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Retail champions of 2011

See pages 28,29 for the full report

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Editorial comment

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The Word

In and around the industry

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George Cole Gets Connected

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The Product Gallery

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Spotlight on LG

Inauguration of a new production line in Poland puts the focus on LG’s plans for the UK white goods market


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Kitchen Studio

Function is fine, but beauty makes it better. The major appliances that win consumers with their looks as well as their high functionality


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Doing the Business

Retailers talk about their profitable relationship with British TV manufacturer Linsar P17 STEEL ASCOT RANGE COOKER COLLECTION


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Growth from Knowledge

GfK looks at the ups and downs of the UK digital cameras market


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

Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33  Editorial & Publishing Director: Terry Heath Telephone: 01420 886 33  Magazine Advertising Sales: Telephone: 01420 886 33 

From the Bench

Alan Bennett with advice on what to do when things get wet

34 Copyright © 2011 Mud Hut Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Industry comment and a 2-minute interview from Panasonic’s Subodha Bhatt

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


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Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief



an unfortunate fact that, when it comes to banks lending development and trading funds to the enterprises that, ultimately, earn those banks their living, size does matter.


Big companies are getting a larger proportion of the available funding, while small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are still, according to the reports we’re receiving at GC and the figures available on the “Project Merlin” lending agreement struck between the big four banks and the Government, being starved of cash. The banks say it’s because there’s “no demand.” The small businesses say the lending conditions offered are prohibitively harsh. Who to believe? The banks that appear to be able to do their own thing, in spite of Government bluster, with impunity? Or the small businesses whose cash flow is being squeezed by late payments at record levels, often, we are being told, because of big companies putting off payments far beyond the 30 days terms that apply as standard? That old adage still seems to hold good: “If you owe the bank 50 grand, you’re in trouble. If you owe the bank 50 million, the bank’s in trouble.” A large proportion of Get Connected readers run, or work for, SMEs, which are still the backbone of the retail sector in this country. Yet they’re getting a raw deal at exactly the time when the whole country would benefit from their receiving some more consistent support. Retail is the sector that is being looked to to spearhead growth in the economy, and small businesses make up the majority of that sector.

Directing more support towards smaller businesses and entrepreneurs is not a sentimental, “help the little guy” concept. It makes hard-headed economic sense. Some 48% of this country’s collective business turnover comes from SMEs. And, in a situation where the private sector is being relied upon to take up the slack in employment by taking on more staff as the public sector shrinks, it’s worth repeating over and over again that SMEs provide 58% of private sector jobs. So SMEs are not, collectively, the “little guy.” They are the economic powerhouse of the UK. However, because SMEs are, by their nature, a diffuse, separate, uncoordinated collection of businesses, the full power of their collective influence is difficult to apply in a focused, single-minded way, either to Government or the banks. Organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses can be helpful, but there seems to be a tradition in this country of gathering representations from such organisations whenever Government goes to the business community for information and suggestions, saying “thank you very much for your valuable contribution to the debate,” and then ignoring them and doing what big business says. We don’t know what the solution is, but, as an SME ourselves, we do understand what they’re going through and what they need. Responsibility without power? Any ideas?

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

Lynne Henry Communications Officer, GfK Marketing Services

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

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

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Bye bye Best Buy; greetings, ‘Hailey’s’ Comet, and the brightest star is…


NOV 2011


he troubled state of electrical retail in the UK was thrown into sharp focus early November when US goliath Best Buy announced its exit from the market and the floundering Comet chain was sold for £2, with a substantial ‘dowry’ negotiated by the purchasers to provide a revolving facility to fund the day-to-day working capital requirements of the business. Although neither of the moves came as a surprise (speculation of Best Buy’s closure had been rife since the retailer announced it was to conduct a strategy review of the UK business, as had rumour that Kesa would have to pay to have Comet taken off its hands) they reinforced just how testing the electricals market in the UK has become, particularly for big box merchants. It’s been a costly exercise for the two store chains. Kesa’s agreement with Hailey Holdings Ltd and Hailey Acquisitions Ltd, entities advised by private investment firm OpCapita LLP, comes with a £50 million “investment” (the ‘dowry’), which Kesa does not have any reasonable expectation of its ever producing a return, and the retention of the liability for the Comet Defined Benefit Pension Scheme, which had a net deficit of €45.9 million. In the year to 30 April 2011, Comet’s sales revenue fell 3% to €1,809 million on the previous fiscal year and an operating loss of €30.2 million was recorded, against an operating profit of €11.9 million in the year prior. On the day of the announcement of the sale of the business, Comet posted further revenue declines as sales in the six months to 31 October 2011 fell by 17.9% in local currency and 18.6% on a like-for-like basis. The Comet deal is expected to be concluded by February next year. In the meantime, the new prospective owners have said they do not have any intention of making significant store closures or redundancies across the chain’s 247 UK outlets and 10.000 staff, and have given a commitment to keep the business running for at least 18 months following completion of the acquisition. Comet senior management is expected, at present, to remain largely unchanged, and it is reported that John Clare, an advisor to OpCapita and a former chief executive of Dixons, will have a key role. OpCapita partner David Hamid, a former member of the Dixons board, is also reported to be closely involved. The question is: Can these ‘old hands’ at retail turn around the failing business in a rapidly shifting market which is believed to have substantial overcapacity? Best Buy’s venture into the UK came to an abrupt end just 18 months after it entered the market. It arrived in a blaze of glory with the opening of its first big box outlet in Thurrock on 1 May 2010 and

confirmed plans to establish up to 100 stores. It would “change the face of electrical retail in the UK” using the Best Buy retail model of keen prices and “expert” in-store help and advice that had proven so successful in the US. Now, with losses in year one reported to be around £62 million, a further £35 million forecast by analysts for the first half of this year and its dreams for the UK market in tatters, the retailer bows out. Its legacy: the potential loss of some 1,100 jobs and a painful lesson – the UK electricals market is a tough nut to crack, and to attempt it in recessionary times, after showing your hand then procrastinating on delivering the threatened blow, thereby giving competitors time to up their game, is just plain foolhardy. In Best Buy’s defence, who really predicted that such a protracted depression would engulf the UK economy? However, all eleven of the firm’s big box stores will close by the end of the year. Estimates have put the probable cost of closure at around £60 million. On a brighter note, there shines a retail model that is proving to work very well in this harsh economic climate: that of rental. In the same week that Best Buy and Comet announced their considered decisions for their UK businesses, rent-to-buy electricals and household retail chain Brighthouse reported sales of £127 million in the six months to September 2011, up 6.7% like-for-like and 16.3% in absolute terms. The company appears to be flourishing in these times of low consumer confidence and diminishing disposable incomes, having opened 15 new stores in the half-year and delivered earnings before interest, tax & amortisation of £20.7 million, up 22%.



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Electrical retail champions of 2011


NOV 2011



he winners of the Retailer of the Year Awards 2011, sponsored and administered by leading warranties provider Domestic and General, gathered for lunch at the exclusive Corrigan’s of Mayfair restaurant in London, hosted by Domestic & General sales director Derek Hollingdale, to receive their trophies in one of the UK industry’s most respected and comprehensive awards schemes for independents. The three winners should be justly proud of their accolades, won following the UK’s biggest consumer survey of independent electrical retailers. More than a quarter of a million surveys were sent out to customers across the UK who made a major purchase such as a TV or washing machine, and they were asked to rate their retailer on a number of criteria including store presentation, product information and customer service. Mr Hollingdale said: “This year’s Retailer of the Year survey has once again highlighted how important great customer service is in running a successful retail business. The three winning businesses along with all those featuring in the top echelons of the survey are thriving despite exceptionally tough economic trading conditions.” The High Street Retailer of the Year Award went to Aclands, a family-oriented business based in Bridgwater, Somerset, which was founded in 1896 by the great grandfather of current MD Martyn Acland. With 10 full-time and two part-time staff, the business focuses on in-store customer service, and the policy has clearly paid off, since Aclands wins the title for a record fourth time in 2011, having previously won in 2003, 2008 and 2009. Domestic & General national accounts director Jeff Griffiths said: “Winning the Retailer of the Year trophy for the fourth time is an incredible achievement and a testament to the effort and dedication Martyn and Venetia Acland put into their business.” Martyn Acland responded: “Customer service has been part of the Aclands business for the last 15 years and we are delighted to once again come out top. The Retailer of the Year award is the industry’s most important accolade because it is voted for by the people who matter most to the business, the customers.” The Internet Retailer of the Year Award went to Hughes Electrical (Hughes Direct) of Ipswich, Suffolk. Hughes Electrical was founded in Lowestoft, Suffolk, in 1921 by Frank Hughes, and the Hughes Direct web site went live in 2003, followed by the opening of Hughes Trade centres in 2006, offering product and services direct to businesses. D&G’S Jeff Griffiths commented: “It is

L to R: Derek Hollingdale (Sales Director, Domestic & General);Simon Cox (Hughes Electrical); Venetia Acland (Aclands); Martyn Acland (Aclands); Richard Corrigan (Chef, Corrigans of Mayfair); Steve Scott (Barretts Digital World); Shaun Barrett (Barretts Digital World); Robert Hughes (Hughes Electrical)

considerably more challenging to engage with your customers and give them first class service in an online environment but Hughes Direct has really made their web shop feel like a bricks and mortar store in terms of customer service.” Hughes Direct general manager Simon Cox responded: “We have a mission statement to inspire customer loyalty through quality service and winning the prestigious Internet Retailer of the Year Award 2011 proves our efforts are really working. It is exceptionally gratifying to win an award that is voted for by customers.” The new category for 2011, Most Recommended Retailer of the Year, was won by Barretts Digital World in Kent. A single survey question asked customers to rate, on a scale of 0-10, how inclined they were to recommend the retailer to their friends and family. The Barrett family has been retailing in Canterbury since the late 19th century, and in 1930 the first radio and gramophone shop was opened. The current 10,000 sq. ft. Barretts Digital World opened in 1998, and director Shaun Barrett says: “We always strive to offer exceptional customer service; it has been an integral part of our business focus for the last 10-15 years. The Retailer of the Year consumer survey is an incredibly useful barometer of customer satisfaction and to come out as the UK’s most recommended electrical retailer is very pleasing.” D&G’s Jeff Griffiths added: “To average 9.41 out of 10 for customer recommendation across Barretts’ many hundreds of survey responses is an incredible achievement and one of which Shaun Barrett and the team can be justly proud.” The size and comprehensiveness of the D&G survey makes it of outstanding value to the industry in many ways, calibrating as it does the shifting attitude of consumers to such key issues as brand loyalty, retailer loyalty, reasons for buying brown and white goods, the value of advertising and the power of peer recommendations. Get Connected has asked D&G to reveal some of this valuable information for a fuller article based on survey results, which will appear in a future issue of Get Connected.

Retailer of the Year 2011 High Street Retailer of the Year 2011 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Aclands J Waterall Barkers Domestic Appliances Tylers Nicholl Bros Barretts Digital World Hughes Electrical Geoff Hill TC Hayes Mains Electrical

Internet Retailer of the Year 2011 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Hughes Electrical Marks Electrical PRC Hi-Fi & Video Apollo Washking Discounts RGB Direct Stellisons Hanson Electrical Capital Sonic Electrical

Most Recommended Retailer of the Year 2011 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Barretts Digital World Barkers Domestic Appliances Wellingtons Aclands Geoff Hill Ltd Tylers Mains Electrical Capital TC Hayes Apollo

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Philips announced profits sharply down for the quarter to 30 September 2011, at €74 million, 86% less than the €524 million in the same period last year. Revenues for the quarter declined 1.3% to €5.39 billion, but would have risen by as much as 6% but for the effects of the strong euro. The company said it will cut 4,500 jobs, which will save €800 million a year.

Apple reported net profits of £16.5 billion for the year to 25 September 2011, 85% up on the previous year. However, extremely high expectations that the brand will always come up with record-breaking results led to some “disappointment” in financial quarters, and the company’s shares fell around 5% following the announcement. Sony posted a loss of ¥27 billion (£216 million) for the second quarter, compared to a ¥31 billion profit for the same quarter last year. The company revised its fullyear forecast down from a profit of ¥60 billion to a net loss of ¥90 billion. If the forecast proves correct, it will be the fourth successive year in which Sony has made a loss. The Bravia TV business has been losing money since 2004 and is undergoing a restructuring which, said Sony, will return it to profit by 2013.

Home Retail Group, the owner of retail chains Argos and Homebase, posted half-year profits to 27 August 2011 down 71% to £29.4 million. Like-for-like sales at Argos fell 9.1% in the 26 weeks. Sales of consumer electronics, said the Group, were particularly hard hit, suffering a 20% drop over the period.

BSkyB recorded revenues of £1.66 billion for the quarter ended 30 September 2011, a rise of 9% on the same period last year. EBITDA rose 14% to £381 million, while operating profits were up 16% to £295 million in what the company described as “a challenging consumer environment.”

Audio company Linn Products recorded a pre-tax profit of £1.8 million on sales of £16.44 million for the 12-month period ended June 2011. Operating profit rose 9% on the prior year, to £1.83 million. The company said its balance sheet had been significantly strengthened, with all long-term debt repaid.

Small appliances manufacturer Groupe SEB announced third-quarter like-for-like sales up 7.2% to €939 million, boosted by continued strong performances in emerging markets and “resilience” in Western Europe. In the organisation’s home territory of France, revenues declined 1.2% while other Western European countries produced a collective rise of 7.8%, with “vigorous” growth recorded in the UK. Operating margin totalled €116 million, compared with €108 million in the same quarter of 2010.

Samsung recorded net profits of £1.9 billion for the July-September quarter, down 23% on the same period last year. The company said the tumbling price of memory chips on the world market was the major factor in the drop in overall performance – the chip division suffered a more than 50% reduction in profits for the quarter. Profits from the mobile handsets business more than doubled to 2.52 trillion won on “strong sales from Galaxy smartphones.” The company overtook Apple in the period to become the biggest seller of smartphone handsets in the world.

Amazon reported net income of £40 million for the third quarter of 2011, a significant drop of some 73%. Heavy investment in the Kindle tablet computer was cited as the major reason for the dramatic fall in profits. Amazon said it will continue to invest in the Kindle Fire, but forecast lower than expected sales for the final quarter of this year and warned that an operating loss is possible.

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Whirlpool Corporation announced it would cut more than 5,000 jobs, primarily within North America and Europe, reduce capacity and relocate certain production in a bid to expand operating margins and improve earnings. The organisation posted third-quarter net earnings of $177 million, compared to $79 million during the same period last year, on sales of $4.6 billion, up from $4.5 billion in Q3 2010. Third-quarter operating profit totalled $136 million, compared with $234 million in the prior year.

Panasonic announced consolidated group sales for the second quarter down 6% to ¥2,075.7 billion, from ¥2,206.8 billion in the same quarter 2010. Net losses amounted to ¥105.8 billion in the three months to September, compared with a profit of ¥31.0 billion in the prior year. The company said that sales of products such as flat-panel TVs and mobile phones decreased significantly. Consolidated group sales for fiscal year 2012 are expected to be ¥8,300.0 billion, a decrease of ¥400.0 billion from the manufacturer’s original forecast. Profits are predicted to be significantly lower than forecast, with operating income at ¥130.0 billion and pre-tax losses of ¥430.0 billion.

Electrolux reported net sales of SEK 25,650 million for the third quarter, down from SEK 26,326 million in the same period of 2010. Income fell from SEK 1,381 million to SEK 825 million, while operating income amounted to SEK 1,098m, from SEK 1,977, corresponding to a margin of 4.3%. Results for the first three quarters of the year fell nearly 50%, from SEK 4.8 billion in 2010 to SEK 2.5 billion in 2011. Rising raw material costs and lower prices were responsible for most of the decline. Electrolux said it would adapt its production capacity in North America and Western Europe and take actions to reduce overhead costs as a result of weak conditions in the two markets. Toshiba reported consolidated net sales for the second quarter of 2011 (July – September) down ¥43.3 billion to ¥1,586.4 billion ($20,602.3 million), primarily due to sharp appreciation of the yen. Consolidated operating income increased by ¥5.1 billion, to ¥76.1 billion on higher incomes in Home Appliances, Electronic Devices and Digital Products. All business segments secured profitability, the company said. Income from continuing operations before taxes and non-controlling interests fell by ¥19.5 billion to ¥39.2 billion. Net income decreased ¥5.1 billion to ¥22.2 billion.

LG Electronics posted thirdquarter 2011 revenues of KRW 12.9 trillion (USD 11.92 billion), a 4% decline on the same period last year, and an operating loss of KRW 32 billion – an improvement on Q3 2010’s loss of KRW 185 billion. A net loss of KRW 414 billion was mainly due to a loss on investments in affiliated companies and net financial expense, the company said. LG Home Entertainment Company saw revenues decline 7%, to KRW 5.37 trillion as a result of weaker consumer sentiment in the global market. Operating profit improved 17% over the previous quarter to KRW 101 billion due to a stronger premium product mix of CINEMA 3D TVs and LED LCD TVs. LG Home Appliances Company recorded sales of KRW 2.7 trillion – up 1% on the same period last year. Despite an increase in raw materials prices and appreciation of the Korean won, the company still managed to improve operating profit by 11% to KRW 70 billion. LG Electronics’ shares later suffered a 14% dip on the Korean Composite Stock Price Index on reports that the company was planning to raise up to 1 trillion Won (£557 million) in fresh capital through the issue of new shares. 

_wp_100yrs_GetConnected_15844 _wp_100yrs_GetConnected_15844 24/10/2011 24/10/2011 15:39 15:39 _wp_100yrs_GetConnected_15844 24/10/2011 15:39

Thank Thank you… you… Thank you… This Thisyear yearWhirlpool, Whirlpool,the theNo.1 No.1major majorappliance appliancemanufacturer manufacturerininthe the This year Whirlpool, the thNo.1 major appliance manufacturer in the * * th world world celebrates celebrates its its 100 100 year year anniversary! anniversary! world* celebrates its 100th year anniversary! WeWewould wouldlike liketotosay saythank thankyou youtotoallallour ourtrade tradepartners partnersforfortheir theirvalued valued We would like to say thank you to all our trade partners for their valued support supportand andlook lookforward forwardtotoanother anothercentury centuryofofsuccess successtogether. together. support and look forward to another century of success together. *based *based on retail on retail unitunit volume volume sales sales in 2010 in 2010 (Source: (Source: Euromonitor Euromonitor International) International) *based on retail unit volume sales in 2010 (Source: Euromonitor International)


US firm aims to “shake up” Britain’s warranty industry

New retra president takes office

SquareTrade, which claims to be the largest independent warranty provider in the US, has launched in the UK, promising better value and customer service and more consumer choice, with prices on average 40% less than other warranty providers and a 5-day service guarantee. SquareTrade said it had carried out research which revealed that UK consumers have lost faith in the warranty industry. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they currently don’t trust warranty companies to pay out, and 31% said

their provider had failed to pay out after a claim was made. 61% feel that warranties are a waste of money and poor value. Vince Tseng, SquareTrade MD, said: “We’re not remotely surprised by the survey results but it’s exactly why we’re launching SquareTrade here. In virtually any other financially regulated product, you’d expect more choice, value and good customer service, so why should you expect less when buying a warranty? Our aim is to shake up the industry and restore a little bit of faith with consumers again.”

Christmas spending on electricals predicted to fall 7.8%

October sales “worryingly weak”

Consumers will resist the urge to splash out this Christmas as disposable incomes decline, leaving UK retailers £200 million down on last year, according to a new report. Retail research group Decipher has forecast that retail spending will fall 0.6% year-on-year in December, with a 1.4% rise in food sales offset by a 2.2% decline in non-food goods. Electrical retailers in particular are predicted to have a harsh time. The report said that “a lack of exciting new electrical products” and the maturity of games consoles and televisions, combined with consumers’ reluctance to spend on larger items, would put the sector under particular pressure, with spending falling by 7.8%. Decipher forecasts that overall sales volumes will fall 2.3% in December.

The BRC brought no comfort to UK retailers when it reported that October sales were “worryingly weak” and that the Christmas season “hangs in the balance.” Like-for-like sales values fell 0.6% from October 2010, after rising 0.8% on the prior year. Both food and nonfood suffered. Director General Stephen Robertson said: “Underneath the headline figure, the year-to-date results show almost no growth in non-food sales. Allowing for the VAT rise since last year, this suggests a

Andrew O’Gorman, a director of Oxfordshire-based electrical retail firm O’Gormans, has succeeded Steve Norman, former commercial director of Boxclever, as the new president of industry association retra.

substantial drop in sales volumes, while the food figures indicate very little volume growth. It’s clear customers are cutting back, whatever they’re buying.” The CBI confirmed that retail sales volumes did indeed decline in the year to October 2011, at a similar pace as in September and August, with figures reported to be “poor” for the time of the year. According to the organisation’s Distributive Trades Survey, at -34%, the October figure was the lowest since May 2009 (-36%) with volumes in most sub-sectors recording a fall.

Non-food stores drive decline in retail employment Retail employment fell 0.8% in the third quarter of 2011, compared to the same period last year, doing away with the equivalent of 5,780 full-time jobs. The BRC-Bond Pearce Retail Employment Monitor showed that, in the month of September alone, job numbers declined by 23,000. The quarterly fall was the largest recorded since comparisons began in October 2009, with part-time workers experiencing the largest decline in hours worked. The number of retail outlets grew by 2.3% in the quarter, adding a further 1,134 stores to UK high streets. The BRC said this growth was almost entirely driven by grocery retailers, while the overall slide in job numbers was driven by non-food retailers.

See for the stories behind the news…


 184% increase in in-car digital radio


 Dyson and Vax in legal costs row

 Freeview HD device sales top 3 million

Drive to digital “well underway” says SMMT

Dyson accuses rival of “misleading” claim after losing copycat design case

 Landlords urge Business Rates rethink

 Sony takes full ownership of Sony Ericsson

 Retail fraud costs UK retailers £4.9 billion

5.6% inflation threatens April “retail pain” says BPF

Other 50% purchased for £964 million

Shrinkage rates rise 6.2%

 Digital listening still on the up

 Retail sector hit hardest by business failures in Q3

 Philips and TPV sign agreement on TV joint venture

Q3 RAJAR survey figures show digital listening hours up to a record 304 million

Equifax analysis shows UK company failures highest for more than 12 months

Transfer plans progressing well

3.1 million sales to end of September 2011


John Lewis has announced plans to invest £15 million in a 100,000 sq ft department store in York in autumn 2013. The flexible format outlet will be located in the new Monks Cross development and is expected to create around 300 new jobs. Hotpoint is introducing the concept of High Definition Washing to UK consumers, with a £4 million advertising campaign for its new Aqualtis laundry range. The multimedia campaign runs through to the end of the year. Hoover Candy has appointed Richard Kinsey as sales director. He returns to the company, which he first joined in 1990 as area sales representative for Candy, following a five year stint with Indesit. CI(H) has developed a series of themed POS packs to complement RICHARD KINSEY its two-phase TV advertising. The initiative is part of the buying group’s Christmas marketing campaign, which also incorporates online activity and a window display competition to promote offers and drive footfall. Miele is offering an extended warranty on specific washing machine models, giving consumers the chance to upgrade their cover from five to ten years for £149. The offer is supported with POS material. Insurance and warranties provider Assurant Solutions has strengthened its sales team in the UK and Ireland with the appointment of Steve Case (pictured) to the role of business development manager, Sophie Perry to client services manager and Rebecca O’Malley as marketing executive. Electrolux’s Vac from the Sea has been awarded the IPRA Golden Award by the United Nations. The project also won the corporate communications category and the Efes Group Special Award. STEVE CASE


NOV 2011

PURE has announced the launch of a cloud based, on-demand music service that will be available on its internet-connected digital radios, smartphones and computers for a monthly subscription of £4.99. The service will go live in the UK during December.


Baumatic is rolling out a series of four promotions in a nationwide push that will target in excess of 12 million consumers. The brand has partnered with Finish, Laithwaites, Lakeland and Prestige to offer added value to the purchase of selected appliances and is supporting the initiative with a national advertising campaign in several leading Sunday newspaper magazines. Siemens has launched its latest winter trade-in promotion, which gives customers up to £150 off selected washing machines, washer dryers, tumble dryers, dishwashers and refrigeration units, when purchasing a selection of products from the brand’s current ranges.

Big companies stifling SMEs’ cashflow UK SMEs are being starved of cash through late payments, which are up 10% to £33.6 billion – the highest since records began – and the hardest hit sector, according to research by payment company Bacs, is retail and distribution which is currently owed some £16.6 billion in late payments.

The Bacs report says half of the UK’s SMEs – around 860,000 – are experiencing late payments, being owed an average of £39,000 each and having to wait up to two months for payments. Large companies are, according to Bacs, the worst payers, being responsible for 48% of late payment debt owed to SMEs.

Asda launches price war on electronic goods Asda is targeting struggling retailer Argos in a cost-cutting campaign reducing the price of electronic goods in the run up to Christmas. The retailer said it would cut the cost of gadgets from big-name brands such as Samsung, Sony, Canon and Nikon “to help shoppers make their Christmas pounds stretch further.” Tablets and laptops will be available at “ground-breaking prices” as part of the retailer’s commitment to supporting Race Online 2012.

Neff announces MasterPartner® Area Business Manager of the Year The 2011 Neff MasterPartner® Area Business Manager of the Year Excellence Award has gone to Jon Crane, who covers the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex regions for the brand. Crane was chosen from a 14-strong team as the “unanimous winner” of the title. See the full story online at JON CRANE LEFT ACCEPTING HIS AWARD FROM MIKE JARRETT.

Hughes extends Dereham store Hughes Electrical has invested £100,000 in extending its store located in the Norfolk town of Dereham. The retailer has doubled its space to 2,200 sq ft by taking on the unit next door to its existing Nelson Place outlet, providing the space to expand its ranges and add an area for demonstrating the connectivity of Smart TVs. Two new members of staff have been recruited.


George Cole ” George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics. E-mail:



FORD’S FIRST FAREWELL TO THE CD When was the last time you played a

Ford says that falling CD sales

hink of all the developments that

CD in a car? The thought occurred to me

(according to the music trade body BPI,

transformed the home video

when I heard that Ford UK was no longer

CD album sales fell by 35% between

market, such as the launch of the

putting CD players into new Ford Focus

2006 and 2010) and the increasing use of

VHS recorder and the arrival of DVD.

cars from 2012. I must confess that ever

iPods, MP3 players and smartphones for

Well, perhaps the 11th October 2011 will

since our in-car CD player packed in a few

music listening, mean that the demand

go down as one of the most significant

years ago, I stopped listening to CDs when

for playing CDs in-car has fallen. Ford

dates for home video, because that was

driving. The main reason was that the cost

plans to introduce in-car entertainment

when Warner Bros released Horrible

of getting the CD player repaired was so

systems that can play music from a wide

Bosses in the US, the first video title

ridiculously high that I couldn’t justify the

range of digital sources, including iPods,

to include UltraViolet functionality.

expenditure (the quote I received from the

memory cards, USB sticks and even

UltraViolet is an initiative launched

garage confirmed the saying that there

music stored online – co-called cloud

by the Digital Entertainment Content

is no such thing as a cheap car repair).

services. Ford isn’t getting out of the

Ecosystem, a consortium of more than

And by then, I was using my iPod for

in-car CD market yet – the company says

70 entertainment, technology and retail

in-car entertainment. It made good sense

it will continue to install them whilst the

companies that includes almost all of the

- why juggle around with a pile of discs,

demand is there. But there’s no doubt

major Hollywood studios, Sony, Panasonic,

when I could listen to hundreds of tracks

that, in the same way cassette tapes

Toshiba, Microsoft, Samsung and Tesco

stored on a tiny iPod? What’s more, using

are no longer the medium of choice for

Entertainment. UltraViolet discs (which

the iPod’s shuffle feature gives you the

portable and personal audio, the in-car

can be DVDs and Blu-ray titles) include

equivalent of a radio station that always

CD player will one day become as rare as

an activation code and a web address.

plays music that you enjoy.

in-car cartridge and cassette players.

The consumer goes to the website, up to twelve devices (such as a laptop,

gives them access to an online copy of


the movie they’ve purchased, which can

Related to the subject above, it’s heartening to note that 75% of all new Ford

be streamed to registered devices from

Mondeo and Galaxy cars sold in the UK had DAB radios installed as standard. The

anywhere there is an internet connection.

other good news is that the BBC is funding the roll-out that will see DAB coverage

Unlike DVD and Blu-ray, UltraViolet video

increase from its current figure of 90% of the UK population to 97%. But culture

streams are not restricted by regional

minister Ed Vaizey’s comments that there are “elements of truth” in the criticisms

coding, so you could watch your movies

that DAB is an out-of-date technology; coverage and sound quality are inferior to

whilst visiting the US or Japan. Expect

analogue, and that listeners are already happy with what they’ve got, didn’t help

UltraViolet discs and the first UltraViolet-

matters. No surprise that some of the media were quick to declare: “It’s official

branded devices to reach the UK next

– digital radio’s not that good.” To be fair to Vaizey, he did add that DAB media

year. The video industry is gambling that

coverage was often “one-sided” and that there were “many positives” to DAB, but

UltraViolet will boost home video sales.

he (or the persons writing his speech) should have known which bit would grab

As the saying goes, watch this space.

the headlines.

games console and DVD player) and then enters the activation code. This


opens an UltraViolet account, registers


Alphason Event TV stand The new Event TV stand from Alphason Designs features a concealed audio solution which delivers room-filling stereo sound. The support is part of Alphason’s ‘Design First’ 2011 Collection and is suitable for televisions with screen sizes up to 47 inches. Connection is via a single cable from the TV or settop box to the audio input of the Event. 

Dimensions (mm): H 375 x W 1000 x D 450

2.1 amplified stereo speaker system: 75watts x 2 RMS output

Analogue and digital inputs

Remote control

01279 501111

Belling Cookcentre Belling has unveiled a new AA-rated range cooker incorporating a high level grill for increased cooking flexibility. The Cookcentre is a 90cm model with integrated splash-back and two-circuit variable electric grill, believed to be the first of its kind on the market. 

Fanned electric oven / tall 76-litre fanned electric oven / slow cook oven

Programmable main oven / Touch controls

Dual fuel Cookcentre: five burner hob with cast iron pan supports

Electric Cookcentre: five ceramic elements including a dual zone

0844 815 3735


NOV 2011

VARTA Indestructible torch range


VARTA UK has introduced the Indestructible torch range, a new series of six LED lights to complete the company’s revamped line-up of torches. The full range incorporates two headlights, a lantern and three torches, all with energy-saver modes. In-store support for retailers stocking the Indestructible light range includes eye-catching POS, hanging shelf panels, informative brochures and comprehensive product training. The 3 Watt LED Indestructible light 3C (pictured) features:

Whirlpool Domino induction hobs Whirlpool’s Domino frameless induction hobs offer a flexible and efficient cooking solution, particularly where space is at a premium. The AKM 711 (38 x 51cms) and ACM 710 (30 x 51cms) bring the controllability, speed, safety and energy-saving benefits associated with induction to the kitchen and are equally suitable as part of a comprehensive grid, as pictured. AKM 711 features:

Light output up to 140 lumens

Touch control

Runtime up to 85 hours

Dual zone with booster options

Beam range up to 140 metres

Nine power levels

Fall height 9 metres

Automatic pan detection

0161 947 3084

0208 649 5000


Steel Ascot range cooker collection The new A-rated Ascot range cooker from Steel has two full-size multifunction ovens of equal capacity and offers up to eight gas burners or a combination of hob options, including fry tops, deep fryers, induction and a Mega Wok. The 120cm appliance comes in a choice of 16 colours. 01926 338116

Cooking systems: conventional, top or bottom heat, grill, grill with fan, rotisserie, defrost setting

Fully programmable clock and timer

Cool-touch triple glazed doors / Telescopic shelving

Chrome trim as standard, plus a choice of either nickel or bronze

Panasonic ‘ecohikari’ microwave range Panasonic has introduced a range of four microwave ovens which takes its name from the Japanese word for light. ‘ecohikari’ models are light on energy, light in weight and use LED interior lighting. Model NN-GD371SBPQ microwave with grill (pictured) features: 

Inverter technology / Faster cooking performance

Constant cooking energy on medium and low power settings

Reduced power consumption of up to 97.5% compared to traditional microwaves

Power-saving LED light 157% brighter than conventional bulb / 20,000-hour lifespan

0844 844 3852

AEG built-in coffee maker PE4512-M Espressos, Americanos, cappuccinos, lattes and hot chocolate can easily be made to taste with the new AEG built-in coffee maker. Part of the brand’s Neue Kollektion, the unit has automatic programming, so favourite drinks are available at the touch of a button. A multi-cup jug option allows up to six drinks to be made in one go. 

Touch control LCD display

Electronic controls for coffee selection and steam operation.

Water tank 1.8-litre capacity

Bean and water refill indicators

08445 611611

System output 2x7 watt RMS

Speaker: Full range, bass reflex cabinet

Frequency response 100 Hz – 20 KHz

Input: AUX 3.5 mm

Remote control / bracket for wall mounting

01923 205600


Tangent Fjord’s stereo speaker dock combines the minimalist aesthetics of Jacob Jensen Design with Tangent’s superior technology and stereo sound. It has a line in for TV, PC, MP3, mobile phones and other sound sources and is fully compatible with Apple’s iPhone and iPod.

NOV 2011

Tangent Fjord stereo speaker dock



act locally… …a headline which encapsulates LG Electronics’ strategy to become Europe’s no. 1 brand in washing machines and refrigeration appliances by 2015. GC reports on the official opening of the company’s expanded Home Appliances facility in southwest Poland


20 October, LG celebrated the establishment of a new production line capable of manufacturing a million washing machines annually and the extension of an existing refrigeration line which will raise the output of cooling appliances from 300,000 to a million units per year. Investment in the Home Appliances facility, which is located in the Kobierzyce district of Wroclaw County, currently stands at US$36 million and will be topped up in phases to a total of US$70 million by 2015. Speaking at the event themed ‘Making it in Europe’, held at Wroclaw’s Institute of Power Systems Automation and hosted by the UK’s Andy Mackay – Commercial Director CE (Home Appliances & Home Entertainment) – Jun myeon Seong, President of LG Electronics Wroclaw, said the occasion marked a “turning point” in LG Appliances’ development: LG would “conquer the European market with the highest quality product.”


Foundations of success Young-ha Lee, President and CEO of LG Electronics Home Appliance Company, said the facility will be LG’s “cornerstone” for becoming the number one refrigerator and washing machine brand in Europe by 2015. “Our new production lines will enable us to make more products that meet the higher standards of European consumers right here in the same region where these appliances will be used,” he added. Andy Mackay told GC that the key benefits of the new lines are “speed to market” and “flexibility of supply”, providing the opportunity to move products swiftly into European markets and within 5 days of production into the UK, compared with more than 4 weeks by sea from either Korea or China. “That said,” Mackay added, “the Polish facility also gives LG Electronics a stronger and competitive edge to build upon its position in Europe with the specific intent to take the no.1 brand position in the European washing machine and refrigeration appliance sectors.” The investment will, of course, enable LG to respond better to local consumer needs, while reducing supply chain costs. “For us, a production base in Europe means quicker response to demands through far quicker and more efficient logistics, whether in transportation or storage,” said Young-ha


Indeed, the local economy is already benefiting from the expansion of the manufacturing facility: according to LG, an additional 800 jobs have been created and local business partnerships have increased by 36%.

Supplying the UK market

Lee. “We will also increase availability of the products more sought after by European consumers.”

Community and investment Amongst the many dignitaries at the inaugural event was the Commune Mayor of Kobierzyce, Ryszard Pacholik, who congratulated LG on “embracing the community spirit” of his district and wished the company success in its plans and achievements. He also thanked the Korean manufacturer for its investment in the facility, which started in 2005 when the organisation sealed a deal to build on the extensive greenfield site in Kobierzyce. In December 2006, the first US-style side-by-side refrigeration unit rolled off the production line. Commenting on the localisation of product development, design and the distribution chain for European consumers, Moon bum Shin, Executive Vice President of Home Appliances, Overseas Marketing Division, said LG had contributed to the local economy “just as Europe had contributed to LG’s growth.”

“…we will conquer the European market with the highest quality product” As production expands, larger capacity models, including the premium 12kg machine, will be produced there. On refrigeration, Mackay said that Wroclaw is already established as a main supply line for Americanstyle side-by-side models and the UK market has a “leading role” in this, receiving up to 50,000 units to fulfill strong demand – LG has a UK market share of +25% in the side-by-side category.

The UK will still be supplied with steam and large capacity models, including the new 12kg washer, from the flagship Changwon factory in South Korea, which alone manufactures nearly 5 million LG units per year for global markets.” On a tour of the Wroclaw manufacturing plant, GC learnt that the 110-metre washing machine line is currently delivering the equivalent of 700,000 units per annum.

“Strategic status” “The news is that from Q4 2011 we will also be increasing the supply into Europe from this facility with the manufacture of Combi fridge freezers,” Mackay revealed. “In this respect, the Polish factory will be the main supply line by 2012 for LG refrigeration models. “Whilst the largest supply unit is in Changwon, South Korea, the Wroclaw factory moves into strategic status for the development as well as the manufacture of European-focused appliance ranges.” Mackay maintains that, today, LG is the “world’s favourite washing machine brand” – no.1 in market share – and in Europe it is already in the top 3, both in washing machines and refrigeration. “Market share in the UK in 2011 has grown in all segments,” he told GC. The brand now accounts for one in four of all premium washing machines sold and is no.2 in the large American-style side-by-side category.

“The Wroclaw facility will be LG’s cornerstone for becoming the number one refrigerator and washing machine brand in Europe by 2015”



Wroclaw is now one of eight LG factories producing laundry appliances worldwide. Andy Mackay explained to GC that the UK will receive deliveries of 7kg and 8kg models from the facility in Q4 this year, and will become one of the top five subsidiaries served by the plant. Putting this into context, he said: “The total washing appliance capacity of the eight LG factories is over 13 million units per annum [Wroclaw has the capacity for one million].



first T

he kitchen of today should provide the practicalities of convenience, making tasks easier in a resourcesaving, well organised space. Yet it also needs to deliver the aspirational design so desired by purchasers – design which has become more individual and exacting in recent years as consumers continue to absorb the superfluity of media images depicting a standard of living and quality of life that, seemingly, only high style and distinctiveness can produce. It is acknowledged that kitchen and appliance manufacturers work closely together in their quest to keep trends on the move, thereby creating sales opportunities for retailers while whetting consumers’ appetite for change, and it is a discerning choice in domestic appliances along with the use of a broad range of materials (woods, metals, glass, marble, stone, ceramics…) that breathes life and individuality into the room: an area that, for many, has become the most important, and investable, space in the home.


Kitchen trends



Simona Bara, Product Marketing Manager for Built-in at Whirlpool, says there are several big trends prevailing in contemporary kitchens, some of which contradict each other: “At one end there are the high gloss units, whilst at the other there is the more subtle, matt finish.” The same goes for colour: “Some showrooms are full of the brightest shades, while others are encouraging consumers to keep it neutral with whites, soft greys and beiges.” Richard Walker, sales and marketing director for De Dietrich Kitchen Appliances, considers the two main areas in cabinetry styles to be the traditional classics, such as Shaker or hand-painted designs, “which remain perennially popular,” while at the other end of the scale, “minimalist, contemporary designs are becoming ever more fashionable, with black, white, granite and grey being the more requested palettes for lacquered cabinetry and worktops.” “Of course, this is all down to personal preference,” says Whirpool’s Bara, “But the


The kitchen may have become a social area in which family members cook, eat, work and play, but while its heart beats to the rhythm of household activity its soul sings to the harmony of design. GC reports

“For all kitchen styles, an island unit is probably the most requested element” kitchen that everyone is looking for is free of any fuss, so unit doors are flush, with handles hidden or moulded and concealed, and while it was once preferable to have a run of matching units, the trend now is to mix and match natural materials with man-made ones. “Interestingly, appliances mimic the minimalist flush designs and colours in cabinetry.” By way of example, she highlights push-push closure on doors, integrated handles, elegant alignment of physical features, finishes such as soft grey stainless steel and glass. “Glass is enjoying a renaissance,” she says. “This includes reflective mirror-finishes such as Whirlpool’s Glamour black and the new luxury white glass finish of Glamour white across different product categories.”

Colour trends Bara believes that while manufacturers are challenged to provide a wider offering of colours, designs and technology to satisfy all tastes and demands, there won’t be a big trend in coloured built-in appliances. “A small percentage of people are interested in bold colours and it is a very niche market, but consumers today are more careful with their spending and are looking for longevity in their investment. Therefore, they want a modern, clean look. The growing trend is certainly

in white and monochromatic colours, with stainless steel remaining a firm favourite for the majority.” It is a widely held view that stainless steel remains the most popular finish, with black gaining in popularity and white making a return, yet GDHA’s New World brand is tempting the marketplace with a hint of colour in its newly launched ‘Colours’ built-in collection – a new departure for the brand and its biggest focus this winter, according to Commercial Manager Jon Brennan. The range of single and double built-in ovens contrast black glass with a brightly coloured trim, available in metallic purple, blue, green and red, and for those looking for something extra special, an ultra-shiny chrome finish. “We are confident the range will be well received,” Brennan asserts. Colours do tend to be more dominant in the freestanding sector, particularly in range cookers and refrigeration, both of which are often treated as ‘statement’ or ‘focal point’ appliances. The continued move towards the bold and the bright in these two areas can be seen in the recent unveiling of Stoves and Belling’s ‘Colour Boutique’, which gives consumers 12 hues to choose from across some of the brands’ most popular range cookers, and in Baumatic’s ‘Sins’ cooling collection which Marketing Manager Rita Balestrazzi describes as “a positively decadent collection of tempting fridge freezers in a variety of alluring colours – pink for Seduction, black for Envy, red for Lust, cream for Indulgence and white for Desire.” It truly would be a sin to talk about colours without mentioning Smeg’s FAB





“From our experience, consumers don’t always know what they want until you tell them” cooling collection, an undeniable – and much duplicated (they say that copying is the greatest form of flattery) – subject of success which in more recent years has been extended by Smeg to include washing machines, dishwashers and fires, along with a range of glass splash-backs to complement appliances. “Consumers are prepared to pay more for the appeal of a more stylish product, and this is particularly true of Smeg’s 50s-style retro refrigeration products,” propounds Joan Fraser, Product Development and Training Manager for the brand.



Design first


Kitchen designs may be timeless or trendy, dramatic or understated, but most consumers will nonetheless seek to make an avant-garde statement of bold simplicity – a hallmark of their own, very personal brand of good taste. Does it follow, then, that the consideration of style and design is the first assessment to be made when choosing kitchen appliances?

“All the functionality in the world will not beat the appliance that has both form and function”

Gino Grossi, Product Manager for Refrigeration at Samsung, believes so: “Only once customers have taken into account the physical appearance of the appliance will they open the door to look inside and think about the features and functionality. This means that, if a consumer thinks an appliance is not going to suit or fit in with their new kitchen, retailers may not even get the chance to demonstrate technologies and functionality.” The appliance industry has always been as much design-driven as performance-driven and the trend towards living, eating and entertaining in the kitchen has placed even more importance on aesthetics, maintains Martin Wilson, Assistant Manager, Built-in Hot, Electrolux: “Appliances are now on display for all to see, which means that consumers have become even more discerning and aspirational in their product choice. The most highly valued attributes include a strong brand reputation, design, functionality, user interface and good backup service. There is no doubt that style will add value. All the functionality in the world will not beat the appliance that has both form and function.” Hotpoint Marketing Manager Iain Starkey holds the view that the importance of style and design varies depending on the type of appliance and market level at which consumers are looking to buy in to. “For example,” he says, “at entry level, price will be a key factor and consumers will be looking at appliances that offer a lot of features for the best price possible. Moving into the mid to premium market, style becomes more of a consideration, especially with statement appliances like range cookers and fridge freezers, which can set the tone for consumers’ overall kitchen design.” “From our retailers’ showroom sales, we find that the design of the appliance is always the first consideration for consumers, as the visual features are often the telltale signs of the kind of highly specified, modern appliances in which they would like to invest,” advises Baumatic’s Balestrazzi. “Seeing LED or LCD displays lit up on the appliance’s fascia immediately attracts the consumer’s attention, often inspiring them to enquire further about the product.”

Style & value While value for money brand Beko is “doing very well” in these straitened times, Head of Product and Buying Les Wicks believes that consumers have never been so hard to please: “They want the latest functions and features within an elegant design at an affordable cost,” he says, attributing the demands to the harsh economic climate which has driven people to focus on getting the best possible value for every pound spent.


Indesit Advance by Giugiaro

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Lamborghini, the new Advance Built-in range is not just beautiful but a practical co-ordinated solution that combines perfectly with the latest trends in kitchen design.

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“Consumers are prepared to pay more for the appeal of a more stylish product” Steve Dickson, Commercial Manager for Stoves and Belling, reasons that the purchasing decision is no longer made purely on style, price or size. Rather, “it is a combination of these along with the added benefits that better technology makes available, whether this is induction appliances which offer faster, smarter, safer and greener technology or a fridge which keeps food fresher for longer. The key is to make sure the technology translates into a meaningful benefit for the consumer.” “Style always matters when it comes to choosing an appliance, as fit, feel and finish are always first on the list when consumers are choosing appliances for their kitchens,” says De Dietrich’s Walker. “With De Dietrich, technology and style tend to go hand-in-hand, and in this regard, customers will often trade up to have the latest technologies incorporated within beautifully designed products. An example of this is the award-winning DOP895 ICS Oven, which has an electronic tilting touch control panel. When displayed in a kitchen studio in which its various functions are demonstrated, this intelligent self-cleaning oven is admired both by cooks and lovers of technology in equal measure.”

to cook. Suggest models to fulfil their specific needs, rather than waiting for them to tell you which model they want. From our experience, consumers don’t always know what they want until you tell them.”

In store

Creating space

Whirlpool’s Bara believes that design is “critical” to built-in appliances and advises that having models correctly displayed and operational, if possible, is essential. “Many retailers tend to group built-in products together for display purposes, such as several hobs or hoods in rows or clusters. If space allows, it is much more effective to show built-in appliances in a display that incorporates each element of a fitted kitchen. It is often an effective way of demonstrating the selling points of built-in products to potential buyers too.” Neff Sales Director Mike Jarrett agrees: “My advice to dealers is to know your products and have them on display at an accessible height and preferably illuminated. Know and understand what features and benefits they offer. My suggestion would be to put a premium model with lots of demonstrable features on display, as you can always sell down to a more affordable model if you can convince the customer of the attributes of the brand/product. Be proactive and do the selling: by this I mean ask the consumer what cooking/foods they like, how they use their appliances, how frequently and what they like

According to Samsung’s Gino Grossi, alongside style and design, the one thing that consumers always want more of is space. He highlights the brand’s Ecobubble washing machine – a 12kg standard footprint appliance – its large capacity, split cavity Dual Cook ovens and the G-Series refrigerator range, which offers greater capacity due to Samsung’s ‘ecospace’ technology. Whether additional space is required in appliance capacities or in physical floor area, clever product designs can achieve both. Many domestic appliances are in themselves storage solutions and customers should be encouraged to think imaginatively about how (and why) additional appliances can be fitted into the kitchen to help deliver an elegant, convenient, resource-efficient environment. Today’s fridge freezer has replaced yesterday’s pantry, and it’s worth highlighting that, in many kitchens, some cupboard space could be surrendered to accommodate a larger appliance. It is commonplace nowadays for bottles and jars to be stored in the refrigerator rather than a cupboard – and preferable once items have been opened –



Quality Haier is proud to announce that the AFL631CW and AFL631CS have recently been given a Best Buy recommendation from Which? magazine. The unique feature of our three-door fridge freezer is the easy-access freezer drawers, which make the freezer’s contents easily visible, saving both time and energy. Other key features include: an energy rating of A+ (with energy savings of up to 25% compared to traditional A class models), frost-free, spill-proof shelves, full tower LED lighting at the rear of the fridge, providing an excellent view of all contents even when the appliance is fully stocked, a foldable wine rack that creates extra space when not in use, and electronic controls and display for easy management.

WINNER Best Design


Design Haier is proud to be launching its latest modern design, ‘Haier Glass’, which is available across the refrigeration range including 4 door and 2 door side-by-side as well as our combi range. Haier Glass is available in stunning black, red and white.



AFD631GR WINNER Best Design




Amazing new technology from Haier


Fridge or freezer? The choice is yours... ‐18 ° C

Haier has launched the new AFD626 combi fridge freezer series. The middle compartment of this fridge freezer can be independently controlled from +5°C to -18°C, giving customers greater flexibility over how they manage their food. The AFD626 is available in stunning Haier glass black, red, white and stainless steel effect. To learn more about this product, please contact Haier.




0845 052 9030

Haier_GC_ad_Oct_2011_v3.indd 1

5° C


0114 254 2400


01264 334596

*Source: Euromonitor International Limited; retail volume sales in units based on 2010 data.

01244 535 929

Haier UK Head Office: Tel: 020 8166 4978 Email:

e sit b we m w e n ie ur .ha o sit ww Vi w


19/10/2011 11:29


not always an issue. And if it is the domestic appliance range that makes the statement in your customer’s kitchen, Gorenje Marketing Manager Ruth Ferguson suggests that décor panels offer the perfect solution: “Gorenje offers a selection of dishwasher décor panels to match the Simplicity, Ora Ïto and Pure design lines, extending the stylistic impact created.” Décor doors – mock appliance fronts such as those supplied by Gorenje and Smeg – are also a means of creating a clutter-free, designled environment. Everything from recipe books to microwave ovens, blenders, kitchen scales, pasta machines, cookie jars… can be stored behind these doors, which match appliance ranges from the brands and create a stunningly bold expression of roominess and streamlined elegance.

Future developments and fruit & veg, meat, cakes and deli foods will keep fresher for longer if stored in a controlled zone appliance. Those with storage for large water bottles or, better still, deliver filtered water through the door will save your customer money on the bottled stuff and help reduce landfill as well. Giving over that bit of cupboard space could in effect make room for the desired ‘statement’ appliance, and for those with open-plan living areas, products such as elegant fridge freezers and wine coolers can easily straddle the area between kitchen and dining/living room, as can the cooking area, where hobs and hoods are part of a large island unit where families congregate to cook,

achieve this. Most would agree that dirty dishes are the greatest creator of disorder in the kitchen, so a dishwasher is, contrary to some consumers’ opinions, essential. But so is keeping a streamlined look in the kitchen and it appears that integrated products are garnering favour. Hotpoint’s Starkey says: “Around a third of the dishwashers we sell are built-in and demand is increasing. Of all our behind-the-door products, dishwashers are the most popular as they’re easy to install and quiet enough not to cause a disturbance.” Electrolux also points out the move to integrated dishwashers, stating that GfK figures show the split between freestanding and built-in as 66% and 34% respectively.


“The kitchen that everyone is looking for is free of any fuss…”


eat, work and play. As De Dietrich’s Walker points out: “For all kitchen styles, an island unit is probably the most requested element.” In many instances, the kitchen table has been jettisoned to make room for an island unit, a feature of design which also creates space for cupboards or under-counter appliances beneath. Ann Marie Clarke, Marketing Project Manager for refrigeration specialist Husky, says her brand has seen consumers trading up to under-counter drinks refrigerators and wine coolers, including commercial appliances for larger homes. She adds that the move reflects the trend for additional cold storage and that of creating a “connoisseur experience” at home. Good kitchen design can only be appreciated if surroundings are free of clutter. And, yes, domestic appliances can help

Installing a dishwasher may mean relinquishing some cupboard space but, advantageously, not worktop space, and the appliance is a storage unit in itself, whether for hiding dirty dishes or holding clean ones. Smeg’s Joan Fraser is keen to highlight her brand’s new ‘press and release’ integrated model with handle-less door for those that want an unbroken line in the kitchen: “The DI6013NH is the perfect complement to the contemporary handle-less kitchen furniture ranges on the market,” she says. It seems that there is no excuse not to be a dishwasher owner. Apart from the obvious hygiene benefits and time, water and energy savings, which still need to be explained at the point of sale, good-looking products now come in a variety of sizes and in countertop and inline configurations, so floor space is

In an era where design is at the fore and, as Beko’s Les Wicks says, consumers have never been more difficult to please, what will the future hold in the development of appliances? Hotpoint’s Starkey believes we can expect the growing popularity of black appliances to continue, along with increased availability of statement colours such as red and gloss white to match new kitchen furniture and décor. “The future will definitely be bright this winter, with more colours making their way into product ranges,” Baumatic’s Balestrazzi concurs. “More streamlined and space-saving designs are likely to hit the market to suit the current trend of ‘less is more’. Glass and high gloss finishes will feature heavily in new collections, as well as designs that depend upon the striking contrasts between metal and coloured finishes.” Samsung’s Grossi also touches on the subject of colour, and adds that we are likely to see more of high gloss glass finishes. “Streamlined designs will also become more commonplace, as appliances with display units will be developed so they are flush with the rest of the product.” Hoover Candy Marketing Director Steve Macdonald also envisages the move towards a streamlined, integrated approach, but adds that sustainability is becoming part of the innovation package: “Sustainability (and regulation) is now intrinsically woven into the brief alongside technology, form and function.” The final note comes from Amica Country Manager Simon Freear, who says that the most successful kitchen retailers are (and will continue to be) “those who showcase a collection of inspirational and functional living spaces, with the latest technology and working appliances, in order to help explain and fully demonstrate the attributes, features and functions to potential purchasers.”

The Platinum collection combines innovative technology and stunning aesthetics with environmental credentials. One day all kitchens will perform this well.


The Domestic & General

Retailer of the Year Awards 2011 We are the champions. The independent electrical retailers named Retailers of the Year 2011 have the right to be called true champions. The Awards, sponsored and administered by Domestic & General, surveyed more than a quarter of a million customers across the UK, who were asked to rate their purchasing experience on key criteria

such as store presentation, product information and customer service. This is the UK’s biggest consumer survey of independent electrical retailers, and those who have emerged at the top after such a widespread and rigorous examination have something to be proud of:

High Street Retailer of the Year 2011


Regularly in the Top Ten for more than a decade, and three times previous winners, Aclands, of Bridgwater in Somerset, wins the accolade this year for a record fourth time, having scored “consistently high in all four categories - Appearance of the store, Courtesy of the staff, Product knowledge of the staff and Product demonstration .” Aclands achieved the winning aggregate score just ahead of runners-up J. Waterall (North Humberside) and Barkers Domestic Appliances (Sussex).


Venetia Acland (centre) and Martyn Acland (right) receive their High Street Retailer of the Year Award from Derek Hollingdale, Sales Director, Domestic & General


Internet Retailer of the Year 2011 Part of Hughes Electrical in Suffolk, Hughes Direct won a close battle to edge out runners-up Marks Electrical (Leicester) and PRC Direct (part of PRC Hi-Fi & Video in Essex). Hughes Direct “was rated very highly for its exceptional product information and went on to score the highest average score for delivery the internet part of the survey has ever seen, a staggering 9.94/10.” Robert Hughes (centre) and Simon Cox (right) receive the Internet Retailer of the Year 2011 trophy from Domestic & General Sales Director Derek Hollingdale

Most Recommended Retailer of the Year 2011

See page 8 of this issue for the top ten retailers in each category and more details of the Awards


Shaun Barrett (right) and Steve Scott of Barretts Digital World receive the inaugural Most Recommended Retailer of the Year trophy from Domestic & General Sales Director Derek Hollingdale

In a new category for this year, designed to acknowledge the vital importance of word-of-mouth as a retail business builder, consumers were asked to rate, on a scale of 0-10, how inclined they were to recommend the retailer to their friends and family. Clear winner for this inaugural award was Barretts Digital World (Kent) with “an incredible average score of 9.41, leading runners up Barkers Domestic Appliances (Sussex) and Wellingtons (Kent) by almost a clear point.”



In a difficult consumer electronics market, retailers are looking for quality products that deliver a decent margin and can be sold with confidence. Security of supply, consistent quality, fast reliable delivery and superb retailer support are important to retailers, and while manufacturers will all claim to offer these to their retail partners, Get Connected spoke directly to real UK dealers about their positive experiences of doing business with British TV and set top box manufacturer Linsar.



NOV 2011

“We have real confidence in the reliability of the Linsar TVs”


insar is a relatively new brand that, since its foundation nearly six years ago, has rapidly carved a highly successful niche within the small-screen TV market and has recorded significant year-on-year growth. Success in this competitive sector does not come easily, so how has Linsar made such a positive impact in such a short time? GC asked front-line retailers who do business with Linsar to give their comments, and Michael Moncaster of Lincolnshirebased retailer Peter Rhodes summed it up in a single sentence based on real experience: “Linsar is a good British company selling a good product which has good backup service and an excellent sales team.”

Dealers listen to dealers Endorsements that come from retailers are the most valuable and convincing for other retailers, and Linsar appears to have created a loyal and growing number of outlets in the UK who are finding that “Doing the Business” with Linsar is a profitable experience. Evette Cuttin, proprietor of Haslemere dealer Taylor & Roberts, told Get Connected: “We have real confidence in the reliability of the Linsar TVs and are delighted to be dealing with a company with such a fresh outlook. The support is second to none. Their website is easy to use and navigate and ideal for consumers and dealers, with the new dealer portal.” It is this kind of dealer confidence that has kept Linsar growing and adding to its range, and director Barry Kick explains that this very British company recognizes the importance of maintaining the best service and support for its retail partners. The

company has recently moved to new, larger premises in Dorset, specifically chosen for its excellent administrative and logistics benefits. “By having all operational departments and stock under one purpose-built roof,” he says, “our office and logistics facility will provide increased efficiencies, resulting in higher service levels to all our independent customers and to John Lewis. Being located on the Bournemouth Airport Business Park we can now also offer ‘guaranteed next-day’ delivery for orders placed as late as 4pm.”

5-year guarantee Linsar UK is backing its own confidence in its products by offering a free 5-year guarantee on its full range of LED and LCD products. The warranty applies to all Linsar TVs purchased through retail outlets. Models with integrated DVD players carry a 2-year guarantee on the player itself. “Due to the high reliability and low returns rates on all our TVs, this powerful benefit is further proof,” says Barry, “of our



If retailers’ actual experience with a brand is the most sought after source of reliable, down-to-earth information for other retailers, the mini case history given to Get Connected by Biggleswade dealer H&H Electronics carries a powerful message to all independents who are looking for profitable partnerships with manufacturers: “We first heard of Linsar a few years ago. My initial reaction was ‘not another obscure brand that will cost more in time and effort getting the things fixed than we make in profit.’ “I couldn’t have been more wrong! Since we started selling Linsar TVs, probably about three years ago, we haven’t looked back. We started selling just a few sets per month, but as new models were introduced the number we were selling was escalating at quite an amazing rate. I can now honestly say that there would be a huge hole in our business if it were not for Linsar.”

The brand’s outstanding offering of smaller TV screen sizes has filled a vital gap and boosted sales for H&H: “During the digital switchover period, demand for small screen televisions locally was huge and none of the big players sell a good selection of small sets. We have traditionally just sold Panasonic TVs, but as they have all but turned their back on smaller TVs we needed an alternative, and that is where Linsar came in. “They have a good range of TVs , available with and without DVD, the ability to record, rewind and pause live TV on to a USB stick (provided free of charge), they come with a

To contact Linsar visit Tel: 0845 555 1101 NOV 2011

The full package for retail profit

“An exciting new product which is backed by a 5-year parts and labour warranty”



commitment to quality and to the independent electrical retailer.” The 5-year guarantee is a feature that retailers appreciate. As Matthew Wilkinson, proprietor of Television House in North Yorkshire, says, it adds the final touch to Linsar’s outstanding all-round offering: “An exciting new product which is backed by a 5-year parts and labour warranty to give both customers and retailers confidence in this competitive market.”

lovely ‘big button’ remote control that is great for our older customers, and the icing on the cake is that they come with a 5 year warranty. “All our staff here find selling Linsar sets a breeze. They offer a great mix of functionality for the price, and the warranty gives the brand real credibility. “We also find that dealing with a small manufacturer is so much easier. On the rare occasion we have a problem we know we can just get on the phone and it will be resolved immediately. And not only that, but if we have any thoughts and ideas about the products, Lynne and Terry take the time to listen and take them on board. “It really feels as though Linsar is ‘our’ brand, and selling these products gives us the opportunity to sell something that isn’t discounted all over the place - so we can make some much-needed profit! “Anyone who is in two minds about Linsar should just give them a go, and I guarantee they won’t be disappointed!”



Digital Cameras: the highs & lows The digital camera market is defined by the fixed lens segment. The sheer volume of sales coming through this segment means that the topline picture of the market is on a downward trend, but it is not all doom and gloom. The changeable lens market has had strong growth, benefitted by healthy sales of SLRs as well as the high sales growth rates of the compact system camera (CSC) since its introduction in the summer of 2009.


nother positive to be taken from the market is that the higher end fixed lens cameras, such as the so-called “Superzoom”, which is a fixed lens camera with an optical zoom of 10X or higher, is also experiencing strong growth rates. The fixed lens market is very much a replacement market, and with competition from the smartphone category, better features as well as new features will be found as a standard.


Fixed lens in decline


Since 2008, the fixed lens camera market has been on the decline; it has only managed three months of year-on-year volume growth out of the last 24. Despite this, the fixed lens camera still makes up the vast majority of the market. Year-to-date (Jan11-Aug11) the fixed lens has accounted for 87.9% of camera volumes. Although this has declined marginally from 90.7% in the previous year-todate, it is clear that the fixed lens still remains the dominant force in the market. The problem could be due to the levels of ownership in the UK and the fact that consumer confidence is at its lowest point. Now that we are in a recession, and most of us already have a camera, people are less willing to part with their hard earned incomes to replace their compacts. To give some kind of perspective, since 2006 alone there have been approximately 30.9 million fixed lens cameras sold in the UK, and it should be remembered the market had been selling strongly long before this date.

and has experienced year-on-year volume growth since April 2010. Interestingly, this is a result of both the extremely high growth rates of the compact system camera, which are a result of it being such a new product, and consistently strong volume growth in the SLR market since July 2010, even though it has been on the market for a much longer time. Another plus is that the changeable lens sector accounts for a great deal of value. It accounted for 39.7% of all digital camera value sales in the current year-to-date. This is an increase on the previous year-todate where the changeable lens market accounted for 34.4% of all value sales. This is not just because fixed lens volumes have

Growth from Knowledge been declining, as value sales over the past 12 months in the changeable lens sector increased by 12% compared with the previous twelve months.

Superzoom ups and downs Another somewhat bittersweet point to be noted is the growth levels of the Superzoom category. Year-to-date growth of the Superzoom compared with the previous year stands at 42% in terms of volumes. This fact is indicative of consumers replacing their older models with higher spec models and the growth is definitely a positive. But on the flip side, it simply means that in order to compete, brands are going to have to keep improving their compacts as a standard which is a possible result of the smartphone’s introduction. With the smartphone’s everincreasing photographic capability, the traditional camera brand is going to have to keep extending its camera offer to stay ahead and to ensure that consumers are willing to carry an extra camera around with them.


Changeable lens “growing strongly” Generalisations of the market must, however, be avoided as on the other side of the market the changeable lens segment has been growing strongly over the past 24 months

 For further information please contact Aaron Harris in the UK on +44 870 603 8231 or email GfK. Growth from Knowledge



Wet wet wet Alan Bennett on dealing with liquid ingress Cleaning

offered cheap tickets to (amongst

If the gear has been totally immersed

others) shipwrecked mariners.

in seawater dismantle and wash it


History does not relate how applicants for

thoroughly in clean (preferably distilled)

these proved their eligibility – a note from

water. If the wetting was confined to a

This is best done over a 24-48 hour period,

Davy Jones, a certificate from Neptune

smaller area, dry then scrub it with a

with the PC board face-down over a warm

himself, perhaps? Maybe they had to

solvent such as isopropyl alcohol several

air stream like that above a radiator or in

present themselves, still dripping wet and

times over, drying it each time with paper

an airing cupboard. Alternatively you can

festooned with seaweed, at the booking

towels. Cotton buds and a small stiff

use (with small assemblies) a silicon gel

office? A picture of the ship, impaled

brush, perhaps a toothbrush, are good

desiccant in a sealed enclosure such as

on rocks or lying on the seabed, would

for scrubbing away corrosion. On printed

a bag or box. Desiccants can be bought

perhaps have clinched it – but this was

circuit boards remove and clean separately

from photographic stores, or used ones

before the days of electronic cameras

components in the thick of corrosive

reactivated (dried out) in an oven on a very

and photographic mobile phones. Now

deposits, taking anti-static precautions

low heat setting.

it’s the cameras, phones and satnavs

when necessary. Be especially thorough

which are more likely to be presented,

around ICs where liquid and corrosion


wet or corroded, for attention. Can they

concentrates between leadout pins. If it’s

When power is finally applied the

be salvaged?

easy, remove ICs altogether for cleaning

equipment may or may not work! If it

There must be a second drying stage.

or replacement, and likewise multi-pinned

doesn’t the likelihood is that components

components such as edge connectors. All

have been damaged by improper current

The answer is maybe. My grandson dropped

of these can harbour fluid and corrosive

flow through liquid and salt-corrosion

his Game Boy down the lavvy the other day,

salts on their undersides. Be warned that

paths. It is worth re-programming software

and we’ve had mobile phones, zappers,

isopropyl alcohol may attack some plastics.

in case the data memory was corrupted

First steps

even laptop PCs, dropped into various

due to the same cause, and then – in a

types of liquid – seawater is the worst one


– brought to us in the hope of repair. It is

If the printed circuit board, phone or

– perhaps replacing suspect damaged

common for beer, rain, flower-water, cat’s

whatever is very wet (now with clean

components. The problem here is that (even

urine (ugh) etc. to spill down inside the back

water) the next stage is to dry it thoroughly.

in analogue circuits, normally amenable

of a TV or over a video player or receiver

Don’t be tempted to apply power until

to logical faultfinding based on symptom

box. In all these cases the most vital first

you are sure that drying is complete. The

assessment) the multipath random

step is to remove the power, be it a battery

use of a hairdryer is not recommended:

electrical leakage currents give rise to all

or the mains, before switching on to prevent

excessive heat can damage the board and

sorts of baffling effects which defy logical

the electrolysis and consequent corrosion

electronics, and a blowing action, even a

analysis. Maybe you’ll have to give up on it.

which arises from operating voltage being

cold one, can drive moisture further into

present. The next step is to see whether

components, gaps and voids, doing more

works at first switch-on after treatment, is

there’s any accidental damage insurance

harm than good. The best tool here is a

that spots of contaminant may remain on

policy in force. If there isn’t, step three is

vacuum cleaner, used to pull dry air at room

metal surfaces to cause trouble later as

an assessment of the likely level of damage

temperature over the damp assembly. Do

corrosion gradually eats away, on a tiny

(thus the chance of recovery) and the value/

this in a warm place, and if possible rig up

scale, at copper conductors: for example

replacement cost of the equipment. There

the assembly and the vacuum cleaner so

PC print and wound components of any

is no point in taking time and trouble in an

that you don’t have to hold either of them:

sort. These latter are best replaced if at all

attempt to restore the operation of a cheap

this can get tiring over the 30-60 minutes

suspect because it is seldom possible to

or easily replaceable item. Mobile phones

required to dry out a typical small assembly!

clean them thoroughly unless they’re sealed.

have moisture sensors inside; they turn

In the case of solvent-treated surfaces this

from white to (e.g.) red when they get wet.

initial drying process is much faster.

large or expensive PC board or assembly

The other danger, even if the equipment

And little Alex Bennett’s Game Boy? I’m afraid it didn’t make it...



ong ago there was a railway which



” He “fell” into the electrical industry, having spent his final years at school drinking, but he has a romantic

side and proposed in one of the exotic locations for which he’s acquired a taste. Subodha Bhatt is product manager, major domestic appliances at Panasonic. Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry? I kind of fell into the industry in a role that came up at Dixons Retail many moons ago

Who in the industry would you like to spend time with? If he were alive today, Steve Jobs

What makes you laugh? Russell Peters – Canadian Stand-Up Comic

What was the greatest turning point in your life?

Can’t think of anything right now

Any hidden talents? I can touch my toes with my nose


The current economic crisis

Photography and travelling (lots!)

Greatest achievement?

What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told? Blaming my older brother for smashing the back door. It was me!!

Keeping my proposal to my wife a complete surprise, until we reached the edge of Victoria Falls

Greatest regret?

What sort of music do you like?

None that come to mind

What would you put into Room 101?

Drinking my way through my A Level years at school

My iPhone contains quite an eclectic choice, Drum’n’Bass to Bollywood

Pet hate?

Favourite quote?

Never cutting my toe nails

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

NOV 2011

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

Any particular fetishes?

Any bad habits?


Stop the leaders of leading nations bailing out so many other economies rather than focusing on their own

Buying my first home and then meeting my now wife, and gaining a very large new family!

People sniffing with a runny nose!


You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day. What would be the first change you would make?

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My family

Name your poison

Favourite TV programme? At the moment it’s Boardwalk Empire

A rather large lottery win and travelling the world

What surprises you?

Favourite holiday destination?

Nothing any more

Fiji - hence the answer above

What’s your favourite cuisine?

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

You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice. What character would you like to play? Aladdin - he’s got access to the crazy Genie

Those who lie and become unraveled from their own web

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Living the dream

What’s your greatest fear? Spiders in an enclosed space

Whom do you most admire? Nelson Mandela – even when imprisoned he continued his struggle against apartheid, and eventually won his battle. An inspiration to all

What’s your favourite piece of kit? iPad 2 – it goes everywhere I do

What motto do you live by? Live now, for tomorrow you’ll find that life is no longer there, and then you haven’t lived at all

Tomorrow I will… …be going to the airport three times, and not on holiday myself

“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’” – Yoda, Empire Strikes Back

Entertainment Manager at a top-level resort in Fiji - the most stunning place with zero interruption from the outside world


…and who deserves it?

Black Label Smirnoff

What do you daydream about?

Cutting my hand open with an orange in my hand: the pain! Ouch!

What’s the best kind of punishment…. Comeuppance after a lie or series of…

Independent retailer: “I take my hat off to any retailers who can make a profit out of selling consumer electronics”

Manufacturer: “I have not seen such radical changes in the UK electrical retail sector in all my years in the industry. We are all going to have to get used to dealing in a very different way”

Open 6 days a week Domestic Appliance Distributors are your home goods specialist. We are a major distributor of domestic appliances and electronic goods throughout the UK. It is our job to bring you the newest appliances at the lowest prices. We stock the latest brands and continue to offer expert and friendly advice to our customers. We pride ourselves with offering the best prices with the best service.

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Profile for Get Connected Magazine

Get Connected: November 2011  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry

Get Connected: November 2011  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry