficult climate, and has seen a significant move away from lower-cost products towards premium products. Consumers want to be sure their vacuum cleaner will work, and will last
THE PRODUCT GALLERY For our Jubilee issue, a red, white and blue celebration of electricals in Britain 2012
BACKCHAT A special 2-minute interview for Diamond Jubilee Year
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 www.belling.co.uk/centenary/anthonynolan
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p22 MIELE’S RAL EXTRACTOR RANGE www.miele.co.uk/cooker-hoods/
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Get Connected Greyfriar Cottage Winchester Road Chawton Alton Hampshire GU34 1SB
In and around the industry / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /
The Product Gallery
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Browns, whites and smalls – they all need design / / / / / / / / / /
George Cole Gets Connected Adapting to survive?
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Where the opportunities are / / / / / / / / / / / / / /
Growth from Knowledge
GfK gives the facts & figures on UK floorcare / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /
From the Bench
Alan Bennett recalls his chariot of fire
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.
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A special Diamond Jubilee 2-minute interview with the head of a long-established family firm
Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33 firstname.lastname@example.org
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JUBILEE ISSUE JUNE 2012 GET CONNECTED
Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief
It’s been a slow build, but as 2012 moves into its second half it will fulfil its potential to become one of the most remarkable years of the century. It’s the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – by definition a rare event – and the national celebrations over the extended bank holiday weekend just past will have put the British public in the mood to shake off the shroud of austerity for a while and live a little.
For good or ill, “live a little” is now often equated, in the British psyche, with “spend a lot at retail”. And it so happens that the rest of 2012 is full of events that could direct that spending towards electrical goods of all kinds. The “Jubilee Effect” sparked by the long weekend of national celebrations has already been augmented by the kick-off of the Uefa Euro 2012 competition that climaxes in the final on July 1st. The Olympic Flame is already well into its progress around the UK, and the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games on 27th July will be followed by the biggest festival of world class sport seen in this country for more than half a century. When the London Olympics closes on 12th August, the festival of world class sport takes only a brief interlude until the London Paralympic Games opening ceremony on 29th August. Is this really an opportunity for electrical retailers? There is certainly a huge collection of “patriotic” electrical and electronic goods available to tempt Brits into marking the occasion – even if they don’t actually go for the Union Jack cooker or DAB radio that first caught their attention. And GfK has recently issued figures predicting that the Euro 2012 competition and the London Olympics will be responsible for well over a quarter of a million extra TV sales in the UK this year. It’s a proven statistic that, in the UK, big sport sells big TVs. The effect of the Diamond Jubilee on the British mood will also still be there throughout the year, encouraging the propensity to “go for it” now and economise later. As for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee Year, is it really something that Brits still care about in the 21st century United Kingdom? We believe it is, and that the majority of the country will see it as an occasion for some pride and ceremony. We didn’t get to choose our Queen, but even the most ardent of republicans would have to admit we were lucky to get someone who has conducted herself in the job with more dedication, probity and dignity than most of the wide boys, bullies, cowards, hypocrites, thieves, liars and cheats that we wind up with when we DO get to choose. So even those who can’t, on principle, celebrate the office of Monarch should be able, without compromising their principles too much, to join in celebrating the person who’s held that office for the last 60 years of extraordinary social and technological change.
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
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GET CONNECTED JUNE 2012 JUBILEE ISSUE
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First dozen winners of “Portas Pilots” funding announced
he first twelve High Streets to win funding worth some £100,000 each plus mentoring and advice from “retail guru” Mary Portas and support and advice from Grant Shapps, Minister of State for Communities and Local Government, have been announced. Communities throughout the country were invited to apply for “Portas Pilot” status by submitting a video pitch explaining why their particular High Street had the vision, the people and the energy to benefit from funding and expert advice designed to help rejuvenation and revitalization. From the 371 applications received, the first twelve to secure a share of the initial £1.2 million Government funding on offer are: Bedford, Croydon, Dartford, Greater Bedminster, Liskeard, Margate, Market Rasen, Nelson, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Stockport, Stockton-on-Tees and Wolverhampton. Mary Portas, whose report on the condition of our High Streets sparked the “Portas Pilots” initiative, will also, it is reported, be making a TV programme about the twelve winners. Minister of State Grant Shapps said the Portas Pilots competition had helped unite communities across the country in support of their High Streets. “The winners are going to get the focus and attention from Mary Portas herself and from me as the Government minister. To make towns work, they’re going to have to offer something different and interesting, something that the Internet can’t provide. That’s obviously human contact – a place to go and meet, a place where there are other interesting activities other than just shopping.” Shapps acknowledged that hard work would be needed if High Streets are to compete successfully against the Internet and out-oftown shopping centres. And the theme of hard work was taken up by British Independent Retailers’ Association deputy chairman Michael Weedon, who commented: “This is money being given to twelve out of 371 towns that applied to it. This is not going to be a magic bullet for solving this and we must remember that it’s 6
GET CONNECTED JUNE 2012 JUBILEE ISSUE
a pilot. This is about trying something out to achieve something and you have to be positive about this. They have to approach it positively to try and make a change.” “Town Teams” in the winning areas will now have the opportunity to show they can follow through from their video applications and use the money and the support to implement effectively the recommendations in the Portas Report. Mary Portas said: “It is now clearer to me than ever that Britain wants its town centres revitalised and the energy and accountability for that needs to rest with the people who live and do business there.” She also tweeted messages immediately following the announcement of the winners: “My heartfelt congratulations to the top 12 and their town teams. You have a huge responsibility,” she said, followed by a further message: “More importantly, to the hundreds of brilliant town teams I have met, tweeted or enjoyed on film on this journey, DO NOT GIVE UP.” A further fifteen Portas Pilot areas will be chosen later this year. The deadline for video applications – submitted by “town teams” that
It is now clearer to me than ever that Britain wants its town centres revitalised and the energy and accountability for that needs to rest with the people who live and do business there.” – Mary Portas may be made up of a mix of local residents and representatives including business owners, landlords, local councillors, and MPs – is June 30th. The director of one of the winning bids, Christina Rowe of Bedford, is reported locally as commenting: “We pulled together our ideas, many of them recognising the same challenges, and have come up with some realistic solutions which will support the Portas target of reviving the Great British High Street. In this exercise we were aiming for one pot of money which is specifically about High Streets, but we also succeeded in bringing together committed people from across the town who want to see Bedford thrive – and that can only help all of us. “The town team’s key idea was to take one of the empty shops in or just off the High Street and turn it into a showcase, sales and support unit for all the other businesses on the High Street and those who aspire to be part of the High Street. We applied for just over £50,000.” To view the video applications that made the top 12, go to Mary Portas’ website: www.maryportas.com/portaspilots.
Smeg Union Jack fridge the centre of 2012 celebrations
Multiple independent retailer Coopers of Bath flew the Union Jack flag during May in celebration of the passing of the Olympic torch in front of its store. A Smeg FAB28 Union Jack fridge took pride of place in the prominent window display created for the occasion.
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April retail sales a washout The British Retail Consortium declared UK retail sales for April a “washout” after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced that value grew by a sluggish 0.4% in April, compared to April 2011, and volume was down 1.1% compared to the same month last year. Volume declined 2.3% in April compared to March, which had shown growth of 2%, but the ONS said the April figure was affected strongly by a record fall in petrol sales. In household goods stores, the figures deviated from the overall retail picture, with sales volumes up by 3.6% in April 2012 compared with April 2011, the largest rise for sixteen months. The value of sales rose by 1.3% over the same period, also the largest increase for sixteen months. But average household goods prices are estimated to show deflation of 1.6%, the largest fall in prices for more than three years.
Falling inflation offers some hope for customers but disposable incomes are still dropping and people are not spending on things that aren’t immediate needs” One analyst commented that distortion from the exceptional fall in fuel sales made it difficult to gauge the underlying picture of what is happening at retail, but “nonetheless, stripping that out, there is still a big drop in sales, which is probably weather-related.” “April sales were always going to struggle against a strong performance a year ago helped by better weather, a later Easter and an extra bank holiday then, but real-terms sales declines are bad news,” said British Retail Consortium Director General Stephen Robertson. “Falling inflation offers some hope for customers but disposable incomes are still dropping and people are not spending on things that aren’t immediate needs.” The ONS also confirmed during May that the UK had dipped back into recession as the economy shrank by 0.3% in the first quarter of the year. The figure was worse than last month’s initial ONS estimate for the period of 0.2%, and surprised some commentators who expected the revision to show an improvement. There is speculation that the economy will shrink again in the second quarter of 2012, and Bank of England governor Mervyn King has said the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations may have a detrimental effect on output. Consumers, meanwhile, remain downbeat about their financial outlook, according to the headline Markit Household Finance Index, which posted 36.6 in May, down from 37.0 in the previous month and signalling the sharpest deterioration in finances for four months. Markit Senior Economist Tim Moore remarked that the trend had moved into full-scale reverse after some encouraging signs earlier in the year, with mortgage holders and public sector workers feeling the greatest squeeze. “The latest survey also gives an early indication that the UK economy continues to stutter through the second quarter,” he commented, adding that households are still “very downbeat” about their financial outlook.
Take advantage of the opportunities at IFA 2012 – the top CE trading platform. Meet European sales representatives from all of the leading international brands. Secure your business success with the latest innovations!
Berlin,31Aug–5 Sep 2012
The glob al innovat ions show.
IFA-Contact: Overseas Trade Show Agencies Ltd. Tel. +44-20-7886 3121 · email@example.com Non-Stop to IFA 2012 The new airport BER makes it possible – Lufthansa offers even more non-stop ﬂights to Berlin, now from Birmingham, LondonHeathrow and Manchester.
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Panasonic 2012 losses reflect Toshiba “severe business conditions” ceases LCD TV Panasonic Corporation reported group sales down 10% to ¥7,846.2 billion for the year to 31 March 2012. Domestic sales fell 8% and overseas revenues 12% compared with F/Y 2011 “due to multiple factors,” the company said. Panasonic cited “the concern of shortages in the electric supply caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, the disruption of supply chains affected by the flooding in Thailand, the economic turmoil triggered by the European financial crisis, and the historically high yen.” Operating results in the flat-panel TV and semiconductor businesses worsened significantly, with intense price competition
and a decline in demand added to the above pressures. Despite streamlining efforts for raw materials and fixed cost reductions, the company said its operating profit fell 86% to ¥43.7 billion from ¥305.3 billion last year. Income before taxes turned to a loss of ¥812.8 billion from a ¥178.8 billion gain, due mainly to incurring business restructuring expenses of ¥767.1 billion. In its financial forecast for 2013, Panasonic is predicting sales of ¥8,100.0 billion (vs. FY12: +3%) and an operating profit of ¥260.0 billion (vs. FY12: +495%). Income before taxes is expected to be ¥160.0 billion (vs. FY12: -%).
the concern of shortages in the electric supply caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, the disruption of supply chains affected by the flooding in Thailand, the economic turmoil triggered by the European financial crisis, and the historically high yen.”
Sony posts record Dixons Retail losses for year to announces new 31 March 2012 finance facility Sony posted a net loss of ¥456.7 billion (£3.5 billion) for the full year to 31 March 2012, following a ¥259.6 billion loss in the year to March 2011, but less than the revised-up £4 billion loss forecast earlier by the company. The continuing strength of the Yen has been a factor in the difficulties of many Japanese companies with global markets, and Sony cited this as one of the elements contributing to its continuing losses. Two natural disasters in 2011 – the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the floods in Thailand – also had a severe and ongoing effect, causing plant and asset losses and continuing disruption to production. Falling demand from developed markets, plus strong competition from global rivals, especially in its TV and home electronics businesses, have added to the pressure. The TV division has been in loss for eight years. 8
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Dixons Retail plc has confirmed that it has agreed a £300 million Revolving Credit Facility with its syndicate of lending banks. The agreement effectively extends the Group’s current facility, which was due to mature next year, until 30 June 2015. The Group has recently been posting improved results and its share price has seen substantial rises over the past six months. A few weeks ago it posted sales for the 16 weeks to 28th April 2012 up 8% in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and forecast full-year pre-tax profits will, at between £65 million and £70 million, be at the top end of market expectations Dixons shares have risen 42% over the last half year.
production in Japan
Toshiba has announced that it has stopped manufacturing LCD TVs at its sole domestic plant in Fukaya. Falling demand and falling prices are cited as the major reasons for halting production in Japan. The company still has LCD TV manufacturing facilities in Indonesia, China, Egypt and Poland. In common with Japanese CE giants Sony, Sharp and Panasonic, Toshiba’s TV business has been suffering from falling global demand, a strong Yen and fierce competition from South Korean manufacturers, but Toshiba has a powerful, longstanding presence in chip manufacturing and, as the world number 2 in manufacture of NAND flash chips, has been boosted by the success of Apple iPhones, which use the chips. The company said that it is refocusing its business, and has forecast operating profits to rise to ¥450 billion by the year ending March 2015, more than double the ¥206.7 billion posted in the year to March 2012.
Sharp and Sony to terminate joint venture Sony and Sharp have announced that their joint venture relationship to produce and sell large-sized LCD panels and modules will terminate, and that Sony will sell its shares (representing 7.04% of the issued shares) in Sharp Display Products Corporation (SDP) to SDP. In the event that SDP is not able to purchase or pay for the shares due to legal restrictions on acquiring its own shares, or for any other reason, Sony said that Sharp will purchase the shares. A statement released by the two companies said that Sony will receive cash consideration equal to its original investment of 10 billion yen to be paid by SDP. Both the sale of shares and the payment of cash consideration will be completed by the end of June 2012.
Introducing Electrolux Inspiration Range
Developed for professionals, now adapted for you Professional Expertise Electrolux is the number one supplier to professional kitchens and laundries in Europe and provides equipment for around 50% of Europe’s Michelin star restaurants. With 90 years of professional expertise, no other manufacturer is better placed to develop a range of domestic appliances with features and functionalities inspired by the needs of professional chefs and now adapted for the consumer.
Inspired Design Clean, architectural lines and authentic materials were chosen to make the appliances distinctive yet adaptable to different kitchen designs. Simplified graphics, premium white LED touch screens, black glass, brushed stainless steel, a new handle and a velvetclosing door give the ovens a premium look and high quality fit, feel and finish.
Creative Freedom The Electrolux Inspiration range is the perfect choice for consumers who want to be creative and express themselves. Thanks to thoughtful design and professional expertise applied
during the creation of the range, whether the consumer is cooking, cleaning, entertaining or washing, they can be confident that Inspiration appliances will give them outstanding results.
CombiSteam ovens Professional results are easier than ever to achieve at home, thanks to a new, super large 72-litre CombiSteam Deluxe oven from Electrolux, inventor of the combisteam concept for professional chefs. The brand new oven offers all of the functions expected on a top-of-the-range model, plus three programmes that use different combinations of steam and hot air: CrispSteam (25% steam), SoftSteam (50% steam) and PureSteam (100% steam), for the ultimate in cooking versatility.
Induction hobs Precision control and speed is a must for any professional chef and the new induction hobs offer both these attributes, and more. The InfinitePure induction hob is the world’s first fully backlit hob, offering a dramatic centrepiece for any new kitchen. This minimalist hob does away with traditional hob zones and its intelligent, intuitive controls ensure precise professional results. The hob’s sleek black rectangle is retained until the appliance is turned on.
Glossy red, chocolate brown, lime green and ebony black stainless steel fridge freezers from Electrolux are designed to give any kitchen a lift. Keeping fresh food for longer is a must in the professional chef’s kitchen and the new Inspiration fridge freezers do just that. ‘TwinTech’ technology employs a single compressor to run dual cooling systems, thereby maintaining optimal humidity in the fridge while offering frost-free performance in the freezer. The fridges also offer intuitive, touch-sensitive LCD displays with white digits for temperature and function setting.
For more information please call Trade sales on 08445 610561 JUBILEE ISSUE JUNE 2012 GET CONNECTED
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Mainstream popularity of digital radio now established Digital radio listening has increased by 11% to a new record of 310 million hours, according to the latest Q1 2012 RAJAR figures. Highlights of the quarter included: Digital radio listening share increased 10% year on year to 29.2% 50% of all radio listeners listen to digital radio every week DAB digital radio listening reached a record 200 million hours, an increase of 15% year on year Internet radio listening share rose to a new record level of 3.9% Commenting on the figures, Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said the mainstream popularity of digital radio is now established. “With all the exclusive music and sporting events this summer available on digital radio, including the launch of BBC Radio 5 Live Olympics Extra, and the accelerating momentum of digital radio in cars, we expect 2012 to be the year that many more people choose to go digital.”
AMDEA offers advice on floorcare Industry body AMDEA’s Time to Change website has launched a new section for floorcare products, featuring advice on energy labelling, choosing the right appliance, information on allergies/asthma and FAQs. To promote the new section and the advances in vacuum cleaner technology, AMDEA is launching a series of online competitions and prize draws with relevant, simple multiple-choice questions based on information published on the site. The winners will choose from a range of branded vacuum cleaning products offered by AMDEA members.
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LG to bring OLED to European market in second half of 2012 LG Electronics has unveiled the world’s largest and slimmest 55-inch OLED TV and will be the first company to bring OLED large-screen product to European consumers. Units will be available in the second half of this year. The event took place at Monaco’s renowned Salle des Etoiles, with 400 dealers, journalists and special guest F1 champion Sebastian Vettel in attendance. “In the history of television, there have been very few innovations as impactful as the coming of OLED TV,” said Havis Kwon, President and CEO of LG’s Home Entertainment Company. “LG OLED TV is truly above all expectations and beyond everyone’s imagination with uncompromising picture quality and beautiful design. This year, we plan to make OLED synonymous with LG.”
New distribution partners for De’Longhi and Kenwood De’Longhi and Kenwood have confirmed their preferred UK distribution partners for 2012. The brands are no longer trading with Pik a Pak, Inman’s, which is in administration, DAD, Beam or RK Wholesale, and instead will be partnering with EPE (Department Stores and Cook shops), JEGS (Independent Electrical) and Stearn (Trade and Heating Customers). Paul Harrison, Sales Director of De’Longhi UK, commented: “These distribution changes will enable independent retailers to either trade directly with an experienced member of the De’Longhi and Kenwood sales teams, who will assist and support retailers in driving incremental business, or via the new distribution partners that enhance De’Longhi and Kenwood’s long-term strategy to support independent retailers.”
BSH reports “record year” for revenue in 2011 BSH (Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH), owner of the Bosch, Neff and Siemens brands, has reported revenue up in 2011 by 6.4% to €9.654 billion. Gross profit was down by around 1% to €3.577 billion due to “significant increases in material prices,” but the company says that it is still achieving “above average profitability.” The emphasis on BSH’s commitment to developing “super-efficient” appliances was a recurring theme at the presentation of its results, and was cited as a key factor in the company’s maintaining revenue growth and profitability in a difficult global environment. Western European markets delivered some mixed results, and across the region revenue suffered a slight decrease of 0.7%. BSH’s home country of Germany achieved an 8.2% uplift in revenue to € 2.062 billion, but there were difficulties in Greece, Spain and Portugal, the countries most affected by the Eurozone crisis. The UK showed “positive developments.” In 2011 BSH invested € 453 million in the development and production of energy-efficient home appliances and its sites, € 50 million more than in the year before. The company said that various products manufactured by BSH hold records for low energy consumption and thus set the benchmark for the entire industry. Since 2009, BSH has pooled these appliances in its so-called Super Efficiency Portfolio and has the respective figures confirmed by auditors every year. Compared to the previous year, sales figures for these home appliances in Europe went up by 12% to a total of 3.5 million units in 2011. The share of superefficient appliances as part of overall BSH sales in Europe thus increased to 28%. Looking ahead, BSH was cautious about growth forecasts for 2012, pointing out that revenues for the first quarter are only roughly equal to the same period in 2011. The business expects the overall revenue for 2012 “to achieve low single-digit growth rates.”
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TOWIE’S LAUREN GOODGER, LAUREN POPE AND CHLOE SIMS WITH SAMSUNG UK GENERAL MANAGER COLIN RODGERS AND PRC DIRECTORS JOHN AND GEORGE DIGWA
Towie team experiences “the future of TV” I would recommend everyone to have a demonstration of these incredible products…”
he cast of award-winning reality TV show ‘The Only Way is Essex’ – or Towie, as it is popularly known – brought a touch of their own special kind of glamour to a V.I.P launch evening at Essex-based electrical retailer PRC during May. The exclusive event, hosted by PRC Directors George and John Digwa, was an opportunity for guests to experience the design-led, technologically-advanced 2012 collection of TVs from Samsung. “A great evening indeed,” commented George Digwa after the event, which was also supported by the Mayor of Redbridge and by Samsung UK General Manager Colin Rodgers, who was “delighted” with the success of the evening.
Champagne and canapés may have greeted the V.I.Ps, but it was the Samsung technology that ‘wooed’ them. “It’s mind blowing,” said Digwa, who was also pleased to report that the Towie crew – Lauren Goodger, Chloe Sims, Lauren Pope, Carol Wright and twins Dino and George Georgiades – were all “very impressed” with the PRC showroom. As one of Samsung’s largest independent retailers in the UK and having been awarded the prestigious title of Samsung Dealer of the Year, the PRC business, a former Domestic & General (D&G) Retailer of the Year which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, was specially selected to host the TV launch evening – the first in the UK and perfectly timed, as Samsung is supporting the new product with a heavyweight national marketing campaign from the end of May.
George Digwa said he was “enthralled” by the amount of excitement the new Samsung Smart TV has brought to the world of home entertainment. “We’ve seen many new technologies launched over the years, but the new Samsung Smart Interaction technology is truly groundbreaking,” he commented. “With incredible features such as voice and motion control – you can operate the TV simply by speaking or with hand gestures – and face recognition technology, these products are the future of TV.” We’re “well jel….”
...exquisite design, attention to detail and TV viewing at its ultimate best” JUBILEE ISSUE JUNE 2012 GET CONNECTED
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Photo © Jon Craig Photography
Samsung opens first UK cookery school Samsung UK has held the official opening of its first UK Cookery School, which features Jamie Oliver-endorsed Samsung kitchen appliances and will host a number of classes and courses, including ‘demonstration and dine’ evenings led by the southwest’s finest Michelin Starred and AA Rosette-rated chefs, many of whom make up the member base of prestigious industry networking group The Chefs’ Forum. The initiative is in affiliation with kitchen appliance retailer Nailsea Electrical and set in an interesting church conversion on Bristol’s
Distributor BBG has recruited two new members for its consumer sales team. Phil Brown, a former Sony Centre group store manager and overall area manager for 6 stores (pictured below right), will cover the Midlands, Yorkshire & North East areas, and Tony Murney (below left), an industry veteran of 10 years, takes on responsibility for the Scotland region.
The CAI is to launch a new logo that represents a contemporary new look for the organisation. The new branding will be introduced to the market gradually with the general membership logo being released first. The CAI said that old CAI
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Gloucester Road. 102 Cookery School will offer a variety of classes in a fun and informal atmosphere for novice and experienced cooks to learn about food, drink and gastronomy. Ben and Pete Gilks, Directors of Nailsea Electrical and 102, said: “After expanding our business by opening a fully working showroom we have seen that the public have a genuine interest in food and the methods by which it is cooked to get the best results. We’ve been inspired by this to create a food and drink venue like no other and are very excited for the launch.”
logos will still be fully accepted for some months in order that members have the time to change vehicles, stationery and allow for new membership certificates to be distributed. Armour Home has added to its CI team with the appointment of Chris Janes as Sales Manager for the New Build division, reporting to Ashley Hutchinson, Armour’s Channel Director for CI Products. Fisher & Paykel Appliances UK has announced the appointment of Peter Newitt (pictured right) to the role of Area Sales Representative covering the South East of England. Floorcare brand Vax has been shortlisted for two ‘Birmingham Made Me’ design and innovation awards. The Vax Air – claimed to be the lightest full size multicyclonic upright vacuum cleaner in the world – is a finalist for the ‘Best Radical Design/Innovation 2012’ award and the eco-friendly Vax ev cardboard vacuum cleaner is in the running for ‘Best Design Collaboration with Education 2012’.
Sony Radio Awards give boost to digital radio The Sony Radio Academy Awards created what Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, called “truly a landmark moment for digital radio” when the digital-only station BBC Radio 6 Music won the coveted UK Station of the Year Award. This is the first time that this Award has been won by a digital-only station. The station has achieved a remarkable comeback from the brink of extinction. In 2010 it was rescued from the BBC’s budgetcutting axe by vociferous public protest, and has since doubled its audience to 1.4 million. Sony Head of Corporate Affairs Adrian Northover-Smith endorsed the importance of the accolade going to a digital-only station: “The Sony Radio Academy Awards are the UK’s most prestigious awards for radio excellence and it is fitting at this time of accelerating digital growth that 6 Music has been recognised as the UK Station of the Year.”
Maytag has launched a comprehensive and user-friendly website reflecting the brand’s message ‘What’s Inside Matters’. The site is simple to navigate and encourages consumers to share via social media, with links to Facebook, Twitter and Google+. A new website at www.smeguk.com has gone live after 18 months of development from a customised platform. The investment by Smeg in creating new international websites for the brand is led by the launch from the UK subsidiary and will be followed by a further 21 sites globally over the coming months. KEF has announced a second 50-day consumer promotion as part of its ongoing 50th Anniversary celebrations. The offer concentrates on the award-winning KHT 2005.3 Home Cinema System and runs until 9th July 2012. Customers purchasing the system will receive a generous £200 discount, taking the price of the product down to £600. AEG is to celebrate “125 years of design and innovation” to commemorate its 125th birthday, which takes place this year. The company announced that it will be running a series of events and promotional giveaways to mark the occasion.
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Move over Tupperware… Philips has introduced parties similar to those thrown by brands such as Avon and Tupperware, but dedicated to ironing. The company has teamed up with party organisers Come Round to arrange the events and recruited 200 consumers throughout the UK to host official Philips PerfectCare ironing parties in their own home.
Electrolux celebrates artistic excellence at Cannes Electrolux brought culinary artistry to the Opening Gala at Film Festival de Cannes, with a dining collaboration between Michelin star chefs Bruno Oger and Rasmus Kofoed. Guests Tilda Swinton and Diane Kruger enjoyed what Electrolux described as “an imaginative menu” from the two chefs – one which mixed “Cannes art de vivre with Scandinavian ingenuity.”
Haier strengthens presence in the UK TV market Chinese manufacturer Haier says it is looking to fill a gap in the UK TV market with a range of new and innovative products. Presenting itself as “the small screen specialist”, the company announced its first “lifestyle solution” for UK households in the form of the T1000: an LED super-slim bezel TV with Full HD 1080p in 22”and 24” models and with HD Ready 720p in 26” models. Richard Popple, National Sales Manager for Haier UK, said: “In the coming months, we will be launching products that meet and exceed the expectations of customers here in the UK.” For retailers, Haier offers stock display plans to those who commit to featuring a range of products in their showrooms. The company also says its team of experts will support resellers by way of training, POS material and a virtual showroom on haier.com.
Kenwood calls for “hopeless” cooks Kenwood is launching a UK-wide competition to find the nation’s most hopeless cooks. The initiative aims to transform participants’ culinary skills before crowning the most improved cook ‘the Kenwood Chef of 2012’. The winner will take away prizes worth in excess of £4,000. The campaign is supported by a six figure marketing spend including PR and advertorials in selected women’s magazines and a dedicated online section for information and registration on the revamped Kenwood website. It is being spearheaded by Silent Witness actress and selfconfessed “disaster chef” Emilia Fox.
Sir Richard Branson urges more support for small businesses Sir Richard Branson has called on the Government to give more support to small businesses, arguing that SMEs are crucial to economic recovery. In remarks reported in The Observer, Sir Richard suggested a number of measures to help small businesses spearhead the recovery, and emphasised that banks should be encouraged to lend more. A National Insurance “holiday” for companies taking on new staff, reduction of business rates and a lightening of the regulations burden would all, Sir Richard
suggested, help to put the UK back into sustained growth. “To get that growth,” he said, “we need to get behind the small and medium-sized businesses that are the engines of any healthy economy. They need investment and finance, and that comes from the big banks. The politicians talk of encouraging lending; we need action to match that rhetoric.” Sir Richard has since posted a blog at www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog clarifying and enlarging upon his remarks.
JR Ad GC 102x145mm:Layout 1
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Roberts introduces Jubilee Edition Revivals Roberts Radio has launched three Jubilee Edition versions of its bestselling Revival DAB/FM radio, in high gloss red, white and blue. The products feature easy to use rotary controls and an energy-efficient 120 hours of battery life. RRP: £200
RDS station name display
Favourite station button
Stereo line in socket for iPod/MP3 playback
Philips celebrates Summer 2012 Philips’ new AE2012 DAB+ FM radio sports a Union Jack finish to attract those celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee and the summer of sport. The slim and lightweight unit features a classic desktop design and has a large backlit display for easy viewing in low light.
Quick scan functionality
Stereo headphone jack / Output power: 300 mW RMS
01293 773128 www.philips.co.uk
Imagine Acoustics introduces a “world first” The new SoundScene from Imagine Acoustics is the “world’s first” Apple AirPlay-enabled on-wall loudspeaker system. The ultra-slim unit hides behind a conventional picture frame or mirror and each is manufactured to the customer’s exact requirements. ¿
Drive units: BMR x 4 (side firing)
Frequency response: 50Hz - 20KHz
Amplifier: 4 x 12.5 watts RMS
01279 501111 www.imagineacoustics.co.uk
‘Fiery Red’ finish for Gorenje Retro fridge freezer Gorenje has added a new model to its Retro refrigeration range, finished in Fiery Red and boasting an A++ energy rating. The RB60299 has SuperCool fast chill and fast freeze options and comes with Gorenje’s free 5-year parts and labour guarantee.
0208 247 3980 www.gorenje.co.uk 14
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Net capacity: fridge 255 litres (auto defrost); freezer 26 litres
Large vegetable crisper / Bottle storage shelves / Deep door partitioned bottle storage
Noise level: 42 dB(A)
New Stoves Mini Ranges fly the flag Stoves has given its popular British-made Sterling mini range collection a regal twist, adding a red, white and blue Union Jack finish and monochrome version of the same to the collection. The 60cm freestanding products offer range cooker styling in standard dimensions. The model pictured features:
Choice of fuel options
59-litre main oven / Top oven with grill
Fully programmable timer / Fascia cooling system
0844 248 4149 www.stoves.co.uk
Pure Evoke Mio Union Jack digital radio 0845 1489001 www.pure.com
Sebo Felix Royale upright cleaner 01494 465 533 www.sebo.co.uk
Smeg Union Jack FAB 28 refrigerator
Audio Pro LV2e wireless loudspeaker system
0844 557 0070 www.smeguk.com
0843 2897195 www.sav-distibution.co.uk
Husky Union Jack fridge 01455 555397 www.husky-retail.com
Bold statement from Steel Cuisine 01926 338116 www.steelcuisine.co.uk
Geneva Model M iPod/ iPhone dock system 0843 2897195 www.sav-distibution.co.uk
JUBILEE ISSUE JUNE 2012 GET CONNECTED
Reflections on design Good design is a powerful attribute. It is responsible for defining, differentiating, and it is the lifeblood of brands and products, the most vital part of “the whole”. GC reports on the sovereignty of design and its dominance in the electricals industry
hether in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics or Small Appliances, design is an area of intense focus, both in aesthetics and technological performance; the result of which is continuous changes in trends: changes which keep the electrical industry alive by encouraging consumers to buy the next, bigger, better, best and most stylish products on the market. Extension of choice has been achieved by democratising access to good design. In building aspirational design into more affordable products as well as high-end appliances, manufacturers have significantly upped their
game, and design and innovative technology have trickled down to most price points. As Baumatic Marketing Manager Rita Balestrazzi points out, appliances are now considered “fashion” for the home, so the look of a product can make or break a sale or even inspire consumers to invest in multiple appliances. And technology for the home has now become a fashion statement in itself, she believes. “Technology motivates consumers to replace their appliances more regularly so that they can keep up with the latest trends. Even five years ago, appliances were, on average, only replaced every 15 years, when they reached the end of their lifespan. Now, with more affordable, trendinspired products available, consumers are opting to invest in new appliances every five or so years.” “This doesn’t mean that consumers want technology for technology’s sake,” says Les Wicks, Head of Product and Buying at Beko. “Rather, they are looking for features and functions that will genuinely make their lives easier.” And technology should not be the preserve of “high end, high price models,” he adds. However, Joan Fraser, Product Development and Training Manager at Smeg, suggests that consumers in the market for a premium brand product are probably more likely to choose appliances for their “show off ” potential than for their performance and specification credentials and tend to be much more likely to spend more on product that will make a strong stylestatement in the home. “Consumers are first drawn to the products which most strongly appeal to them visually; after this, features and technology compete for their available budget. Often, if two brands each INSPIRATION FROM ELECTROLUX: “A WELL CHOSEN SPOT OF COLOUR CAN REALLY REFRESH THE LOOK OF THE KITCHEN…”
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offer a product of similar specification and at a similar price, then the design aesthetics become the deciding factor.” Steve Dickson, Commercial Manager for Range Cooking at Stoves and Belling, is of the opinion that the purchasing decision is no longer purely made on design, price or size: “It’s a combination of these, along with the added benefits that better technology makes available,
Design and the future: “If we project far enough ahead, rooms in British homes will not be designated as they are today. Kitchens and living rooms will be multiuse; consumers will need to use space more effectively; products may often have more than one use, and the output of one process, like heat from the oven, will be saved as energy to fuel other appliances” Les Wicks, Head of Product and Buying, Beko PLC
THE WHIRLPOOL ART GALLERY HOOD COLLECTION, SHOWCASED AT THE 2012 EUROCUCINA EXHIBITION
whether this is induction appliances that offer faster, smarter, safer, greener technology, steam functions for healthier cooking, or just clever configurations which maximise space and make cooking easier – these are the needs that manufacturers have had to respond to.” Bill Miller, Sales and Marketing Director at Gorenje, offers a different outlook. His belief is that it is increased competition for sales that has made manufacturers focus their attention on design – both in terms of appearance, and, technology. It is a refreshingly frank view, and one which supports his theory that today’s consumers will not settle for “second best.” And why should they, when, as he rightly points out: “Products which feature exquisite design of a very high quality are becoming available further down the marketplace, making luxury appliances far more accessible to consumers at different price points.”
Colour and design In Major Appliances, while white, black and stainless steel have retained their established style status, there has also been an upsurge in dramatic colour choices and the innovative
AMICA PLATINUM COLLECTION Built-in ovens from Amica offer retailers a chance to sell a range of cooking products at prices that won’t be undercut by online retailers. The Platinum range includes hobs and ovens and provides style, price, functionality and margin. Features include: Aqualytic cleaning with water Preset, easy to use, icon-led programmes and recipes Steam function Retractable controls Telescopic racks
A 2-year parts and labour guarantee is standard. Amica also gives its retailers the chance to service Amica products themselves. The company offers above-average callout fees, and at the same time this ensures the retailer retains a personal relationship with the end customer. www-amica-international.co.uk
JUBILEE ISSUE JUNE 2012 GET CONNECTED
Design and the future: “The design and look of an appliance can only go so far in attracting the consumer. Functionality, practicality and running costs will remain big considerations” Steve Macdonald, Marketing Director, Hoover Candy
“Product innovation in the multifunction arena is continuing to shape the market,” he says. “And alongside the ongoing success of the glossy, black and stainless steel minimalist products out there, clever use of colour is also becoming more popular in the built-in sector.”
Little eye-catchers ELECTROLUX’S NEW RANGE OF COMPACT COOKING APPLIANCES
use of materials. Vibrant colour, according to Baumatic’s Balestrazzi, is “bang on trend this season.” But she highlights the fact that, for some, colour can be difficult to incorporate into the kitchen, “especially since many of these appliances tend to be retro in style.” In making coloured appliances more accessible for consumers, Baumatic embarked upon the marrying of glass and stainless steel to set colour hues in a more contemporary, minimalist design which Balestrazzi says will complement “even the most neutrally decorated and modern kitchens.” Stoves and Belling’s Steve Dickson is keen to note his brands’ Colour Boutique concept, which was brought to market last year and offers a choice of 12 colours across all size and fuel variants of the Stoves Richmond and Belling Classic range cookers. In his opinion, “colour continues to be one of the most simple but effective ways to achieve standout, and range cookers remain the product consumers aspire to. Put the two together and you have the ultimate designer appliance.” Richard Treffler, extraction category manager at Miele also remarks on colour as a means of fulfilling consumers’ desire for making a design statement within the kitchen: “Design has become
Design and the future: “Manufacturers are aware that the market is harder and more competitive than in previous years, and they really need to impress consumers if they are to invest. For this reason, we are introducing appliances that are more eye-catching and showstopping than ever before” Bill Miller, Sales and Marketing Director, Gorenje
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“SEDUCTION” COMES IN THE FORM OF THE BAUMATIC SINS COOLING COLLECTION
one of the top priorities when a consumer is choosing their new cooker hood so, for 2012, Miele added to its range with the introduction of a bespoke RAL colourway system. This provides more than 200 different colour choices, to create an incredible and eye-catching centrepiece.” “The appliance industry is very fashion-led and today it is very much about colour, finish and the focal point of the kitchen,” says Dean McKelvie, Product Marketing Manager at Maytag and for Freestanding at Whirlpool. He comments that refrigeration products in particular come in numerous colours, materials and finishes, with high gloss and the combination of metals and glass now available in many design formats. Built-in cooking, too, has succumbed to the desire for the bright and the bold. According to Jon Brennan, Commercial Manager for Built-in at GDHA, “this is an exciting category of the market at the moment because of the breadth of design choice it offers consumers, across a full spectrum of price-points with aspirational design no longer restricted to high-end appliances.
For those who dare not be so bold as to make a dramatic statement in the kitchen with a coloured major domestic appliance, Mark Swift, Director of Marketing at Kenwood, says the display of small appliances is the way to add an element of style and colour to the room that is, for many, the true heart of the home. “Style and colour is a huge trend in the SDA market,” he remarks, highlighting the brand’s “style-led” kMix range, which was extended in 2011 with the addition of the Boutique collection, a breakfast range comprising toaster, kettle and coffee maker in five vibrant shades: magenta, blue, orange, green and yellow. Speaking about the company’s dedication to design, Swift also notes the 2010 launch of a “groundbreaking” piece of SDA equipment – the Kenwood Cooking Chef – a kitchen machine that he says is “a reflection of the brand’s commitment to innovation in food preparation.” The appliance incorporates an induction cooking system and went through 100,000 man hours in development and 60,000 hours of testing before it arrived in stores two years ago.
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ZANUSSI FINDS AN EASIER ANGLE Pared-down geometry meets simplified controls The new Zanussi QUADRO® range offers a simple geometric look with easy to use controls that look good and work beautifully. The range maintains the same vertical alignment, clean lines and rigorous form that Zanussi established with its award-winning QUADRO® products in 1999. Over the years, QUADRO® has become a reference in Kitchen design trends, achieving international recognition with a Good Design Award in 2000 and again in 2004. In 2004, the Compasso D’Oro was also awarded. For further information: 08445 610561 www.zanussi.co.uk
Clarity and consistency With 42% of people saying that it is important for their home to look good for visiting guests, and 30% revealing that they “regularly” entertain friends at home (Source: Housewares Retailing Report), it’s not surprising that consumers have become more demanding of design and manufacturers have focused on the clarity of such and given attention to overall lines of consistency. This can be seen in the recent launch of the Zanussi QUADRO® collection, which offers a simple, geometric look. Roberto Barbieri, Senior Industrial Design Manager, who heads the Zanussi design team in Porcia, Italy, says: “The challenge for the design team was to creatively translate the brand values and Zanussi personality into a visually consistent and coordinated range of products.
“What I hope we have achieved is a calibrated mix between easy to use, reliable products and the original and modern Zanussi brand personality. It should be a practical and expressive design, adaptable to the consumer’s lifestyle, and which becomes, not a tool, but a partner in their daily life.” De Dietrich this year launched a new Premium Collection, which again demonstrates clarity and consistency of design, with vertical and structured lines coupled with sophisticated clear and coloured glass, chrome and stainless steel, giving the visual impression of full-blown luxury. The collection is aimed at kitchen studios and independents and comes in a choice of Black Pearl, White Pearl and a new, “trendsetting” Grey Pearl. De Dietrich Sales and Marketing Director Richard Walker is of the opinion that, “while black,
…colour is being used, not only as a design statement, but as a celebration of design” MIELE’S RAL EXTRACTOR RANGE OFFERS MORE THAN 200 COLOURS
Design and the future: “Technology is developing quicker than ever and appliances of the future are already upon us. In Q4 this year, Whirlpool will unveil the GREENKITCHEN™ 2.0, the first authentic and up-tothe-minute kitchen system that links outstanding performance, high product and resource-saving efficiency and interconnectivity” Dean McKelvie, Product Marketing Manager, Freestanding, Whirlpool
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Design and the future: “Appliances might offer new functionality and design, but they will only be bought by the average consumer if they promise to be user-friendly and cost effective to run” Rita Balestrazzi, Marketing Manager, Baumatic
white and stainless steel still retain their obvious style status, the introduction of Grey Pearl appliances makes a viable alternative to current high-end colour standards, and one that we believe will enter the mainstream in the future.” Likewise, from Electrolux comes a visually consistent and co-ordinated collection of products in the form of the new Inspiration compact range. Appliances are small enough to fit into a 38cm niche, yet offer the same high performance features of full size models. The glory of compact appliances is flexibility of installation. They can be positioned in line, in a column or square and teamed with standard-sized ovens, too. In recognition of the kitchen having become the ‘hub of the home’, the brand has added a 19-inch built-in LCD TV to the collection, offering consumers the full monty in the way of an aspirational, streamlined focal point and kitchen retailers an add-on sale that complements the compact ovens, combi microwave and builtin coffee machine in the range. Baumatic’s Balestrazzi also comments on the draw of compact appliances as a potential design statement, but says that retailers do need to display such products in built-in banks to encourage multiple purchases.
MONITOR AUDIO’S ULTRATHIN SHADOW RANGE OF SPEAKERS
Consumers won’t and shouldn’t have to compromise style over substance, or vice versa” “It is definitely true that the first visual impression can sell a product and encourage trade-up too,” agrees Whirlpool’s McKelvie. “Ensure that appliances are sited in the very best displays so your target audience can relate to the design. “Creating the right visual impact with beautiful, colourful and well designed displays, combined with demonstration to highlight the features of products, is always to your advantage, and a great asset which will ‘wow’ and impress your customers.” And as good retailers are aware: demonstration and education go hand in hand. Speaking about the E-learning module for Hotpoint’s Aqualtis laundry range, Darren Peake, Senior Category Manager for Laundry and Dishwashers, adds: “Retailer training can help bring the magic in the machine to life.”
Design in CE
OFF THE WALL’S ‘MOTION’ TV STAND
In Consumer Electronics, the design “inside the box” is paramount as “Smart” TV, 3D TV, sound systems and connectivity becomes the focus across ranges of devices that are bringing the PC and home entertainment together. Looks, too, are of massive importance, and the choice of blade-thin TV panels, mounts, stands, furniture
A CELEBRATION OF TIME AND DESIGN…
and accessories gives consumers the opportunity to say something about themselves through the style of their homes. The colour television market may be experiencing one of the most challenging periods in its 45-year existence, but, for most manufacturers, investment in bigger, better, thinner, technology- and design-led products continues, as can be seen in the recent introduction of Samsung’s voice, motion and face recognition control LED TVs – technology which represents a “world first” for the category – and in LG’s newly designed, 1mm bezel Cinema 3D and Smart TVs. JUBILEE ISSUE JUNE 2012 GET CONNECTED
Technology motivates consumers to buy the latest and greatest piece of kit” The mobile and IT markets are now on the rise again, as technology motivates consumers to buy the latest and greatest piece of kit, and the power of the “i” continues to set market trends. And while it is true that, as in other areas of electricals, good design can be accessed by
the CE mass market too, Neil Truckell of IOS Company, a consultant to audio company Elipson and TV stand manufacturer Off The Wall reckons that, “to retain the premium value of design, the best products are targeted to the mid or higher market where the quality of materials, fit and finish is equally important. Consumers looking to present their new, slim-line TV in the best setting are now buying furniture that integrates with the TV and Soundbar for minimalist effect and space-saving benefits. Pole and glass,” he believes, “is finally demoted to the budget sector only.” Truckell also comments on the form of CE products and highlights in particular audio systems from French brand Elipson – speakers
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and wireless streaming electronics that come in spherical shapes to create “the ultimate in lifestyle design with high quality materials and performance to match. “Not all audio systems and speakers have to be square or rectangular,” he adds. Audio – especially radio – and accessories are categories where colour is being used not only as a design statement, but as a celebration of design. Look no further than the Pure Evoke Mio “Union Jack” radio to see the hallmark of a great British institution, the Royal family, and the nation’s enthusiasm for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The design also marks an era for Pure itself, as it celebrates the brand’s 10th birthday this year. 2012 MEMORABILIA FROM THE PHILIPS BRAND
Personal style For consumers investing in stylish audio, equally stylish headphones are a must. And the global headphone market is “booming”, according to Dominic Feeney, Consumer Product Manager, Sennheiser UK, as products are increasingly becoming an extension of the consumer’s wardrobe – “another fashion accessory that enables them to express their personality and sometimes even their social status,” he says. “In fact, many people have several pairs of headphones in different colours and designs just to match their outfits on any given day.” What is clear from Sennheiser’s sales is that customers are still willing to pay a higher premium for the best sound quality, but this must be matched by good design. “Consumers won’t and shouldn’t have to compromise style over substance, or vice versa,” says Feeney. “At Sennheiser we aim to deliver outstanding products for a more mainstream audience, including entry level and mid range fashion-forward products. But, if it’s top quality cans your customer is looking for, they’ll need to expect to dig slightly deeper into their pockets – in the same way they’d expect to pay more for a top-of-the-range sports car or a luxury holiday. It is, however, an investment they won’t regret.”
GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED
George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics.
TALK TO YOUR TV? A new generation of TVs are offering new ways of interacting with them. Three main systems are making the running – speech recognition, gesture recognition and motion sensing (this uses a mouse-like device). Samsung is betting on all three with its Smart Interaction technology, allowing viewers, for example, to adjust the TV volume through speech. Paul Gray (see right) says none of the technologies is yet perfect and all face challenges. For example, it’s relatively simple to develop a speech recognition system for TV viewers in North America, as there are only three main languages, but try doing the same for Europe. As for gesture recognition, Gray asks, “Would you feel comfortable waving your arms in front of the TV?” Motion sensing technology is familiar, but awkward for text entry.
GRANDFATHER OF THE
COUCH POTATO It’s ironic that, just as set manufacturers look for new ways of controlling the TV, Eugene Polley, the man who invented the remote control handset back in 1955, has died. Polley’s Flash-matic used a light beam and photo-cells on the front of the TV to change channels, switch the picture on or off, and adjust the volume. And while it would be many years before remote control handsets became standard TV devices, there’s no doubt that Polley was the grandfather of the couch potato.
ADAPT AND DIE? B usinesses are often told that they must adapt or die: adapt to new technologies or new forms of consumer behaviour, the mantra goes, or you will be replaced by someone else. But can you adapt and actually make things worse for your business? The recent move by high street bookseller Waterstones
to use them – so Waterstones’ staff effectively become Kindle sales staff. There’s also free Wi-Fi provided in-store, so customers can browse the Kindle website, and as the website only provides a few sample pages from each book, customers will be able to take a physical copy from a Waterstones shelf, have a good read and then, if they decide to buy,
So is Waterstones’ decision to adopt the Kindle smart or stupid?” to sell Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader caused many eyebrows to be raised, not least because James Daunt, Waterstones’ managing director, once described Amazon as a “ruthless, money-making devil.” Also, many thought Waterstones might join forces with Barnes & Noble, who with Microsoft are developing their own e-book reader, Nook. WH Smith has its own e-book reader, Kobo. So is Waterstones’ decision to adopt the Kindle smart or stupid? I’m inclined to think it’s the latter. Let’s see who gains from this partnership. Amazon gets its Kindles into hundreds of stores, and Waterstones also promises to give customers tutorials on how
purchase it from Amazon. Waterstones gets a cut from any purchase, but unless this is at least 50% (highly unlikely), it strikes me that Waterstones has got a rough deal. So should Waterstones bury its head in the sand and ignore the rise of the e-book? At present fewer than one in ten book sales are e-books and Daunt thinks this could rise to one in four by 2014, so it makes sense for traditional booksellers to look to the future. It also makes sense to capitalize on their strengths – such as the ability to browse and discover new books. But by joining forces with Amazon, and effectively becoming a cheerleader for the Kindle, Waterstones risks being eaten by its online rival.
SMART TVs – WHAT NEXT? Paul Gray, director of TV Electronics Europe and Europe TV Research, says that smart TVs or connected TVs have moved from “brave experimentation towards maturity,” with smart TVs representing 25% of the TV market in all regions. In Europe, the figure is 40%. “Connected TV is evolving,” adds Gray, and he points out that three main platforms have emerged. First, there’s the consumer-controlled system, which provides open access to the internet. Second is set-maker controlled-access, the TV portal used by companies such as Samsung, Toshiba and Panasonic. Third, there is the broadcaster-controlled service, such as Hulu. I asked Gray about the proliferation of set-maker smart TV platforms and he said that there was likely to be some consolidation in this sector. It’ll be interesting to see whether set manufacturers can resolve this issue or if the smart TV market remains fragmented. JUBILEE ISSUE JUNE 2012 GET CONNECTED
Cleanliness is next to godliness: GC looks at opportunities in the floorcare market as consumers move towards daily and instant cleaning in the home
igures for the floorcare market in the UK vary depending upon the source but there would appear to be an overall consensus that value has outdone volume (see further information from industry analyst GfK on page 31 of this issue), and in doing so, it has thrown up particular trends and shifts in consumer needs and behaviour. Evidence certainly exists that the sector has been affected by the lengthy economic depression, as households drew in their horns, the housing market stumbled, construction slowed and the carpet market – which is known to have some correlation with the floorcare sector – took a dramatic downturn. But it is this tight economic climate in itself that has contributed widely to consumers having become more demanding of their purchases, resulting in a new-found willingness to invest in products that promise both performance and longevity. Hence, value in the market is standing up.
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That which lifteth all… …Grit to fibres, dirt to dust “What is unusual about the dynamics of the floorcare sector is the volume decline in the value-for-money category and, significantly, the trend of more premium-end vacuum cleaners being sold,” remarks Charles Gordon, who runs website whatvacuum.com. “With margins
tight across all electrical appliances, this is certainly an opportunity for retailers, especially independents.” Miele Floorcare Marketing Manager Victoria Blasdale comments that the total vacuum cleaner market has increased year-on-year, and this is reflected both in cylinders and uprights, although cylinders have outperformed uprights both in volume and value. “Uprights used to be the most popular type of vacuum cleaner in Britain,” she advises. “However, for a number of years, cylinders have grown much faster than uprights. It would appear that the British market is shifting closer towards that of all other European countries, where cylinders are the cleaner of choice.” Blasdale believes that the rise in popularity of cylinders is partly due to product improvements such as turbo-brushes and electro-brushes and THE ELECTROLUX AIREXCEL PET WILL TRAP EVEN THE SMALLEST PARTICLES….
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partly to consumers becoming more familiar with the benefits of such products – cylinders tend to offer more efficient suction and better airflow and are more portable and easier to manoeuvre. And as Samsung’s Nick Osborne, Product Manager for Floorcare, points out, “versatility and ease of use are key in this market, especially when so many homes feature a variety of surfaces. Consumers, therefore, look for more add-ons such as turbo-brushes, extra-length hoses or other attachments, so they have more control, can better adapt to different surfaces, clean more efficiently and extend the use of their vacuum cleaner. It’s all about making the job easier for them,” he adds. It can also be about an additional sale for floorcare retailers, too, as many brands, although not all, offer such accessories as options. At this point Dyson is keen to highlight the development of the DC39 Multifloor with Musclehead™ floor tool. David Hollander, Managing Director for Great Britain & Ireland,
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explains how the unit self-adjusts across all floor types: “Using air pressure, a surface recognition switch automatically retracts the brushes when it senses carpet pile, and lowers them for hard floors. This technology makes using a Dyson as intuitive, versatile and functional as possible in modern, multi-floor homes.”
That’s neat… As consumer lifestyles have evolved and demographics shifted, a growing trend towards smaller, lightweight cleaners has emerged. Miele’s Blasdale believes this is being driven by additional purchases of second and third vacuums for the home. She adds that “the rise in smaller families and smaller living spaces is also contributing to the move, plus the older generation finds compact cleaners more manageable.”
cleaning – i.e. “spontaneous” cleaning where and when needed. “This is why we are seeing a rise in the popularity of stick vacuums and 2-in-1 models,” she comments. Her point is shared by a number of brands. One of which, Samsung, specifically developed the FlexSlim hand stick appliance in response to this demand. The FlexSlim is an upright cleaner with a detachable handheld vacuum. Product Manager Nick Osborne says the product is “lightweight, manoeuvrable and easy to store. Products which allow consumers to enjoy the benefits of an upright and handheld in one device offer flexibility and ease of use for various different cleaning chores, whether it’s the stairs, living room or the car.” Dyson’s David Hollander also notes the above trend: “We’re seeing Dyson Digital Slim and
Money is tight, so people are carefully choosing a new vacuum cleaner which has both high performance and longevity” Electrolux also notes the trend towards compact appliances. Trade Marketing Manager for Floorcare, Susan Morris, says consumers are now looking for models that will perform to the high standard of a regular-sized vacuum cleaner, whilst being easy and convenient to store. She brings the AirExcel Lite™, Electrolux’s most compact and “extremely lightweight” upright, to our attention, commenting that “it is packed with the latest innovation in multi-cyclonic technology that separates dirt and dust from the air path, so filters don’t get clogged. “Uprights are good for large expanses of carpet as they have a greater cleaning area on the head,” Morris explains. “Many models can now clean right up to the skirting board and are designed to be more manoeuvrable for awkward-shaped rooms. They also have clever accessories for cleaning stairs. On the other hand, cylinders are ideal for cleaning a wider variety of surfaces – a mix of carpets, rugs and hard floors – and are more likely to have better filtration efficiency compared with uprights.” Still on the subject of consumer trends, Morris points out that cleaning behaviour is going from weekly deep-cleaning to instant and daily 28
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handhelds being bought as complementary machines for quick tidy-ups that don’t require a full size appliance. And Dyson owners are becoming more aware of tools and accessories, such as the Groom Tool and the Dyson Car Cleaning Kit,” he remarks. Whatvacuum’s Charles Gordon adds that volume growth in the market is coming from sales of stick handheld cleaners selling close to £200. And if this is the case, it would be fair to say that we are looking at a sector which offers significant value. It is also one which is becoming increasingly competitive. Electrolux’s Morris says that the key to differentiating a brand in a competitive market is innovation. “That’s why AEG has introduced the new AEG Ergorapido® 2-in-1 with BRUSHROLLCLEAN™,” she asserts. “Its unique technology addresses a problem that no other vacuum manufacturer has been able to solve.” This new function uses a cutting blade to remove fibres and entwined hair from the brush-roll at the touch of a button before sucking the offensive debris into the dust cup, thereby doing away with the time-consuming and annoying task of cleaning the brush-roll by hand, and, preventing clogging.
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SAMSUNG NAVIBOT S ROBOTIC CLEANER: FLOORCARE OF THE FUTURE?
No sweat! Morris’s earlier comment that consumers are moving from weekly deep-cleaning to instant and daily cleaning prompts Samsung’s Osborne to speak on the subject of robotic cleaners, which he rightly points out offer convenience and time-saving benefits, keeping dust levels low with minimal manual effort. Samsung’s NaviBot S, as well as offering extra features such as autoemptying, he says, “can be scheduled to perform a daily clean,” so the consumer doesn’t even need to be at home when cleaning takes place. What a bonus: arriving home from work each day to spic-and-span floors and, as Osborne comments, a home that is “a cleaner and healthier place for the whole family.” The scheduling of daily cleaning will, of course, keep dust and allergens at constantly low levels. Samsung anticipates that the robotic category will be a key growth area within floorcare as the range of features and functionality of products expands. But not all commentators are convinced that this is the case. Whatvacuum’s Gordon believes that such appliances are great for flat/apartment dwellers, “but not so good for heavy-duty cleaning.” His opinion is that, “as the robot is a secondary cleaner, the sector looks unlikely to really take off until consumer confidence improves.”
Allergy busters That allergies are becoming increasingly more common, with 15 million people (1 in 4) affected at some time in their lives and the number growing by 5% a year, and 5.4 million people in the UK currently receiving treatment for asthma, continues to boost the market for products aimed chiefly at pet owners or consumers that suffer from such conditions. Asthma and allergic reactions can both be triggered by dust mites that live in carpets as well as mattresses and soft furnishings, and by household pets. Amongst its detailed advice for sufferers, Asthma UK advises that they should vacuum all areas frequently and “use a vacuum cleaner with
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FLOORCARE THE DYSON DIGITAL SLIM™ : “TWICE THE SUCTION POWER OF ANY OTHER LIGHTWEIGHT CORDLESS VACUUM IN USE…”
Products which allow consumers to enjoy the benefits of an upright and handheld in one device are proving popular” good suction and filtered exhaust that does not scatter dust.” The British Allergy Foundation has accredited a number of appliances from floorcare manufacturers such as Dyson, Sebo, Samsung and LG, and provides a ‘seal of approval’ logo which is instantly recognisable and gives a clear indication that the product has received the endorsement for reduction/ removal in the allergens shown or significantly reduces allergen content. Electrolux’s Morris says “filtration is of key importance if a member of the household suffers from asthma or allergies. And if a household has pets, certain filters such as the Arm & Hammer on the new Electrolux AirExcel Pet will trap even the smallest particles and absorb smells. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters, which offer the best filtration you can get on a domestic vacuum cleaner, are much more common than they were a few years ago, and are either fitted as standard or come as an optional extra.” HEPA filters generally trap 99.7% of particles, down to 0.3 microns (e.g. dust mite faeces and tobacco smoke), and as Morris adds: “These filters allow the cleaner to achieve a filtration
efficiency which conforms to stringent hospital and clinical standards.”
EC intervention… In addition to vacuum cleaners offering superior filtration, those offering high performance combined with energy efficiency will also provide opportunities for retailers. Although industry organisation AMDEA points out that vacuum cleaners represent a very small proportion of energy usage in the home, with energy labelling for the category on the horizon, “there is likely to be an emphasis on innovations that meet this challenge.” The European Commission is committed to introduce new regulations for vacuum cleaners from January 2013. However, despite the fact that there are long-established industry standards, there is still no consensus on how to measure energy use to feature on the label. And,
according to AMDEA, other related labelling features still under discussion include cleanliness, dust emissions, suction and noise, “not to mention how to distinguish between carpet versus hard-floor performance.” Douglas Herbison, chief executive of the organisation says: “Despite these challenges, the introduction of the new labelling seems inevitable. As the public becomes increasingly aware of the energy consumption values for a wide variety of appliances, people will come to expect detailed energy labelling for vacuum cleaners.” Panasonic is one manufacturer who has been ahead of the game for some time in promoting its eco credentials in floorcare. The company’s Eco-Max range is said to offer “class-leading energy-efficient performance” due to the incorporation of the “unique” Eco-Max Light Two
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Motor System, which produces “optimum” levels of cleaning with 200 Air Watts generated from 1000W input power. Miele has also paid attention to energy conservation and is keen to note a function of the S8 UniQ cylinder cleaner which, when parked, turns the motor off automatically, thereby doing away with standby consumption. The machine automatically switches itself back on when vacuuming resumes.
The future is in your hands Floorcare manufacturers are constantly looking at ways in which they can push the boundaries to develop innovative features that offer consumers convenience and performance, but the key to sales success, says Samsung’s Osborne, is for retailers to communicate the overall value in their customers’ investment – “the time-saving benefits and simplicity offered by today’s products, and how consumers can often also benefit from additional features if they pay a little extra. Add-on accessories which provide additional versatility and convenience are an easy way in which to increase profits too,” he adds. Osborne concludes his comments by offering retailers the reassurance that “there is still value and margin in this sector.”
GROWTH FROM KNOWLEDGE
Growth from Knowledge
Premium sectors help maintain floor care value
The floorcare market is having its ups and downs, varying from category to category, but overall value has risen due to sales of premium products and of those that reside in the not so mainstream sectors, according to GfK’s Richard Allen, Account Executive, MDA
he past year has been a testing time for the vacuum cleaners market, as the tough economic climate caused consumers to cut back on spending. This resulted in volume sales declining by more than 5% for the year ended March 2012. The value performance was better, as a 1% increase brought the total market up to over £530 million.
Over 90% of all upright cleaners are now bagless” This was facilitated by price inflation and a shift towards more premium appliances, as the average selling price across the floorcare category rose 7% to just under £100. The vacuum cleaner value market continues to be dominated by upright and cylinder appliances, which accounted for almost £250 million and £215 million respectively throughout the year. Bagless technology has driven growth within these segments, having become popular amongst consumers due to the ease with which canisters can be emptied and, of course, reused. Over 90% of all upright cleaners are now bagless, whilst almost two-thirds of cylinders sold this year also fall into the bagless category. That said, the greater part of this value growth came from the smaller, high-end cleaning segments. The wet and dry category improved by £5 million throughout the year and is now worth 7% of the total floorcare sector, while sales of handsticks increased by over 300% as value rose to £9 million. With a challenging year ahead, the sales of these premium appliances could hold the key to sustaining value growth.
Further points Bagged appliances have fallen in value over the year. Bagged uprights have declined 19% while bagged cylinders have dropped 5% Following two years in ascendancy, handhelds have seen value fall by 10% year on year The robot sector continues to take off as value has grown 20% over the year
TYPE OF FLOOR CARE APPLIANCE VALUE SHARE AND % GROWTH APR ‘10 MAR ‘12 % Growth
Richard Allen, Account Executive, MDA Tel: 0870 603 8124 email@example.com www.gfkrt.com/uk
JUBILEE ISSUE JUNE 2012 GET CONNECTED
FROM THE BENCH
TV servicing transport, old and new SERVICEMAN TRANSPORT IN NORTH LONDON
Vehicles are a necessary overhead in our trade: Alan Bennett reminisces
arious modes of transport have been used in the TV repair industry over the decades – donkeys’ years ago my friend John used to do his servicing round on a motor scooter! Lots of water has gone under the bridge since then...
Van on fire In the early days of colour TV I was the sole TV repairman for the local Co-op. I drove a small blue van signwritten Rent a Defiant Television, Defiant (as opposed to co-operative) being the own-brand name of their sets in those days. It may have been a Ford Thames, and believe it or not it used to catch fire on almost a daily basis. I don’t know why this was and certainly the mechanic who was supposed to service it didn’t: he understood better the Co-op electric milk floats which were his main charge (charge!). It had no radio so I found and fitted one myself, complete with copper rod aerial, only to have it stolen after I parked the van at Ingate Place, Battersea, London while attending a brilliant Decca colour TV servicing course. I guess I was lucky it still had four wheels on at the end of the day. Soon I was off to Rediffusion, a nowdefunct outfit which piped broadcast TV around this town by cable, and there were six uniform red repair vans, all dispatched to different areas at 8.30 each morning. What service manager Sooty (?) didn’t know was that for the first hour of the day all of them were parked in a row outside the Dug Out Cafe in a back street near here.
Assortment My next employer, a medium-sized independent, ran through a wide variety of vehicles, initially all British vans: Morris Minors, Leyland minivans (really too small for the job,
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but easier on the hard-pressed budget), Ford Escorts and others. One snowy morning two of them collided head-on in a local country lane, interesting because they were both on the same insurance policy. Soon after I started there - a somewhat reckless youth - I had a near miss in the same byway; skidding to a halt up against a farm gate with my heart pounding I became aware of a loud hissing in the back of the van. Convinced that it came from one or more broken TV picture tubes – which would mean instant dismissal – I crept round the back and opened the door only to find that the sound came from a suddenlycompressed service-aid aerosol can: freezer, switch-cleaner or whatever. Relief! At that time the shop sales manager had an estate car. One day when my van was in for service I had to borrow it, initially running empty to pick up a TV set for repair. It was a big telly and I got the customer to help carry it out to the car – you couldn’t do that now. Can you imagine my embarrassment on opening the boot, to be confronted with masses of the most explicit pornographic magazines? I got somebody else to take that set back after it was mended.
Posh estate wagon These were the 1970s, the years of ‘workerpower’. We weren’t militant but we did win the concession of having estate cars, with a minimum of signwriting, for our own use as well as for work. With our young family mine went all over England and Wales on holiday, but I do remember being harassed by neighbours and strangers: did I have a 1A fuse?
Could I look at a HMV Colourmaster TV? On one occasion I was weary after driving almost 300 miles to outer Wales. As I pulled up at the bed-and-breakfast somebody tapped on the window: “What causes a white line on a Bush TV?” Of those big estate cars the worst were Morris Marina and Hillman Hunter types. One of the latter broke a crankshaft on the bypass as we headed off for a weekend break, and that was the end of both the car and the little holiday. After that we started to use Japanese vehicles, and as with the TVs we dealt in, their reliability, value and build quality was streets ahead of the British equivalents of the day. Nissan was good, Toyota was better, and to this day I drive a beautiful Toyota Avensis estate car, no longer signwritten, and now used to carry grandchildren, their bikes and other accessories as much as for TVs and the like. How different is this to the blue Defiant (in every sense!) van in which I started my field service career all those years ago, with its DIY radio and quarterlight ventilation... These days many independents, especially those who sell, rent and repair washing machines etc. and perhaps use the same vehicle for delivery of new stuff, have to resort to the use of big vans: down here they also serve – with a spotlight and roof-rack fixed on – in our aerial and dish erection/servicing business, currently very busy in the throes of digital switchover. Here again Toyota is the top of the pops for us. Do any readers have any vehicle reminiscences or recommendations? If so please contact us at the e-mail address above.
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She’s been head of the family firm for 60 years, but has no plans to retire yet and worries about lining up someone ready to take over. She likes the occasional drink and has a wicked sense of humour, but takes the job extremely seriously Why did you choose to work in the family business? It chose me, really. Uncle Edward didn’t want the job, Daddy took over and I inherited it from him
How would you describe yourself? GSOH, likes walking, riding, travel, cosy evenings by the fire. WLTM sensitive, diplomatic... (Sorry! Just drifted off for a moment there!)
Do you have any hidden talents? I’m a very good impressionist. I can do every Prime Minister from Mr Churchill to Mr Cameron Who would you put into Room 101? My husband makes me embarrassed enough to wish him there sometimes... but I love him dearly What’s your greatest achievement? Oh, come on – it’s been 60 years!
Favourite quote? Who in your line of My predecessors all seem actually to be “Uneasy lies the head that work would you like wears a crown.” I believe it’s to spend time with? historic figures, but great-great granny was Shakespeare There aren’t so many the only other person ever to clock up 60 years in of us around as there Name your poison this job, so I identify especially with her” used to be, and once I am partial to a gin and a year or so for a Dubonnet in the evening. How do you think others see you? group photograph is enough for me Mummy used to take seven parts gin to With all the bowing, curtseying and kneeling, three of Dubonnet, with a twist, but I haven’t What makes you laugh? mostly from a low angle (LOL!) inherited her head for alcohol and prefer one That speech they give one to read every year in Parliament. After 60 years, one knows that, whatever it says, it’s not going to happen
What was the greatest turning point in your life? 1952 was a big year for me; and again, on June 2 1953, when Geoffrey placed that special hat on my head and I promised to stick at it for the rest of my life, I knew there was no turning back
part gin to three of Dubonnet
Any bad habits? I’m told I’m obsessed with how far one’s visitors have travelled to see one
What do you daydream about? Popping out for a takeaway
What’s your favourite TV programme? The Royle Family What surprises you? The youth of today
What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told? I do try to stick to the truth, but I have to admit I sometimes say “How interesting...” when I don’t really mean it
Favourite cuisine? Plain English cooking. A nice Dover Sole, or perhaps salmon or venison fresh from the garden
What’s your greatest regret? Putting money on Mummy’s racing tips
You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice, what character would you like to play? If there is ever a film of Dame Helen Mirren’s life story…
What historic figure do you identify with most? My predecessors all seem actually to be historic figures, but great-great granny was the only other person ever to clock up 60 years in this job, so I identify especially with her 34
Pet hate? No. One loves all the corgis
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You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day: what would you do first? Decline the offer
Favourite holiday destination? Balmoral What’s the best kind of punishment…. Having to keep asking for one’s job back …and who deserves it? Politicians Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Right here What’s your greatest fear? Having to hand over the firm to a successor before one’s sure he’s really ready for it What’s your favourite piece of kit? My handbag What motto do you live by? Dieu et Mon Droit Tomorrow I will……. Go to work as usual.
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Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry