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THE KNOWLEDGE Whirlpool’s Green Generation: Developing an ongoing strategy for products that consumers want in a greener future


When 21,000 customers say these are the UK’s top independent electrical retailers, everybody listens…

GfK facts and figures on eco-friendly products

FROM THE BENCH Alan Bennett examines “image-lag” in LCD panels and its impact on the fast-moving gaming experience

BACKCHAT Industry eavesdroppings and a 2-minute interview

See pages 18, 19 in this issue

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The Word

In and around the industry / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

The Product Gallery

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The Knowledge

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Growth from Knowledge Green business growth

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From the Bench

Alan Bennett talks “screen lag” / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /


Industry comment and a 2-minute interview with Gtech’s Nick Grey


21 CHANGING SEASONS 22 TV 23 George Cole Gets Connected 24 Home Comforts 28 Pick of the Season Product Gallery 30 Gadgets & Power 34 Small Appliances / / / / / /

Integral Supplement featuring:

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Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 88633

Editorial & Publishing Director: Terry Heath Telephone: 01420 88633

Magazine Advertising Sales: Telephone: 01420 88633 Creative Director: Will Dobson

Subscriptions & Circulation: GCCD, 13 Premier Avenue Grays, Essex RM16 2SB. Telephone: 07818 088671 Fax: 01375 370436

Advertisement Production Administration: Will Dobson Telephone: 01342 850 456

Annual subscription rate (inc. postage): UK £88; Overseas £108.

Production and Print: Sparta Press, Blackfen, Kent. Copyright © 2010 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.

OCT 2010

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

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Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief


OCT 2010



ooking back over the last year or so, this comment page has generated by far the most - and the most supportive – reactions from readers when we have mentioned our banking institutions. Both retailers and manufacturers have called and emailed to express their anger about the damage that has been and is being done to UK businesses, and their dismay at the apparent powerlessness of anyone to do anything about it. However, hugely popular as it is, “bank bashing” (the pejorative term somebody’s coined for expressing a critical opinion) is becoming old hat and we’re going to desist from indulging in it quite so frequently. It’s an easy target, but is increasingly exposing its exponents to charges of naivety and, lately and quite bizarrely, of Marxism. Get Connected, with its track record of market awareness and support of business enterprise, doesn’t want to be branded as a Marxist tract! But, most importantly, since we are not in the business of flogging dead horses, there’s no point in persisting in futility. It’s clear that neither our Government nor the banks’ business customers can, or will, do anything about it. So we might as well accept the dominance of the “markets”, get our heads down, work with the established system and look to the future. That future, for retailers as for most other businesses, is uncertain in everything but the fact that it will probably be a very different place from the environment we have been used to working in for most of our business lives. We don’t know how the “cuts” will play out over the short to medium term, but we do know that business and consumer confidence is still a fragile plant that is suffering in the shadow of austerity to come. Consumers are more cautious, and may choose to save, put major spending on hold and wait for things to become clearer before they commit to big ticket purchases. For electrical retailers, some things have not changed: major appliances are still household necessities and distress purchases (always an opportunity for a good retailer to suggest an upgrade) will not stop; the British taste for consumer electronics, gadgets and home entertainment is powerful, and the nation is still deeply in love with flat panel TVs of all sizes; and retailers have a stellar array of new and improved brown and white goods and small appliances with which to tempt their customers. The next three or four months will, as ever, be a key period for retail, probably intensified this year by the January 2011 rise in VAT and the “one last fling” attitude that some consumers will take as Christmas approaches and the turning year sets an identifiable “austerity deadline”. In this issue, we are looking at some of the products that could help retailers maximise the season’s potential. It’s encouraging at least too see that manufacturers have not slackened their efforts to give retailers something fresh, exciting and stylish to sell.

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consultant Home Economist

Lynne Henry Communications Officer, GfK Marketing Services

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

Top Cat The Voice of The Manufacturer

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

¹ register online at for your FREE copy of Get Connected Magazine


Available across LED, LCD and Plasma TV platforms, with conversion from 2D to 3D using our stylish and lightweight 3D Active Glasses. Pair it up with the world’s first 3D Blu-ray player* the BD-C5900 to create a richer 3D home entertainment environment. *Correct as of March 2010





Creative Director








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CI(H) demonstrates the strength in numbers at 2010 trade show


espite difficult times in retailing as a whole and another shift in the landscape of independent electrical retailing over the past two years, the CI(H) trade show has passed its half-decade with the flag still flying high for the buying community it represents. Stuart Cook, the group’s chief executive, was “absolutely delighted” with the 93% member turnout, and pleased to be hosting 22 prospective new members who were invited to take in a first-hand experience of what CI(H) has to offer. As an affiliate of Euronics International, Europe’s biggest buying organization, and under the diligent guidance of Stuart Cook, CI(H) is a well-built force

that serves a large body of independents with fervour. Its presence, judging by this year’s show which took place on 12th and 13th September at Birmingham’s NEC, demonstrates the strength in numbers and the power generated by the joining of forces. 50 good suppliers took their places to display and sell an array of technology-packed products to some of the UK’s best, customer-oriented retailers. This 6th CI(H) trade show also demonstrated the initiative taken by the group in being as committed to marketing as it is to buying and achieving good margins for its members. Its marketing strategy is extensive. Although too comprehensive to report within the boundaries this article, a taste of the ongoing initiatives includes the re-launch of the

Dorset-based Euronics member E B Marsh & Son is celebrating its 80th anniversary with an 80-day promotional programme concluding with the prize of a plasma TV for a “lucky customer” and a £250 staff incentive. The business was started by Harry and Edward Marsh in 1930 and is now run by Edward’s granddaughter Sarah Palmer and her husband Ross.

successful Euronics website, complete with members’ microsites and the promised “Click and Reserve” facility, and yet again, we will see Mr Plug back on TV prior to Christmas in a campaign running through October and November. A series of lifestyle images that follow the journey from buying a product in-store to having it professionally installed by a Euronics member will be shown. “This is our one strong message to all members,” said Cook. “We are telling people that their independents are local; they stock top brands; they are specialists; they can be trusted, and they offer great service. “We’re not going to advertise price,” he added. “We’re just advertising the strength of the local independent retailer.”

See for the stories behind the news…  High street sales volumes rise again CBI says retailers optimistic for further growth

 New Labour leader must ‘think small first’, says FSB Small businesses the lifeblood of the UK economy

 BRC urges government to rethink business rates Retailers face “double blow” if current system of calculation remains unchanged

 BiBC launches first premium content OTT TV service OCT 2010

 Roberts supports conclusions of DCMS report


Available on Philips NetTVs, with subscriptions starting at £2.99 per month

“Many manufacturers have been getting away for too long with providing lowperformance products…”


2015 is “far too early” for digital radio switchover

 Gtech adds its voice to the EC vacuum cleaner proposals’ debate

 Commission sets up new energy labels for electrical goods Televisions included for the first time

Winners of Euronics trade show prize draw announced Peter Watson, proprietor of Gregor Watson in Saltcoats, Ayrshire, and Steve Upton, co-owner of F C Bailey in Verwood, Dorset, have each won two places at the 2011 CIH conference, which will be held at the luxurious Gran Melia Don Pepe hotel in Marbella from June 6 – 11.

A freestanding collection that’s all about free thinking. Idea 7:

An induction hotplate on a freestanding cooker

Belling FSE60i (60cm)

Introducing our all-new freestanding collection that’s full of big ideas. Let’s start with our groundbreaking induction technology, which provides a smarter, faster, safer and greener way to cook. And, what’s more, all of our freestanding cookers are manufactured right here in the UK, ensuring the highest quality and the best supply. Here are some more great ideas that you can see across our new collection: Idea 33: Flame safety devices across the range Idea 39: Removable inner door glass Idea 6: A energy rated ovens Idea 48: Easy clean enamel



UK’s top independents honoured At an exclusive luncheon in the Langham Hotel in London, three independent electrical retailers received their trophies and congratulations as winners of the Domestic & General Retailer of the Year 2010 Awards. These annual awards, now in their 12th year, are based on what is by far the biggest consumer survey of independent electrical retailers in the UK, with more than a quarter of a million questionnaires generating 21,000 consumer responses and delivering customer judgment on some 2,500 independent High Street and online electrical outlets across the country. With this volume of response from real customers, this is clearly the most prestigious and coveted UK accolade for independents, and the three winners can be justly proud of their achievement. Top of the bricks-and-mortar independents was CI(H) member E E Lane & Sons, trading as Lanes of Cheddar, with an outstanding average score of 18.59 out of 20. Close runner-up in this category was Raff Electrical of Wallington, Surrey with 18.35 out of 20. And top of the Internet Retailer honours with a score of 18.04 was Crampton & Moore of Ecclesfield, Sheffield, taking this award for a record-breaking fourth consecutive year. “Rigorous and comprehensive” The Awards are independently administered by Domestic & General, with the bricks-and-mortar category survey asking purchasers of electrical goods to rate their retailers from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) on four criteria: courtesy and friendliness; overall


appearance of the shop; product demonstration; product knowledge. The results are averaged across all survey responses for that store, giving an overall score out of 20. For the online category, customers were asked to score on: product information provided; appearance of the site; ease of navigation; convenience of delivery. Jeff Griffiths, National Accounts Director at D&G, commented: “This year’s ROTY survey has been the largest and most comprehensive to date and showed once again that the traditional values of independent retailers make a big difference to business on the High Street and online. With a single point out of a maximum 20 points separating the top 100 retailers in the survey, the competition was very close indeed. Clearly, first class customer service is keeping the best independent retailers in healthy business.” Traditional values with a cutting-edge twist All this year’s winners have a strong track-record in retail. Lanes traces its history back to 1878, sells a broad range of hardware and electricals and majors on the traditional values of service and product knowledge. Raff Electrical has been trading for 50 years and prides itself on an excellent reputation and knowledgeable, experienced staff. Crampton & Moore has been retailing for four decades and, with the inception of the internet operation 7 years ago, has created the winning formula of a trusted local bricks-and-mortar business alongside a national high-tech web business. Winner Melanie Moore encapsulated the power and credibility of the D&G Awards: “what I like is that it is so objective. We don’t have any direct involvement with the survey, and all we can ever do to influence the result is to keep on doing the best we can for our customers.” Salient facts for today’s retailers Because of its extensive coverage and pertinent questions, the D&G Survey also throws light on some important 21st century facts of retail life. For example, customer loyalty is important with 42% of consumers choosing a retailer they have bought from before (up from 41.5% last year), whereas brand loyalty is much lower with only 21.5% going for the same brand for replacement or upgrade. White goods brand loyalty is a lowly 20.2%, and for consumer electronics it is little better at 22.3%. Significantly, price, even in these straitened times, is only fourth priority for white goods customers (14.2%), and sixth (10.6%) for brown goods buyers. To find out if – and how well- your outlet figured in the D&G 2010 Retailer of the Year league table, email:


OCT 2010

Whirlpool’s Green Generation Range comes together


At a press event in London on 28 September, Whirlpool brought together its Green Generation Range of laundry, dishwashing and refrigeration appliances and set out the company’s vision for sustained development of ecologically sound appliances. Silvia Del Vitto (pictured), European Senior Whirlpool Brand Manager and Project Leader of Green Generation, explained that Whirlpool, as a global leader in the manufacture of household appliances, has adopted a holistic approach to green issues, caring about “the environmental impact of its products throughout all their lifecycle, from design to production, to their use by the consumer and final disposal”.

Ecological responsibility is not new to Whirlpool, and technologies such as Whirlpool’s 6th Sense are not only saving energy and resources in homes now, but are capable of adapting intelligently to produce additional efficiencies into the future, in a world where the scope for incremental savings on the use of energy by domestic appliances must become more and more restricted as products reach a peak of refinement…  Read more about Whirlpool’s eco strategy at (See ‘The Knowledge’ on pages 14 & 15 of this issue for in-depth product information)


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The only place to be seen this year is at the ‘A-List’ Big Tour 2010, featuring the biggest names in kitchens and bathrooms. Over 30 of the top manufacturers will be in attendance at an exclusive venue near you to give you incredible deals and helpful advice. With free entry, refreshments and amazing Airmiles prizes to be won, you’ll be given the 5-star treatment all the way.



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Zanussi invests in Italian marketing campaign Zanussi is to continue its investment in the UK market with a new promotional campaign that promises to be the brand’s most exciting and influential for many years. It employs TV, online, regional press advertising, retail park roadshows and POS promotions and features celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo. Graham Bremer, Head of Marketing at Electrolux, said: “This new initiative is designed both to engage the consumer and to drive sales of Zanussi cookers. Consumers will have the opportunity to win a prize that money can’t buy – Gino D’Acampo (pictured) cooking a meal for them in their own home on their brand new Zanussi cooker.” Zanussi is also offering up to £50 cash back on selected cooker models until 7 November 2010.

“Remarkable start” to BCG Big Challenge Action for Children has commended distributor BCG on a “remarkable start” to its Big Tour 2010 ‘Big Challenge’, an appeal that supports fifteen of the charity’s care projects in the UK. James Thackray, Head of High Value Fundraising at Action for Children, said: “The generosity from the industry so far has been overwhelming and we are already seeing some tremendous results.” Amongst the donations to the Big Challenge are twenty-five kitchen appliances from GDHA; a complete kitchen supplied by Bill and Marilyn Pnasier at Junction2Interiors in Oldbury, and another by Adrian Wittering at Wittering West in Kettering; two complete bathrooms have been donated by Twyford Bathrooms.  See for the full story


OCT 2010

CBI revises 2011 GDP forecast downwards


The CBI has revised down its GDP forecast for 2011, to 2.0% from 2.5%, to take into account the government’s belt-tightening measures announced in June. The organization said that it expects the UK economy to continue to grow at a slightly faster pace in 2010 than had been expected, but the outlook for 2011 is “more sluggish” than previously forecast following measures announced in the emergency Budget.  See full story at

John Lewis reported first-half revenues up 14.5% to £1.38bn and a like-for-like sales increase of 12.3%. Gross sales were ahead of 2008 levels by 11.2%. Operating profit rose 76.8% to £35.9m, while underlying operating profit increased 59.4% to £47.5m. Online sales rose 36.1% against a market performance of 16.7%. Comet parent Kesa Electricals posted sales up 8.2% for the three months to 31 July 2010 (4.3% LFL), but gross margins declined by 50 basis points due to product mix. Revenue at Comet increased 6.3% in local currency and 4.3% on a like-for-like basis. Webgenerated sales rose 13% and now represent 14% of total product sales. Samsung is claiming its RL38 fridge freezer to be the best in the UK market after it was rated the number one model in a recent Which? test. The appliance gained the best score in a test of 152 products. Samsung’s RL41W fridge freezer was also awarded a Best Buy. Samsung Electronics has been selected for the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) for the second consecutive year, moving into a tie for fourth place after being ranked No. 10 in 2009. The company also ranked top in the IT industry category and received a grade ‘A’ in a new Carbon Performance Leadership Index BBG/Peerless has recruited Justin Peyton as Director of Sales, EMEA. He will work closely with David Mills, Director of Business Development, to grow the Peerless brand throughout his assigned regions.

Super Hi-Vision TV comes a step closer In what was described as a “historic moment” by Japanese public broadcaster NHK, a “Super Hi-Vision” broadcast said to be 16 times sharper than current HD TV has been sent by the BBC to Japan. The trans-oceanic broadcast was transmitted at a massive 24Gb/sec, and at a resolution of 7680 x 4320. Although no TV that currently exists is capable of displaying Super Hi-Vision at its full potential resolution, NHK says it hopes to be broadcasting it “by 2020”, and some industry commentators are already saying it may be a better bet than 3D TV as an eventual mass home entertainment market option.

Electrolux President and CEO Hans Stråberg is to stand down after nearly a decade at the helm. As of 1st January 2011 he will be succeeded by Keith McLoughlin, who is currently responsible for R&D, Manufacturing and Purchasing for Electrolux Major Appliances and previously headed the group’s North American operation. Electrolux has been recognised for sustainability leadership by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for the fourth consecutive year. Neff has appointed Andrew Pickard to the role of Area Business Manager for Yorkshire and Northeast England. Beko has entered into its biggest ever above-theline advertising ANDREW PICKARD campaign, with TV ads airing through to November. The activity follows largeformat nationwide outdoor advertising during September and is supported by an extensive press campaign in key consumer and home interest titles, from October through to May 2011. Roberts Radio has teamed up with biscuit maker McVitie’s in a loyalty campaign that will give consumers the opportunity to claim a Classic Lite DAB/FM Radio. The reward program will run on packs of McVitie’s biscuits until the end of August 2012.


MasterPartners® gather at Neff Excellence Awards Neff has announced the winners of the 2010 Excellence Awards for MasterPartners® dealers, which were held at an exclusive luncheon at the Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s restaurant in London’s Mayfair. The event was hosted by BBC News Journalist Kate Silverton and attended by all of the nominees of the award categories. The winners were selected from hundreds of entries received from Neff MasterPartner® dealers since the 2010 Awards were announced to the trade in April.  Read the full story at

quality, innovation, design Haier in 2010: a year of change Did you know? Haier is the world’s No 1 white goods manufacturer in terms of retail volume market share per brand for refrigerators and washing machines (Euromonitor, 2009) We invested 60 million USD in R&D in 2009 and we have more than 9,000 technology patents We are listed in Bloomberg Businessweek’s annual ‘Top 50 Most Innovative Companies’ (published April 2010) We have won the prestigious Plus X and Red Dot Design awards for our refrigerators We have 26 years of global manufacturing experience Our white goods include refrigeration, laundry and dishwashing Our turnover in 2009 was 18.2 billion USD We have more than 60,000 employees worldwide We offer a two-year guarantee on ALL products sold through Independents We are committed to growing the Haier brand within the UK

Haier’s R&D centres

Haier’s award-winning refrigeration Haier presents the 3D fridge! The ergonomic design of our 3D fridge has made such an impression that it’s already scooped two prestigious awards: the Plus X and the Red Dot Design Award. This innovative product includes two direct easyaccess freezer drawers. For customers this makes the freezer’s contents easily visible and a lot easier to use. This energy class A+ appliance provides 25% energy savings compared with traditional class A models.

A Haier products are distributed by: • Dimpco, Cloghan, CoDublin, Ireland, +353 18424277 • Inmans, Sheffield, 0114 254 2400 • Portway Domestic Appliances Limited, Andover, Hampshire, 01264 334596 • Westcoast, Theale, Reading, 0118 912 6000

Haier_refrigeration_advert_Sept2010_v3.indd 1

n: Available soo s finish Stunning glas

For more information, please contact: Haier Europe UK, First Floor The Mill, Abbey Mill Business Park, Lower Eashing, Godalming, Surrey, GU72QJ, 01483 411817

17/09/2010 14:07

Fagor iF-900S 5-zone induction hob Fagor’s 2010 collection of induction hobs features this 90cm model with bevelled edge and five cooking zones in a range of sizes. A 28cm Dual Zone on the right hand side of the hob accommodates larger pots and pans but draws the optimum amount of energy for any size of cookware. 

Digital touch controls

99-minute timer on all zones

12 power levels including boost

Seven safety features

Individual controls to each zone

5-year guarantee

01256 308 067

Vogel’s ultra-slim THIN Series wall mounts Vogel’s has introduced a new range of wall mounts specifically designed for ultra-thin LED TVs. The new “virtually invisible” THIN Series is said to offer adequate air circulation for equipment and allows easy access to cables at the rear of the screen. The range supports TVs of 32 to 52 inches, comprises 4 skus and offers lifelong guarantees. 

THIN 305 flat: 1.5cm of space between TV and wall

THIN 315 tilt: 2cm of space between TV and wall; 15-degree tilt

THIN 345 full turn & tilt: 3.5cm of space between TV and wall; 90-degree tilt; 20-degree (R/L) turn

THIN RC 355 remote controlled: 20-degree (R/L) turn; supports TVs weighing up to 25kg

07818 568146

Samsung OmniPro microwave oven Samsung’s OmniPro microwave oven incorporates multisensor technology that enables it to plan and monitor the cooking process from start to finish. Users simply need to select the appropriate programme and the appliance suggests the best cooking accessories, weighs the food item(s) placed in the cavity and estimates the ideal cooking time. A humidity sensor operates during the cooking process to ensure perfect, flavour filled results. 

Sensor Auto Cook; Sensor Crusty Cook; Sensor Defrost

Interactive text LCD display

36L capacity

Microwave 900W/ Grill 1500W/ Convection 2050W

Steam clean function

Multiple accessories

01932 455000

Sony STR-DA5600ES and STR-DA3600ES receivers


OCT 2010

Two new high-end receivers from Sony, the STR-DA5600ES and STR-DA3600ES, build on the ES reputation for superb audio quality, design and construction. Both models are 3D-capable, network connected and packed with the latest home cinema technology.


3D pass-through on HDMI, even on standby, and Audio Return Channel

Digital Cinema Auto Calibration for the best possible sound

DLNA network audio/video capability, with built-in four-way Ethernet hub

1080p video upscaling

On-screen GUI for simple operation

01932 816000


Vax Mach XP multi-cyclone upright vacuum cleaner The new Mach XP is the most powerful upright vacuum cleaner in Vax’s award-winning Mach range. The appliance weighs around 5 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the Mach 7, and is also more powerful, with greater capacity, a longer cord and better tools. The Mach XP comes in two versions – Pet and Reach. The latter has the addition of an extralong stretch hose which reaches right to the top of domestic staircases. 

Constant suction: 225 air watts

Dust capacity 3 litres

10-metre cord

Improved TurboTool+ for lifting pet hairs

Free 6-year guarantee

Mach XP Pet: RRP £149.99 / Mach XP Reach: RRP £169.99

01905 799619

LINSAR Titanium LED TVs Linsar UK has introduced a new range of LED TVs in a high-quality titanium finish. The new collection comprises 3 models: the 19” 19LED805T; 22” full HD 1080p 22LED805T, and the full HD 1080p 24” 24LED805T. SRPs range from £249 to £329. Standard features common to all units include: 

Integral DVD player

HDMI and PC inputs


Plug, play & record via USB facility

Electronic programme guides

‘Big Button’ remote control

01202 576943

OmniMount Link Series AV support system This new modular system from OmniMount comprises a number of components that combine to create an elegant, single unit to accommodate most home entertainment equipment. At the centre of the Link Series is a combined unit featuring a table and two enclosed cabinets, which holds TV screens up to 65 inches. This centrepiece (LT63) has an RSP of £659.99. Further components in the range: 

Stackable cabinet with removable legs (LC31) supports up to 23kg – RSP £289.99

Black glass shelf with brushed nickel legs (LS31) supports up to 23kg – RSP £79.99

Deck of two enclosed cabinets (LDC31) holds equipment weighing up to 45kg – RSP £579.99

Caple’s latest extractor is a ‘flush to ceiling’ model offering an elegantly discrete solution for the removal of cooking odours and grease, and for open-plan living too. This stainless steel appliance uses perimetric extraction for reduced noise and increased pressure and is operated via a user-friendly remote control. 

Extraction motor installation in ceiling or on external wall

Three different motors available with extraction rates from 1000m3/H and maximum noise levels starting at 62 dB(A)

4 extraction speeds; 4 x 20W dichroic lights with dimmer

Aluminium grease filters

RSP from £1173

0117 938 1900

OCT 2010

Caple ‘flush to ceiling’ extractor fan


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sponsored by

“The Green Generation is the best energy-saving and sustainable appliance range we have ever offered”


OCT 2010

– Juliana Sado, Whirlpool Brand Marketing Manager


In a world where sustainability has become a top priority, Whirlpool, the largest global manufacturer of major domestic appliances, is a company with a vision. A continued strategy in developing a 360-degree approach to the entire product lifecycle, from development to disposal, has created a broad portfolio of products that demonstrate the result of constant research and innovation and an uncompromising stance on meeting environmental targets. The brand’s design-led, intelligent appliances, which use patented 6th Sense® technology to perfect operational performances and ease of use, are firm favourites for many households. In this series of The Knowledge, Whirlpool introduces its Green Generation Range – a collection that exhibits and validates how vital innovation is to sustainable development and how consumer needs will be fulfilled, today and in the future, by the use of modern technologies.

The Green Generation… evolution or revolution? Caring is sharing – it’s in the gene


ince 1970, Whirlpool has had a corporate office dedicated to environmental control, which underlines and drives its long-term commitment to the protection of natural resources. “The preservation of our planet is part of the company’s DNA,” says Brand Marketing Manager Juliana Sado. “Whirlpool is a leader in developing products that support sustainability and help homeowners use energy more efficiently.”

Introducing the range Green Generation is a collection of Italian designed, European-built refrigerators, laundry appliances and dishwashers that reduce energy and water consumption and provide householders with savings on utility bills. This stylish range uses Whirlpool’s patented 6th Sense® technology, which intelligently senses, adapts and controls the operation of appliances, to obtain best performances all round.

Laundry Green Generation washing machines offer A-30% energy efficiency with capacities of up to 9kg. Next generation 6th Sense® technology senses, monitors and automatically adapts resources to the size of the load and level of soiling, saving up to 50% on energy, water and time. These machines also incorporate a patented, automatic Detergent Dosing Recommendation system that saves money and reduces the use of harmful chemicals. “We believe this is the first machine that can recommend the correct amount of detergent for every wash automatically,” says Juliana Sado. “Excess detergent wastes money and pollutes our water systems, and we know the majority of consumers constantly overdose.”


Tumble Dryers


Green Generation tumble dryers offer capacities up to 9kg. Model AZA 9780 delivers a high-end, affordable A-class for energy and it won’t take years to pay off as it is based on traditional technology. Whirlpool’s 6th Sense® detects the level of humidity in the load and automatically monitors, controls and adapts the temperature and air flow to the load size, providing drying times that are 30%¹ faster. This equates to a time saving of 45 minutes² when compared to a conventional tumble dryer. The unit’s ‘Carisma’ design and aesthetics complement the Green Generation washing machine range perfectly.

Food quality goes far beyond controlling and maintaining the appropriate temperature. Relative humidity plays a significant role. Too little humidity causes drying, while too much promotes mould and bacteria growth. Now, maximising food freshness and minimising food wastage, using as little energy as possible, is truly doable, due to Whirlpool’s Green Generation A+ energy-rated refrigeration with 6th Sense® Fresh Control™, a technology that guarantees perfect humidity levels throughout the whole cabinet, not solely in a single drawer. 6th Sense® Fresh Control™ controls, monitors and adapts temperature changes and restores the cabinet to the perfect temperature five times faster than a conventional fridge. Juliana Sado explains that the innovation ensures that consumers can keep food as fresh as the day they bought it, up to four times longer. “For example: ham will keep fresh up to four days longer, spinach three days longer and pears up to seventeen days longer. This is a great convenience and resource-saving feature. Food conservation is an important and crucial factor and presents a superb trade-up opportunity for enterprising retailers.”

Dishwashing The Green Generation dishwasher has 13 placesettings and a third wash level that provides 30% more space, and is already an Award winner. It boasts best-in-class cleaning, energy and performance with triple ‘A’ ratings and has recently been awarded a ‘Best Buy’ from leading consumer magazine Which?. 6th Sense® technology cleverly recognises the level of soiling on dishes and optimises the use of water, energy and time to achieve energy savings of up to 50%. Whirlpool’s PowerClean™ MAX system eliminates pre-washing of heavily soiled items and promises a 35% better clean, while 6th Sense® AquaSteam technology ensures that glassware and delicate items are at the same time being cleaned gently, safely and thoroughly.

The future is nearly here…

FRESH CONTROL KEEPS FOOD FRESH UP TO 4 TIMES LONGER* *compared to a Total No Frost appliance

















Whirlpool has been working in recent years on the GreenKitchen™ 2.0 project – an integrated eco-system created by combining appliances in a synergetic way to save water, heat and electricity and increase energy efficiencies by up to 70%. At first glance, the GreenKitchen™ 2.0 looks very similar to a ‘normal’ kitchen. It is the ecosystem technology behind that differentiates it. Whirlpool’s goal of reducing global emissions and saving resources can be accelerated through integrating smart, energy-efficient appliances on a ‘smart electricity grid’. Smart appliances shift the paradigm for products from being passive devices that drive emissions to being active parts of the electricity infrastructure, which can be drawn upon for energy storage and optimisation of the grid. The future lies with smart appliances, and consumers will come to play a key role in reducing peak demand, lowering costs and creating environment-friendly power generation. The Green Generation range is the first step in creating the ultimate green kitchen of tomorrow.














+ Cheese


Sales Support Whirlpool has launched a new range of eye-catching, informative point-of-sale materials for trade partners to help convey the features of Green Generation products and educate customers on the benefits. To find out more about Whirlpool’s Green Generation appliance range call your Regional Business Manager or Whirlpool on 0208 649 5000, or visit

¹Comparison between drying time per kg on 6th Sense® machine in A class versus a standard 6th Sense® machine on cotton programme. ²Comparison between 17 min per kg on Whirlpool 6th Sense® B class machine and 12 min per kg on new Whirlpool 9kg A class on normative programme.



Eco-friendly consumer electronics products

Growth from Knowledge

What are consumers really concerned with when it comes to the ‘green credentials’ of our electrical items? Is it a genuine attempt to stave off global warming or a more realistic effort to save pennies in these difficult financial times? Either way, the focus on eco-products is mounting focus – but what does this mean in the world of Consumer Electronics? GfK Retail and Technology, Senior Account Manager Richard Gregory reports


he recent IFA fair in Berlin did not blow the mind with new electrical products; rather, there was more sharpening of the existing technology that was seen in the same halls in 2009. What was evident, though, was the homage paid to larger and larger screen TVs. This can only worry the eco-conscious among us that believe that innovation should increase our current enjoyment of entertainment, but at the same time it should not cost the environment or our pockets when it comes to energy bills.


OCT 2010

Eco features


What should we be looking for in the newest crop of TVs? Some of the more innovative products now have auto dimming that can sense external light levels and adjust accordingly; there are also presence sensors that will turn off the screen if no heat or movement is found in the room. At GfK we have not seen great numbers of these coming through the tills but it is heartening to know that the average consumption figures of the more popular models are decreasing. Also keep an eye out for figures showing energy used on standby, as this is also coming down (although the message still stands to turn off at the plug when not in use). The newer LED backlit TVs also boast more efficient consumption figures, and in July 2010 sales reached 20% of the volume of 50”+ models. The next generation of OLED products will add to the ‘greening’ of TV products. The recent surge in the consumption of flatpanel televisions in Great Britain (over 10 million in the latest 12-month period) shows that we have embraced the slimmed-down version of our most used household CE appliance, and the recent Football World Cup added to the percentage of larger screens sold (almost 60% of TVs sold in June were above 30”).

Integration The common issues around these slimmer versions are that sound suffers because of the lack of space for the speakers to operate, therefore necessitating an additional audio source or home theatre solution – great for the electrical retailers, but it must raise eyebrows for those concerned with the conservation of our planet. The introduction of Blu-ray models also seems to have pushed up the average energy consumption of home theatre solutions. The obvious answer is the integration of these products, and the last 12 months to July 2010 saw that 26% of all TVs sold included a DVD player and almost all had digital tuners,

so saving on a couple of boxes in the room. But most of these would have been for second or third rooms as integrated DVD is still very much limited to smaller screen sizes. When will we see larger screen sizes with integrated Blu-ray? I do believe, however, that CE manufacturers do have this on their agenda and the upcoming introduction of energy labelling for brown goods in 2011, similar to that already in force for white goods, should allow consumers to make up their own minds about the true energy efficiency of their precious purchases.

 For further information please contact Richard Gregory in the UK on +44 870 603 8259 or email GfK. Growth from Knowledge



Image lag

timing settings can be trimmed to optimum – this applies, for instance, to Guitar Hero and Rock Band, both critical for image lag. In TVs and monitors which do not have a game setting, it’s been found that a reduction in image lag may be possible by

Alan Bennett reports on an important TV issue for video gamers

using the VGA input where both the console and the TV support it: for computer inputs less processing/manipulation is generally applied by manufacturers. In this mode try


different resolution/image-structure settings to achieve the best picture with a minimum of delay. With some TV sets a result similar to VGA injection can be achieved by selecting an HDMI input and naming or HARMONY IN A FLORAL SETTING

assigning it a PC role.

modes involve more (and more complex)

their image delays between different makes,

data-processing in which further delay

models and designs, also age, though I’ve

is utilised to provide time-related picture

found no particular trends in respect of

data for sharpening, smoothing, motion

the latter. Image lag generally has to be

enhancement and so on. All of these

set empirically and judged subjectively

lead to the image lag which so upsets

because there’s no simple way of

serious gamers. It’s mainly manifest in LCD

measuring it: the most common method of

Image lag is not noticeable at all on

equipment, though plasma displays are by

doing so involves feeding an image of a fast

broadcast TV reception or video playback

no means immune to it.

count-up clock display simultaneously to

so long as the sound is kept in synchronism

the test screen and a CRT (with its zero lag)

with the image. The problem arises when


playing video games which call for fast

Something can usually be done to reduce

after a fixed interval or number of frames.

player reactions or synchronisation

the effect of image lag. The first thing to

The difference in the readings indicates the

between on-screen events and the player’s

check is whether the TV/monitor has in its

delay in ms introduced by the thin screen.

manipulation of a joystick or whatever.

picture or setup menu a games mode, not

Delays in the screen response of just

always mentioned in the instruction book!

In the shop

20-30ms are noticeable, while a lag of

This inhibits the action of the enhancement

Not long ago, neither manufacturers nor

70-100ms, one fourteenth to one tenth of a

‘engine’ and reduces processing delays as a

retail shop staff were very much aware of

second – or more – can render some games

result, at the (subjective) expense of picture

image lag, though many devoted gamers

virtually unplayable.

quality. In the absence of this feature, for

were! Awareness is much higher now,

gaming purposes switch off (within the

especially amongst set makers who are also

which takes place inside the TV/monitor.

menu) image enhancement features. One of

in the games console market (e.g. Sony) and

While CRT screens and drive circuits

the longest signal delays in TV arises from

retail shop staff who are themselves into

have virtually zero image delay (real-time

the de-interlacing process, and can be cut

game playing.

operation) the operation of thin screens

short by setting the console to produce

involves signal delays. Any incoming signal

a progressive signal – see its instruction

distinguished by the service they offer their

whose picture structure does not match

book. There are other tweaks here which

customers, and in this realm you can help

that of the display screen has to be rescaled

can help too. The TV’s rescaling operation

by letting prospective buyers bring their

to achieve compatibility. Some input signals

can be bypassed by making the console

consoles and games into the showroom to

need to be de-interlaced, while analogue

provide an image which matches the native

try; by offering advice based on the above

feeds must be converted to digital form. All

operation of the display panel: typically

suggestions; by being ready to experiment

these processes involve manipulation of the

1080p with a PS3 or Xbox360 and a Full-HD

with settings and consulting instruction

data, holding it momentarily in field-store

screen, 720p for a 1280×720 panel etc.

books; and perhaps by stocking or quickly

memories while the image-panel drive

Earlier consoles like the Wii and the PS2

sourcing VGA leads and the like.

is being composed. Image enhancement

were based on a 480p structure.

The delay is due to the image processing

then photographing the two side-by-side

Independent TV dealers are

Good selling, good gaming....

OCT 2010

Picture processing

TV/monitor sets vary tremendously in


s the popularity of video games consoles increases, and as they get more sophisticated, the issue of image lag (aka input or screen lag) comes more to the fore. It relates to the time delay between the application of an image change to the TV/monitor and its appearance on screen. It’s not to be confused with LCD pixel response time, now typically four milliseconds (ms), which if too long gives rise to blurred comet-tails on fast-moving images.

Apart from the console, the game itself may offer a calibration feature in which



The Domestic & General

Retailer of the Year Awards 2010 274,000 consumer surveys. 21,000 customer responses. 2,500 independent electrical retailers nationwide. trophies.



OCT 2010

This is the UK’s biggest consumer survey of independent electrical retailers.


The winners have come through a searching and exacting examination and have something to be seriously proud of. Michael Baulf, proprietor of Lanes of Cheddar collects the Retailer of the Year trophy. “Traditional values of service and product knowledge, plus active involvement in the local community.”

The industry salutes its independent retail champions of 2010.


Melanie and Robert Moore of Crampton & Moore, winners of the Internet Retailer of the Year Award. “A winning formula of a trusted family business combined with a national high-tech web business.”

See page 8 of this issue for details of the D&G Retailer of the Year Awards


Debbie Griffiths, proprietor of Retailer of the Year runners-up RAFF Electrical. “An excellent reputation and knowledgeable staff with a wealth of experience in the electrical retail sector.”

OCT 2010




” Nick Grey, owner and founder of Gtech and doting father of two, confesses to having rather too many bad habits, we think. But then who wouldn’t forgive such a modest, handsome stallion of a man his shortcomings? Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry? My first job for Vax came up locally so I stumbled in, but loved it and stayed

Who in the industry would you like to spend time with? I like spending time with the people at Gtech. They are good fun and get behind what we are doing

What makes you laugh? My children of 2 and 4 years old are really funny and very good company!

What was the greatest turning point in your life? I’m not a big one for turning points – more of a plodder and planner

Hobbies? Surfing and gardening What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told?

John Deere 3235 lawn mower

You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice, what character would you like to play? Lightning McQueen Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change? My age –

A handsome stallion of a man… naturally!

How do you think others see you? Control freak, but good at being creative and imaginative

What’s your pet hate? Products you can tell have never been tested and don’t work

Do you have any bad habits? Hundreds. The main one is I can be too vague

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

Favourite TV programme?

What’s your favourite piece of kit? What motto do you live by? Be careful

Tomorrow I will… …Listen more and talk less

Do you have any hidden talents? Oh no, if I’m any good at anything I like people to know

Do you have any particular fetishes? I’m a bit obsessive about

What’s your greatest achievement?

How would you describe yourself?

Probably Steve Jobs

I’d halve it, but not miss anything

What’s your greatest regret? Not asking my

and tried

OCT 2010

Favourite cuisine? Italian

It wasn’t me (childhood)

What historic figure do you identify with most? I’d like to think, the spider that tried


Who do you most admire?

people liking our products – does that count?

father about his childhood before he died


opened the door and were unexpectedly helpful to my wife when we went in with the kids recently

Fathering children and our cordless sweeper selling 20 million pieces (Can I have two?)

What sort of music do you like? All sorts: Rod Stewart to Oasis

Favourite quote? Nothing is wasted, nothing is in vain, the seas roll over but the rocks remain

Name your poison? Dry white wine

What do you daydream about? I’m not telling

Favourite holiday destination? Antigua is pretty good – no waves though

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

X Factor – I do have young children!

out on the kids when I’m in a bad mood is the worst feeling afterwards

What surprises you? Less and less as I age,

What’s your greatest fear?

but a group of youths outside McDonalds

My children being unhappy

Female proprietor of an independent retailer:

“When I go to industry meetings or represent the business anywhere I still often get the ‘do you run the shop with your husband?’ or ‘so you’re working for the family business?’ reaction. I try not to sound too sharp when I explain that it’s my business and I own it, run it and am in sole overall charge, but what does it say about how far we still have to go to be accepted as equals in this industry?”

3D TV – a consumer observation:

“Some manufacturer had an exhibition stand at Liverpool Street station about 5-6 weeks ago demonstrating LED & 3D TVs. Quite a few people stopping to look but I overheard people there saying they wouldn’t buy a 3D TV. They might go see a 3D film at the flicks but wouldn’t want to have to sit at home wearing sunglasses to watch TV. Personally, I don’t think it’s as popular as manufacturers had hoped...”


SEBOingX4Pet_bl_GetConnect_Layout 1 04/05/2010 12:43 Page 1 SEBOingX4Pet_bl_GetConnect_Layout 1 04/05/2010 12:43 Page 1

INSIDE: TV Products

George Cole Gets Connected Home Comforts: Cooking & Focal Point Fires

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screen inch and is a tempting proposition for big-screen buyers. Panasonic is also pushing plasma as being the “best display technology for active 3D TV systems.”

3D, or not 3D: that is the question



With the nights drawing in and the dark days before Christmas approaching, the temptation to settle down in front of the box and watch a favourite film or the fresh entertainment provided by new seasonal programming is a powerful draw for consumers. But will that draw be enough to encourage the upgrade of existing equipment. Christmas gloom or Christmas boom – which will it be for TV retailers this year?




ccording to GfK’s Nick Simon, “having achieved sales of 10 million TVs in 2009, TV manufacturers and retailers were in the unenviable position of keeping 2010 volumes as close as possible to that extraordinary total. The World Cup made its usual contribution with combined sales of more than 1.5 million sets in May and June, helped in part by the quick adoption of Freeview HD and even some 3D televisions, but sales have dropped off since.” Well, it’s a bit of a gloomy picture, but, if tradition holds, retailers can expect that half-empty glass soon to become half full, before brimming with Christmas cheer.

Seasonal trends October last year was the start of a build-up that peaked in December with sales of 1.35 million TVs in that month alone. Nearly 46% of all sets sold in the 12 months from August ‘09 to July ’10 were purchased from October to January. The trend for Blu-ray player/recorders, Freeview/freesat boxes and PVRs was similar to that of TVs. Of the 4.1 million pieces sold

in the 12 months from August ’09 to July ’10, nearly 47% (1.9 million units) were shifted in the 4-month October to January period, and December peaked at a volume of 632K.

TV Technologies But what technologies are consumers likely to purchase this season? LCD is still the biggest player in the market: according to GfK, more than 9.1 million sets were sold during the aforementioned 12 month period. But LED, which entered the market at the high end, is moving mainstream as more brands have bought into the technology and the number of products on the market has increased. Apart from the superb viewing experience and low environmental impact offered by LED, the slimness of units is a major draw for consumers. Plasma, which, if top-end figures are believed, looks like it’s slipping away. Not true, however. The technology is, of course, only available in large screen sizes, leaving LCD to feed on the high proportion of the market occupied by small screens. Plasma is said to be the best value in terms of pounds per

Last year in the Changing Seasons Supplement, Steve Lucas, Panasonic’s product specialist, said retailers should make it an “HD Christmas”. A year on, GC asks: will it be a “3D Christmas”? Some months ago, DSGi (now Dixons) said that 25% of the TVs stocked by its PC World and Currys stores will be 3D by December. And competitor Best Buy recently announced a line-up of products from all six 3D TV manufacturers after clinching an “exclusive” deal with Philips. Best Buy Commercial Director Harry Parmar said: “There is already strong interest in 3D technology from our customers and with entertainment from Sky and Virgin Media now available… we’re dedicated to making 3D exciting, affordable and available in all Best Buy UK stores.” John Lewis, too, recently reported consumer interest in the technology. The retailer said at the time that “15% of sales of TVs over 40-inch were 3D-enabled sets.” Comet, meanwhile, recorded summer sales of “thousands” of 3D TVs. Yet a report published a few months ago by Deloitte revealed that only 2% of a survey sample was likely to spend on a 3D-enabled TV over the next 12 months – disappointingly low interest in “the next big thing” in home viewing. Speaking to independents, GC heard from one that “3D is still very much in the ‘wait and see’ category.” Another said: “3D is in customers’ minds, but most want to know about it and are waiting for the content to come through and the prices to come down. And the glasses make it a more expensive, more complicated purchase. Watching 3D is still an event, not an every day viewing experience.” And despite Best Buy taking the 3D bull by the horns, the business’s top brass believe the technology is not being marketed properly. At a recent preview event it was said that, in store and in the way 3D is advertised, consumers get the idea that this is all it can do – “It’s limiting consumer awareness and acceptance.” CEO Brian Dunn said: “The truth is, a 3D TV is your best 2D TV as well. The 3D is just a feature.”

The verdict… Well, the jury may be out as far as a “3D Christmas” is concerned, but the signs are that a “TV Christmas” it will be, especially if commentators are correct in their belief that consumers will spend on “big ticket” items ahead of January’s VAT rise.


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


MAKING THE CONNECTION When you’re designing a consumer electronics product,

s Blu-ray history? The history of consumer electronics

it’s very easy to focus on the wrong features. Take digital

is littered with developments that took the market by

cameras, for example. For years, camera companies fought

surprise. While much effort was being put into developing

a “megapixel war” with adverts for successive models

the successor to the CD – Super Audio CD (SACD) and

boasting about packing even more pixels onto the CCD

DVD-Audio discs – who would have guessed that inferior

chip, even though most people would be hard pushed to tell

compressed audio file formats like MP3 and AAC (used by

the difference between an image produced by 8MP camera

Apple iTunes) would transform both the portable and home

and one by a 10 or even 12MP one. And what’s more,

audio markets? Instead of being the next standard for home

packing so many pixels onto ever-smaller CCD image chips

audio, SACD is now a niche format for audio enthusiasts.

often decreases picture quality...

DVD-Audio seems to have had a quiet death. Some see parallels between the audio and video industries.

Samsung hasn’t been immune to the impact of the megapixel war, but the company has recently put a lot of

Consumers purchased VHS players and tapes in their billions

effort into a feature that most, if not all, camera owners

and then moved onto DVD. The expectation is that Blu-ray Disc

appreciate – making it easy to transfer images from your

will take the baton from DVD, but not everyone agrees. Stephen

camera to other devices. Most digital camera users transfer

McGill, Microsoft’s UK head of gaming and entertainment, has

their images from the camera to computer, where they can

dismissed Blu-ray’s prospects. “Blu-ray is going to be passed by

be sorted, stored, emailed or uploaded to sites such as

as a format,” he claims. “People have moved through from DVDs

Flickr or Facebook.

to digital downloads and digital streaming... so, who needs Blu-

Normally, this involves using a USB computer cable

ray?” A further sign of Microsoft’s lack of enthusiasm for Blu-ray

to connect the camera to the PC, which can be fiddly.

is that the Windows 7 media player does not support Blu-ray – if

But Samsung’s new PL90 camera has a built-in USB

your computer has a Blu-ray drive, you’ll need to use a non-

port, which flips out for easy, direct connection to a PC.

Microsoft video player to watch it.

Another Samsung camera, the ST5500, has three wireless

In some ways, Microsoft’s position is understandable; it went

technologies built-in: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and DLNA (Digital

head-to-head with Sony and others over Blu-ray and HD-DVD,

Living Network Alliance), making it easy to send images to

and lost. If it includes Blu-ray playability on its media player it

a computer, mobile phone, DLNA-compatible photo frame

has to pay a license for the video codecs which de-compress

or television, or even upload them directly to a website or

the Blu-ray video. But McGill’s criticisms can’t be simply

email them to friends.

dismissed as sour grapes. More and more people are watching streaming video online or downloading video (in some cases, in high definition quality). But I think McGill is wrong to writeoff Blu-ray. You need a very fast broadband connection and a play HD video, and most homes have a slow connection – the


average download speed is around 5 megabits per second. The

Great to see Sony is the latest company to offer BBC iPlayer

arrival of 3D on Blu-ray (which requires even more data) makes

on some of its TVs. But it’s a shame that the BBC seems not

downloading even less viable. Coincidentally, or not, at roughly

to have heeded the old saying: “if it works, don’t fix it”. It has

the same time McGill was airing his criticism of Blu-ray, Sony

radically redesigned the iPlayer site, and thousands of users

announced that it was updating the firmware on its Blu-ray

have complained that the latest version is harder to navigate.

enabled PS3 games console for 3D Blu-ray compatibility.

Sometimes new does not always mean better...

powerful computer with a beefy graphics card to download and





Home comforts Food and warmth…

Retail relies on consumer needs, desires, aspirations and sentiment for its survival, and no better a time to draw on these potent sensations than at Christmas. Fast-moving seasonal goods have been in stores for weeks now, bringing the more important features of a homely celebration to mind. So, for those areas of electricals that deal with food, warmth and comfort, the time is right to highlight the benefits of products that fulfil the most basic wishes of the season. A PYROLYTIC OVEN FROM THE BEKO COLLECTION




t would be rare that any consumer would not want the best for their family and friends at Christmas, and good food and a pleasant ambience must surely be top of the list. But when it comes to advising seasonal romantics on the glories of cooking products, retailers do need to remind them that a turkey is, for most households, a one-off annual treat. It is the best appliances suited to everyday lifestyles that should be under purchasers’ consideration.

Seasonal trends Seema Baines, Senior Account Manager for Domestic Appliances at GfK, says the run-up to Christmas is usually a quiet period for the overall MDA sector, and with people focusing on shopping for food and gifts “it is tough for white goods to compete.” She also notes that consumers will hold off on purchases of such items until January because “huge interest” is generated at this time as significant savings can be made on “big-ticket” items. But the cooking sector is one that bucks the overall trend. According to GfK figures, nearly 40% of all cooking appliances sold in the 12 months to July 2010 were purchased in the seasonal retail period running from October ‘09 to the end of January ‘10. That 40% equates to more than 2.2 million units, almost 70% of which were sold in the pre-Christmas quarter.

Nice surprises Customers returning to the market for a replacement cooker or the full complement of cooking appliances after 5 to 10 years will certainly need retailers’ knowledge and experience to clarify their requirements and explain the new technologies that offer energy savings, flexibility and convenience. Not many people will know that today’s “intelligent” ovens, for example, will weigh a joint of meat, automatically select the right temperature and cooking time and brown to the desired level to perfect the end result. Nowadays, even a novice cook can feel confident when entertaining guests, at any time of the year. INDUCTION COOKING WITH ELECTROLUX

2010 brought about a raft of exciting new product launches in cooking, with many brands extending compact ranges in particular, and freestanding products taking on more of the technologies traditionally found in built-in appliances. Even induction cooktops gained a firmer footing in freestanding ranges. This superb technology is still in its ripening stages as far as market penetration is concerned, but it is now available from all major brands, at many price points, and its energy-saving ability; convenient, wipe-clean surface; and stylish, streamlined appearance present a great sales package. It’s faster and more efficient than gas, safer than other hob technologies and prices are now within the reach of many more consumer budgets. It is said that the conversion ratio for induction, when demonstrated, is eight in ten. For retailers prepared to expend their time and knowledge on what is a remarkably demonstrable product, that’s a pretty good deal.

A pleasant retreat Producing the most important meal of the year can be a somewhat unnerving experience for many hosts. Often it takes entertainment to the extreme – more people around the table, more foodstuffs to prepare and keep warm, more drinks to chill and top up, more in the way of multitasking… But entertaining at home is becoming a popular pastime – not simply a practice run for the

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‘big day’ – and on any occasion, when guests are sated, what better than to put the dishes into a dishwasher and employ an inbuilt oven cleaning system. Many brands have bespoke oven cleaning systems, but Pyrolytic systems are very much like dishwashers – once you’ve had one, you won’t want to be without it. Pyrolytic cleaning banishes the use of chemicals and elbow grease: a quick dust-down of the sides of the oven, a damp cloth to clean away the bit of ash in the bottom and the job is done. So when guests retire to the living area to enjoy pleasant conversation, or perhaps watch a Royle Family Christmas Special, the finale of the evening can be enjoyed by the comfort of the fire, with the host present.


Seasonal flames We’re a nation of recreators: we want the best of the all-new, technology-filled world of fast, faceless communication yet still have a desire to relive, albeit in a more modern way, the warm, comforting memories of the past. Memories of twisting and plaiting sheets of old newspapers and chopping pieces of wood for tinder; throwing sugar on the early flames while wishing, wafting and blowing them to life; dealing with hot ashes that, no matter how carefully removed, fluttered around the room, damaging carpets and furnishings in their wake. And many consumers do want the dream of a live, open fire, but not all can accommodate one.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire “Or shall we roast them in the oven?” Jack Frost nipping at your nose “Or shall we think about installing that nice fire?” Yuletide carols……. And folks dressed up like Eskimos “Definitely the fire!” Everybody knows a turkey [not literally] and…. “Definitely a new oven!”

“Darling. Let’s have both”


es. Let’s have both. As mentioned above, retail relies on consumer needs, desires, aspirations and sentiment for its survival, and no better a time to draw on these potent sensations than during the festive season… Dream homes, dream winters, dream Christmases, dreams of childhood memories when the fire, rather than the TV, was the welcoming, heart-warming centrepiece of the home.

Fighting the flames? According to Chris Stammers, marketing director (trade and independents), at heating specialist Dimplex, “psychologists say that in times of economic uncertainty consumers focus on the deep-seated ideal of the home, which becomes their sanctuary,” and the “holy grail” for those that do not have a real fire is the realism of the flame effects that now exist in electric appliances.

Stammers concedes that the fires market has been “challenging” as purchases often have a strong correlation to the housing market. “However, people who accept that the next step up on the housing ladder will not be possible in the near future, do decide to make improvements instead.“ But, he adds: “It means that we’re all looking for real value in terms of price and product quality, which does make it hard for all of us in the industry in terms of trying to maintain margins in such a competitive environment. Then again, most people making a considered purchase will continue to seek out retailers who deliver expert service and reassurance. “It is true that fires have become a commodity, stocked widely by mass market retailers. But this inspires many consumers to look for something different, and independents can score by having models that have an element of exclusivity.” And to help ‘bricks and mortar’ independents selling into the fires market, Dimplex has introduced a ‘Display and Demonstrate’ range which can’t be bought in big-box stores or on the internet. Despite price sensitivity, Stammers believes that people will still pay a premium for an element of exclusivity and, of course, a realistic flame effect. “There is nothing to beat the realism of Dimplex’s Opti-myst effect, which has re-written the fires rule book. Optimyst creates the impression of real flames along with the wisps of smoke that add to the vision of a living fire.” An electric fire is also a practical solution for consumers – Stammers reminds us that the “investment” can be “easily plugged in and just as easily taken away when it comes to moving to another property.”

Fashion and trust… Tune in to many of the home improvement or property-buying programmes on the television nowadays and it is apparent that fires are not only about warmth and comfort in the home, they are fashion statements too. Pebble beds, mirrored frames, designs reflecting those of slim-line TVs…. But products are very much a considered, major purchase. And as Stammers says: “People like to buy brands they know and trust and, ideally, from people they trust. This is where independents will frequently be the preferred channel.”



t’s been another difficult year, and in many ways the final quarter of 2010 could be a pivotal time for electrical retailers. This is traditionally a time to take advantage of the seasonal boost in cooking, gadgets, small appliances and TV/home entertainment sales, but with the shadow of cuts forcing many consumers to be cautious, stocking strategies and sales skills are more vital than ever. There is some comfort for retailers in the fact that 2010 has continued to deliver outstanding, high-function, stylish and simply better products across all sectors. For consumers who are in the market for electricals this season, there has never been a better choice. Here are a few samples of the “Pick of the Season.”

New Plug ‘n’ Play induction from Stoves


Induction is a fast-growing cooking option, and leading cooking appliance brand, Stoves, has unveiled a ‘plug and play’ induction hob that offers easy installation without the need for hardwiring. The Stoves SEH600i13AMP is a 60cm electric ceramic induction hob with touch controls, offering all the smarter, faster, safer, greener benefits you would expect from an induction appliance, with the added simplicity that it can be simply plugged in and turned on. Amongst its features, the SEH600i13AMP boasts 9 power levels, pan detection and pan overheat detection and a safety child lock. Previously, most induction hobs required hardwiring on a 32 amp supply, necessitating customers living in older properties having their internal hardwiring upgraded at an additional cost to them. The product is manufactured in the UK as part of Stoves’ commitment to Made in Britain.

28 0844 24 84 149

Roberts keeps the revival fresh Roberts has launched the Revival iSTREAM, a new version of its iconic Revival model with Wi-Fi internet radio as well as DAB and FM. The unit is finished in black leather with gun metal fittings and comes with a 30-day free trial of, which recommends music based on what listeners regularly choose to play. With FM RDS station name display, 30 presets, stereo line output/stereo auxiliary input/stereo headphone socket , an AC adaptor included and MP3/WMA/AAC /FLAC playback via USB, it’s an up-to-the-minute internet take on Roberts’ Revival series and would make a great Christmas gift. 01709 571 722


Sony NX713 and NX813 3D TVs Smeg and Marc Newson: style and technology personified

Miele’s compact CM5 Barista coffee machine is the brand’s first countertop bean-to-cup appliance. The unit has user-friendly touchbutton controls and simple navigation via a scroll-through menu. It provides water-per-cup programming, selectable coffee strength, four cup sizes and adjustable grind coarseness. The CM5 Barista is finished in stainless steel and will be available in the UK from November 2010.

Smeg’s philosophy of “technology with style” is captured in Smeg’s Marc Newson line of cooking appliances, which combine this world renowned designer’s creative use of colour, soft flowing lines and exciting stainless steel and glass surfaces with Smeg’s proven expertise in outstanding cooking performance and userfriendly features. The ovens range, including the pyrolytic FP610, three designs of the multifunction thermoventilated F610, are available in a stunning array of colours and finishes, intuitive electronic display with large, clear graphics and easy-to-use commands. A nice extra touch for those who prefer a more traditional look and feel is the alternative choice of distinctive silver control knobs. Top-of –therange models have a generous 68 litre capacity, with 5 cooking levels and telescopic guide rails as standard. The gas hobs, all 75cm with 5 gas burners and cast iron pan stands, offer a choice of five colours in enamel, plus stainless steel and two special silky matte glass finishes in black or white.The specially designed vertical flame burners offer 65% more effective performance, significant energy saving and faster cooking. The induction hob range includes 30 and 60 cm widths, plus a 90 cm 3-in-line version with a reduced depth of 35 cm. The positioning of the commands also mirrors the zone positions for intuitive use. This range delivers the superior safety, efficiency and performance characteristics of induction cooking, together with Marc Newson’s outstanding talent to combine cutting-edge technology with user-friendliness and stunning design. 01932 816 000

Humax HDR-FOX T2 Twin Tuner HD Terrestrial PVR The Humax HDR-FOX T2 Twin Tuner HD Terrestrial PVR provides free-to-view HD channels from BBC, ITV and Channel 4, and up to 50 digital TV channels and 24 radio stations. The unit has an 8-day on-screen electronic programme guide, home networking facilities, and a hard disk drive capacity of 500GB offering up to 300 hours’ recording (up to 125 hours for HD). It features Interactive TV service via MHEG, Dolby Digital Pulse Audio Output, HDMI output (1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 576i) and is fully compliant to UK DVB-T2 profile as well as DVB-T. It can record 2 channels at the same time and has 2 hours of live TV buffering/delayed recording. 0844 669 880

Miele CM5 Barista freestanding coffee machine

0845 365 6600

0844 557 0070


With 3D making a bid to be the next big driver of TV Sony has extended its range of TVs with two new BRAVIA® network models combining 3D capability, connectivity and the elegant Monolithic design. Models feature Dynamic Edge LED backlighting, BRAVIA Internet Video straight to the screen, access to social websites via BRAVIA Internet Widgets, 2.1 sound system and Motionflow 100Hz Pro (NX713), 200Hz Pro (NX813).





Consumers love gadgets, and never more so than in the busy sales period between October and January. In some product sectors, these four months can account for up to 75% of total sales for the year in volume terms, so it makes good sense for retailers to stock up well and push gadgets to the fore, says George Cole

DAB radios

MP3 / MP4 players

AB radios have traditionally sold well at this time of the year, and Nick Simon, GfK account director, believes 2010 will be no exception: “Audio and Hi-Fi markets were understandably overshadowed by TVs during the World Cup,” he says, “but the expectation is that DAB will once again occupy its central role in the Christmas gift market.” For the period October 2009 to January 2010, portable DAB volume sales reached 486,000 pieces, representing 50% of sales in this sector for the 12 months between August 2009 and July 2010. December alone accounted for 24% of all portable DAB sales for the year by volume. Value for the October-January period was £29 million, 51% of the total portable market. Owen Watters, Roberts Radio sales and marketing director, says “the digital radio category has performed steadily this year and we have been very pleased with our sales so far.” Roberts has high hopes for a number of DAB products this year, including the Revival iStream, which offers Wi-Fi internet radio, DAB and FM. (a streaming music service) functionality is also built in. The ecologic 7 is a portable offering 150+ hours of battery life, while the Sound 66 is a compact DAB/FM RDS digital sound system with an iPod dock.

According to GfK’s Nick Simon, sales of portable media players (MP3 and MP4) have been boosted by the wide variety of docking devices on the market. In many homes, the MP3/iPod docking station is challenging the traditional home audio setup as the music system of choice. Sales of MP3/MP4 players reached 2.97 million pieces between October 2009 and January 2010, representing 51% of total volume sales for the year. Value was £345 million, 54% of the year’s total. Johan Plasmans, Philips’ senior manager, customer marketing for portable audio video, notes that “the personal audio market generally divides into two segments: consumers who primarily want to access music on the go, with a relatively simple but stylish product, and those looking for excellent audio and video playback, who are increasingly demanding access to applications that enhance connectivity on the move.” Plasmans forecasts that the overall market will remain stable in terms of value and volume growth, but Personal Media Players and MP4 players will enjoy rapid growth, mainly driven by consumers wanting to view high-quality video content and access internet applications on the go. The popularity of sites such as YouTube and BBC iPlayer means consumers now expect to be able to access content anywhere. “Video playback anytime and anyplace has transformed the




face of portable audio,” Plasmans adds. “Consumers are also becoming less interested in owning their own music collection, as music streaming services and online music become increasingly attractive. However, audio-only products will continue to have their place with ever-smaller devices providing high-quality audio for a low price.” Philips has included its FullSound technology (which aims to improve the sound quality of compressed music like MP3 files) across the full range of portable players. The company has also added high-quality headphones to all its 2010 products, including high definition, noise cancelling versions on its top models.




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Omar Gurnah, Sony’s category marketing manager, Walkman and Reader, says that Walkman has had a good year. “We’ve added iTunes sync across the range for the first time. With so many people either buying a secondary MP3 player or looking to replace an iPod, the fact that a Walkman works with their existing music collection is a big deal.” And when it comes to products to watch in the busy sales season? “The new E Series Walkman is the star for us this year, with iTunes sync, BBC iPlayer compatibility for watching TV shows anywhere and built-in karaoke. It’s ideal for younger consumers,” he says.



account manager Sean Fellows points out: “Camcorders same picture quality as a DSLR, but without the hassle are a successful product group of the Christmas and bulk, will grow by 20% by Christmas. trade.” Volume more than doubled from November to Panasonic has high expectations for its Lumix G2 December 09, from 55,000 to 140,000 pieces, and value CSC camera, which includes HD movie recording. The grew 94%, from £14 million to £27.5 million. recently launched Lumix GH2 should also excite the Paul Hicks, Toshiba’s business development more advanced photographer and film maker, with manager B2C products, says the camcorder category features such as sonic speed auto focus and full HD E-readers has performed very well. “Consumers are adopting movies with built-in Dolby digital sound. Electronic readers or E-readers have been around full high definition and SD card-based camcorders Last, but not least ‘digital photo frames’, a category a while, but the feeling is that the market is now in greater volume, particularly within the sub-£200 that brings the photo album into the electronic age. reaching a tipping point, with products moving into the market.” Bestsellers from Toshiba this period, according “These showed a huge increase in volume and value in mainstream. According to Mehryar Hamid, GfK account to Hicks, will include the Camileo S20, a compact, November and December 2009,” reports GfK’s Fellows. executive, “E-reader hardware and associated e-book full HD camcorder available in a range of colours, and “Seventeen times more digital photo frames were content have exploded in 2010. the Camileo BW10, a waterproof sold in December than in September [December sales The number of available models camcorder ideal for outdoor reached 930,000 pieces].” in the UK market has more than activities. Batteries doubled, whilst average selling Barney Sykes, Panasonic’s Just as demand for portable CE products rises at prices have tumbled. “With a subproduct manager for camcorders, Christmas so does that for the batteries that power £100 hardware price point now observes that high definition them. 40% of all batteries sold in the UK are shifted by almost a certainty for Christmas, camcorders are showing doubleretailers in the October to December period (Source: IRI/ expectations for the category are digit growth, and multimedia GfK P12M). understandably high.” (MMC) cameras are showing a And when it comes to managing this category, Hamid adds that E-readers are small growth over the last year. Duracell Business Leader Annaliese Reekie says that a strong seasonal performer, with Panasonic has launched the world’s retailers looking to maximise sales should stock all of the December 2009 accounting for a first consumer 3D Camcorder, the five core-sizes in alkaline and then consider rechargeable third of the total year’s sales by HDC-SDT750, and has entered the cells and chargers and key specialty (button) cell lines. volume. And with launches from MMC market with the HM-TA1, a “The batteries market has always focused on AA/AAA, multiple high profile brands in Q3 pocket-sized HD model. SALES OF EREADERS PREDICTED TO REACH MAINSTREAM TIPPING POINT which accounts for c.75% of sales in the UK. 9V cells are 2010 and advertising flooding the Digital cameras also fly off the an important component as these are used with smoke media, expectations are high for Q4 shelves at this time of the year. GfK’s alarms, but Cs and Ds are decreasing in importance as 2010 and 2011. The highly seasonal nature of E-reader Fellows notes “a continuous growth in volume and fewer devices now rely on them.” sales can be easily discerned by figures for October value in the last three months of 2009.” He says that Duracell, according to Reekie, is committed to 2009-January 2010 – 37,245 pieces (44% of the total Christmas trade started early in this product group, as following consumers’ personal power needs, and this is market) were sold at a value of £7.2 million (45% of the in October 2009 there were already 48% more units what drives its innovation stream. total market). The figures for December 2009 showed sold than in September [520,000 In 2010 the brand re-launched its a sharp peak: 19,248 pieces with a value of £3.7 million. pieces]. Some 1.1 million digital rechargeables line-up, and with “Reader has been performing extremely well,” says cameras were sold in December strong support from retail partners Sony’s Omar Gurnah. “We’ve just launched our newest alone (total sales for the year and national multimedia marketing models which will be key gifts this Christmas, and have were just under six million). Put it has become the fastest-growing seen over 100% growth in the digital reading market another way: almost 25 cameras rechargeables brand in the UK each Christmas since we launched. We’re expecting were sold every minute in (IRI/GfK P12M value sales). “We the same again this year.” Gurnah believes that the December 2009. Fellows points currently have a range of portable main driver behind the success of E-readers has been out that “the biggest segment chargers that accommodate the number of e-books available, which is now over is still fixed lens, but compact smartphones and MP3 players 600,000. He also believes that the Pocket Edition of system (CSC) and SLR cameras for consumers on the go,” she Reader is going to be one of the bestselling gifts in grew over the past 12 months.” says. Duracell Pocket Chargers consumer electronics this Christmas: “It’s more compact Mark Robinson, Panasonic’s (RSP£19.99), Duracell Instant USB and better value than ever before. The touch screen product manager – Lumix, Chargers (£29.99) and Duracell means it’s about as easy to use as a traditional book. If says: “As we approach the gift 2-in-1 Chargers (RSP£49.99) can be you can turn a page in a book, you can use a Reader.” giving season, colours tend to charged from laptops via a USB port. push up sales rates for compact DURACELL POCKET USB CHARGER Digital imaging Reekie believes that consumers cameras. We have also seen This is the time of the year when lots of family events, are still looking for innovation: “They a real interest in our range of social gatherings and holiday trips occur, so it’s no want new, improved products from the big brands they HD movie enabled cameras which start from around surprise that products for capturing memories onto trust, and this is exactly what Duracell has and will £130.” John Mitchell, Panasonic’s D-SLR product tape, disc or memory card are highly popular. And as GfK continue to provide.” manager, says sales of CSC cameras, which offer the



The small kitchen appliance market traditionally performs well during the Christmas period as thoughts turn to the biggest ‘cook in’ of the year and sprucing up the kitchen in preparation for the big day. Small kitchen appliances have also in the past proved to be popular gift purchases, and with prices to suit all pockets, tempting new product technologies and a plethora of outstanding designs and colours on the market, consensus holds that 2010 will be another strong year.

Ato health toast and tradition…




Renewed pressure…

he broad and varied small domestic appliances sector, which comprises multiple product categories – including kitchen appliances, irons and personal care – has on the whole held up exceptionally well during the economic downturn. Indeed, in the first half of this year the sector produced month-on-month value growth of 7.8% – the highest gain of all consumer durables, after telecommunications. Yes, volume sales have slowed, but as the old saying goes, “volume is vanity, profit is sanity” and, according to Steve Lowe, Customer Marketing Manager at Groupe SEB UK, this positive value growth reflects not only price increases but changes in consumer choice. Speaking about the SKA sector: “The markets have been for some time rather polarised between entry and trade-up propositions,” he says. “However, as consumers replace their everyday items, many will want to buy a better made, long-lasting quality product. Real product innovation will always excite the consumer and genuinely useful features and benefits are ensuring that kitchen appliances continue to be a good category for the retail trade.”

latest colour as it taps into the trend and has festive connotations too.” The Cranberry Mixer is amongst Baroffio’s predicted autumn/winter bestsellers.

Seasonal trends

Festive forecasting

The small domestic appliance markets have always seen an uplift around the festive season. Last year, sales started to rise in October and November before peaking in December and January, and Lowe believes that “this year will be no different.” Giorgio Baroffio, Marketing Manager at KitchenAid, notes that there is certainly still a gift-buying trend for small appliances, “especially this year as we have seen the recession slow.” He also believes that consumers are likely to purchase more elaborate gifts this season, and says strong colours continue to be a popular choice for accessorising the home. “KitchenAid has a great offering in the form of its brand new Cranberry Mixer and retailers can expect significant interest in this

Groupe Seb’s Lowe predicts that popular product categories this year will be traditional areas such as Coffee Machines and Food Preparation (Blenders and Liquidisers), but he also believes that products which promote good health will be on shoppers’ Christmas lists. In particular, the Tefal ActiFry – the market’s No. 1 fryer – and the Tefal VitaCuisine Compact Steamer. Both products are part of the brand’s Nutritious and Delicious range, and sales of the ActiFry may well receive an extra boost from a “compelling” ad campaign which Tefal is launching during October to whet consumers’ appetites for deliciously fried food. Less grease means less guilt: this appliance will cook a platter of chips in just a spoonful of oil.


Small kitchen appliances enjoys a diverse collection of product categories – from fun items such as popcorn makers and chocolate fountains, everyday necessities such as kettles and toasters, health products such as grills and juicers through to professional-style food prep and baking equipment and, of course, the musthave coffee machine. It is also a sector in which products drift in and out of fashion and there is always something new to look forward to. Looking back over the past few years, evidence shows that the slow cooker – a popular product of the 70s and 80s – is again gracing kitchen countertops; as is the pressure cooker, another appliance of earlier years, but one which has in the past been described as “the kitchen’s scariest gadget.” However, something must have changed, because Groupe Seb’s Lowe notes that the new Jamie Oliver for Tefal MultiCook pressure cooker is receiving “very good reviews and positive blogs from users.”

Tea and cake Another iconic product, the Swan Teasmade, has also made a recent comeback. At the back end of last year, sales were reportedly “going through the roof.” The new-look Teasmade is said to have gained favour with celebrities while still appealing to the generation who remember the appliance of old. Sticking with tradition, or traditional treats, Swan is due to launch its latest gadget creation, which it says will be “the next top-selling must-have kitchen appliance.” It is the Cupcake Maker – a product that will bake six cupcakes in just 10 minutes. David Foulstone, Marketing Manager at Swan, says: “The economic climate has been about self treating and cupcakes are very much an affordable indulgence. You only have to look at how many cupcake shops have opened up to see how popular these treats are. The Swan Cupcake Maker is very much the right product at the right time and will make an ideal Christmas gift.”

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Get Connected Magazine: October 2010  

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