SEPTEMBER 2011 www.gcmagazine.co.uk
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THE GREEN ROOM Energy efficient appliances: green is good, but in these times do UK consumers care enough about the planet, and the deferred satisfactions of longer-term energy cost savings? www.lg.com/uk
GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED Sky+ is ten years old; 3D manufacturers are finally cooperating on active glasses; HDTV is already old technology. George Cole balances the hype and the reality
FROM THE BENCH As many retailers have moved to offload their rental business as an anachronism, Alan Bennett re-examines the considerable commercial pluses of renting electrical goods and appliances
BACKCHAT Hoover Candy’s Steve Macdonald gives a 2-minute interview
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GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
t’s been another difficult month for the global economy, the Eurozone, UK economic growth, employment, the value of household incomes and overall UK consumer confidence. And, of course, this all has a powerful impact at that great interface between the consumer and the economy we call retail. There are not many electrical retailers – or manufacturers for that matter – who need their trade press to remind them of the obvious, and if you, as a retailer or manufacturer, are irritated by it, bear with me. It does have a point. The point is that the quality of journalism always suffers under the pressure of difficult times. It seems that extreme conditions result in a general move towards lazy cliché. Statistics don’t show a rise or a fall any more. They have to “soar” and “plummet” and “plunge.” And the need to express extremes manifests itself not in a powerful precision and accuracy of language, but in indiscriminate reaching for the easy, common superlatives. Identically apocalyptic headlines repeated many times only cause cliché fatigue, and that just deadens readers’ will to find out exactly what’s happening. A case in point is the media treatment of the post mortem on the riots and disorder that shook communities in and around London and other UK urban centres last month. There is clearly a deep concern among retailers who suffered directly or indirectly from the civil unrest, and a justified worry that it could, unless it’s addressed properly, happen again. The phrase that occurred more than any other in describing the rioters’ behaviour was “mindless violence.” Not only is it the laziest of clichés to reach for. It is also inaccurate. And if the authorities, the public and the retailers who are in the front line on high streets accept that the violence was “mindless,” and try to deal with it as such, we have a very slim chance of ever fixing what went wrong. On the evidence of footage and eyewitness accounts, it appears that large numbers of people made a conscious decision
to use the incipient disorder – regardless of its original motivation – to engage in criminal activity for personal gain. The thought process that went something like: “there are mobs out on the streets, some are smashing shop windows and taking stuff, there don’t seem to be many police about, so we could get down there now and pick up new tellies and laptops and Smart Phones and trainers and designer gear and we probably won’t get caught,” may be described as many things, but “mindless” isn’t one of them. It is no more mindless, in fact, than the thought process that led Lord Taylor, or Lord Hanningfield, or David Chaytor, or Eric Illsley, to make a decision to engage in criminal activity for personal gain by fiddling their Parliamentary expenses. Be they Members of our Houses of Parliament or rioters, they made a judgment by balancing the likely risks of getting punished against the likelihood and extent of personal gain, and decided it was worth giving it a go. So let us – and the institutions, authorities and social commentators who are looking at how such occurrences can be avoided in the future – at least start from the premise that most criminal activity – be it “white collar” or otherwise – is not mindless. MPs and Lords stole from taxpayers because it was profitable, “everyone else” was doing it so why shouldn’t they benefit too, and the chances of getting caught and punished looked slim. Exactly likewise looters who stole from shops during the disturbances. Calling any of this “mindless” implies that there’s no rational explanation, so there’s nothing rational individuals or “society” can do about it. That’s not good news for retailers. They’re on the High Street, exposed and vulnerable, because it’s their business to be close to and open to their local communities. If the only answer to “mindless” crime is to put more riot police on the streets, put stronger shutters on the windows and be suspicious of everybody, there’s not a lot of hope for the UK’s High Streets. Retail trading, like policing, can only work by general consent. If we need it to keep working, we have to put our minds to it.
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
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In and around the industry / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /
Talk on the High Street “You were right all along”
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Home Appliance Care: A fresh solution to the customer care question / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /
The Product Gallery
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Outstanding performance and great economy / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /
The Green Room
A closer look at domestic appliance efficiency / / / / / / / / / / /
George Cole Get Connected
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From the Bench
Alan Bennett on the rental business / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /
Industry comment and a 2-minute interview from Hoover Candy’s Steve Macdonald
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GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
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THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS
Shop vacancy rates stabilize but regional divide widens
UK inflation up again in August ONS figures for August 2011 showed the Consumer Prices Index measure of inflation rose to 4.5% from 4.4% in July. The figure has been above the Government target of 2% since the middle of 2009. Rising costs of petrol, heating, clothing and footwear all contributed to higher prices, but electricals and consumer electronics appear still not to be joining in the general upward trend, as the sector remains largely price-driven and dependent upon promotional discounts.
Falling non-food sales Household budgets cause slowdown in face long-term squeeze August retail growth The Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned of a UK retail sales values fell 0.6% on a like-for-like basis in August following a further slowdown in non-food goods, according to the British Retail Consortium. Total sales, which accounts for the addition of new stores, rose 1.5% against a 2.8% increase in August 2010. The BRC said the riots, which broke out in many parts of England in August, had little impact on the figures; rather, economic factors remained responsible for the lack of growth. “Poor consumer confidence, high inflation and the ongoing squeeze on personal finances remain the biggest threats to the retail sector,” said BRC Director General Stephen Robertson. “Sales of big-ticket items are very dependent on discounting and many retail margins are being cut to the bone. “It remains a tale of two halves. The food sector has proved more resilient but non-food retail showed a marked decrease in sales.”
further decade of hardship following a crosscountry study which concluded that UK living standards recorded the largest single-year fall in 2010-11 in the past 30 years. The IFS said that UK households were relatively insulated from the immediate impact of the recession, but the pain was “most definitely delayed rather than avoided.” Robert Joyce, a Research Economist at IFS and a contributor to the report, said: “As in other developed countries, the most severe consequences of the recession on UK living standards have only just begun to be felt, and will continue to be for years to come.” Previous IFS research has already shown that the decline in average living standards looks set to continue until at least 2013-14.
GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
Operating profits fall 54.5% at John Lewis
Department store chain John Lewis reported first-half operating profits down 54.5% to £15.8 million, impacted by its Never Knowingly Undersold commitment and a “highly competitive” trading environment. Gross sales increased 2.5% to £1.42 billion and like-for-likes rose 1.0%. Electricals and Home Technology sales increased by 3.8%. johnlewis.com outperformed its market with 27.2% growth and accounted for 19% of the store chain’s sales. It is expected that the online operation will achieve revenues of £1 billion by 2014.
Chairman Charlie Mayfield predicted trading conditions to remain challenging through the rest of this year and into next, but said “we are not simply waiting for the recovery.” The retailer has increased the pace of its investment to “seize the opportunity” created by a rapidly changing retail environment. “Our momentum is strong and I am confident we will build on that in the second half,” Mayfield said. Six weeks into that second half, gross sales at John Lewis grew 3.2% on last year (1.9% like-for-like).
Town centre vacancy rates in Great Britain stabilized at 14.5% during the first half of 2011, but a regional analysis reinforced the North South divide. The Local Data Company’s latest Shop Vacancy report showed that while the threefold increase in vacancy rates since 2007 has ceased, in extreme cases one in three shops stands vacant, while other centres remain at pre-recession levels. LDC said the situation is unlikely to improve significantly in the short to medium term due to the current economic climate, the rise of alternative sales channels and the sheer number of shops that exist across Britain. The top ten worst-performing large centres were in the West Midlands and the North while seven out of the top ten best centres were in the South. Matthew Hopkinson, director at LDC, said the report shows how fragile the British High Street is in parts of the country. “The stark reality is that Great Britain has too many shops in the wrong locations and of the wrong size. The diversity of shop vacancy rates is clear evidence that a local approach is required that ties in with consumer needs and the realities of modern retailing.”
Annual footfall drops 3.24% The Experian UK National Retail Footfall Index has recorded the biggest yearon-year decline in shopper numbers during 2011, with footfall down 3.24% throughout the UK. Experian is forecasting that spending will slow further over the coming months as the impact of rising inflation continues to squeeze households. “A turnaround in footfall levels for the remainder of the year looks unlikely,” said a spokesperson for the market analyst.
THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS
Consumer confidence in the UK descended to the level gauged at the height of the recession after falling for the third consecutive month in August. The GfK NOP Consumer Confidence Index fell a further one point on July to hit -31, 13 points down on August 2010. Such a low has been recorded only twice in the survey’s history and on both occasions reflected a recession. Consumers’ expectation for the general economic situation over the next twelve months was 17 points lower than in August 2010, while the forecast for personal finances was 8 points lower. The news followed the release of the EU’s Economic Sentiment Indicator, which declined by 5.0 points to 97.3 in the EU and by 4.7 points to 98.3 in the Eurozone, bringing it below the long-term average of 100. EU officials said the decline resulted from a broad-based deterioration in sentiment, with losses in confidence being particularly marked in retail, services and amongst consumers. Germany and the UK reported the worst decreases, at -5.7 and -5.6 respectively. In the US, consumer confidence fell in August to its lowest level since April 2009, as the consumer index slumped to 44.5 from 59.2 in July. A reading of 90 or above indicates a healthy economy.
Dixons Retail sales down in 3 months to 23 July Dixons Retail reported a 7% drop in like-for-like sales in the three months to 23 July 2011 compared to the same period last year, with sales in the UK and Republic of Ireland registering a 10% decline. Dixons said the result was “in line with forecasts”, and partly reflected a strong comparison period in 2010 when events such as the launch of the iPad and the World Cup football competition had a beneficial effect on the consumer electronics sector. Chief executive John Browett said the business had emerged from a difficult three months “in good shape”, and the Group is on track to achieve its full-year forecast.
Comet revenues fall 22% Like-for-like sales at Comet fell 22.1% in the first quarter ended 31 July 2011. Owner Kesa said the result was against strong comparatives, including the World Cup and a one-off media initiative last year, but the UK chain had made “good progress” in launching its turnaround plan during the quarter, in which one store was closed and one right-sized. Total revenue at the Kesa Group fell 9.9% on a like-for-like basis but the retailer said it had made strong market gains in France, Belgium and Turkey. Group margin rose by 40 basis points. Kesa made no comment on the future of the Comet chain, which is currently up for sale, other than to say that a turnaround plan
was underway while it continued to examine other strategic alternatives. Kesa had hoped to update the market on the progress of the sale at the time of releasing its Q1 results, but sources close to the company say the process has stalled due to a potential ‘dowry’ to cover a £49 million pension deficit and the cost of exiting a number of loss-making leasehold stores. Meanwhile, documents retrieved from Companies House by the Financial Mail showed that Comet made a loss of £40 million in the year to 30 April 2011 before revenues from extended warranties were included. The figure is understood to have reduced the chain’s total loss to the £8.9 million posted for the 12-month period.
Weak CE market blamed for sales decline at Argos Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group reported on trading for its second financial quarter ended August 27 2011, with Argos showing an 8.6% drop in like-for-like sales to £859 million, and Homebase a fall of 3.1% to £383 million. Weakness in the consumer electronics market was identified as the factor causing the “majority” of the decline in Argos’ sales, although it was acknowledged that the laptop market “continued to perform strongly.” Terry Duddy, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, said “overall the performance in the quarter was in line with our expectations. Argos’ sales continued to be impacted by the decline in the consumer electronics market.” While continuing to “plan cautiously”, Duddy contended that the business was in “good operational shape” for the approaching Christmas trading period.
Bang & Olufsen returns to profit Bang & Olufsen has announced a return to profit for its fiscal year 2010/2011 and introduced a new 5-year strategy to boost top-line growth. Group turnover totalled DKK 2,867 million (approx £335 million) against DKK 2,762 million last year and was in line with previous guidance. The result before tax was a positive DKK 40 million, compared to a loss of DKK 50 million for the same period a year ago. CEO Tue Mantoni said an increased focus on strategic areas and the introduction of a new product category sold through complementary channels and shops that are “more exciting and welcoming” will contribute to significant top-line growth within a five-year period, but a change in the retail concept is required. “Whereas our retail concept was revolutionary 10-15 years ago, today there
is a disconnect between our innovative and beautiful products and the look and feel of our shops,” he said. Speaking about B&O’s objective to increase worldwide brand awareness and attract new customers to the brand, Mantoni conceded that “today we are not on the radar screen.” He said the organisation will have to adopt a more globalised and customer-focused outlook. B&O intends to increase the number of dedicated shops in developing markets and raise its overall local presence. It also intends to launch a branded online store by the end of 2011. The new strategy will be executed through a flatter organisation focused on customers and dealers. “As a consequence, Christian Winther, Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing at Bang & Olufsen a/s, steps down as of 30 November this year.”
GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
Crisis of confidence
THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS
Philips deepens cost-cutting to 800 million euros over next 2 years Philips, the largest CE producer in Europe, has announced it is increasing its cost-cutting target, previously set at 500 million euros by 2013, to 800 million euros (£688 million) and is aiming to achieve sales growth of between 4% and 6%, both by 2013. Chief executive Frans van Houten said that, despite economic challenges, “as a result of our efforts we are confident that we can deliver on our 2013 financial targets.” Philips posted a net loss of 1.3 billion euros for the three months to June 2011.
Dyson reports “record profits” Dyson has reported that increased investment in R&D and global expansion helped it realise “record profits” of £206 million on an increased turnover of £887 million in 2010. The company said profits were buoyed by new Air Multiplier fans, which had their first full year of sales, and the Airblade™ hand dryer. Vacuum cleaner sales continued to perform well, with the US experiencing a significant increase. The DC35 Digital Slim, Dyson’s latest cordless vacuum cleaner, was said to have been a “global sellout.” Company founder James Dyson (pictured) said the business hasn’t been afraid to take a risk and had doubled its engineering team during the recession. 80% of Dyson products are sold outside of the UK, but the company said that 88% of its taxes are paid to the British Exchequer – £50 million in 2010. R&D spending rose to £45 million and the business is on track to double the
number of engineers at its Malmesbury R&D centre to 700. CEO Martin McCourt said: “Recession is challenging, but 2010 was a record breaker. Geographical growth is significant but ongoing success comes from investing faith – and money – in people and their bright ideas.”
GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
Servis brand returns to UK
Turkish manufacturer Vestel is to re-launch the Servis brand in the UK in 2012 after acquiring it earlier this year, along with the Electra, New Pol and Atlantic brands, from former owner Antonio Merloni Company of Italy. Product categories are expected to include laundry, cooking, refrigeration and dishwashing. Vestel said it will be rolling out first in the UK before going global. Distribution channels and routes to market for the acquired brands have yet to be announced. John Welbourn, Managing Director at Vestel UK, said: “We expect Servis to sell through high street retailers; however, we are still involved with initial discussions, so an announcement
will be made about the exact distribution channels later.” Welbourn added that the marketing opportunity had been identified through work with specialist agency BrocklebankPenn, which has been retained to help “mastermind” the launch strategy. Servis UK went into administration in October 2008 at the same time as Italian company Antonio Merloni spa, owner of the Servis and Electra brands in the UK, applied for Government protection by placing itself in administration under the “Marzano Law.” The Italian law gives administrators of large companies the power to avoid the liquidation of assets and traditional bankruptcy through restructure.
Arçelik posts strong first-half results Beko parent Arçelik reported first-half 2011 results broadly in line with expectations despite the negative impact of North African markets and rising cost pressures. Group revenue grew 14.6% to 3.728 million Turkish Lira (approx £1.32 million) in the six-month period and net income rose 12.6% to TL278 million. Arçelik’s white goods business recorded a turnover of TL2.383 million, up 17.2% on the first half of 2010. Gross profit in the sector fell slightly, from 37.9% to 34.3%. CE revenue rose 1.3% to TL610 million and gross profit increased from 21.2% to 22.5%. Arçelik said it expects market share to remain stable or to rise in key regions throughout 2011 and predicts revenue in the period will increase by 13% - 18%.
Swift to launch own brand Domestic Appliances Swift Electrical Wholesalers (S.O.T.) Ltd., who recently announced substantial investment in the development of a new Warehousing and Administration complex at Fenton, in the Potteries, has revealed plans to launch a range of “Own Brand” Swift products. The launch is timed to coincide with the official opening of Swift’s new premises, during its Autumn Trade Event (18th – 20th October). The first products to be launched will be a range of under-counter and combi cooling branded “Swift Cool” and there are plans to develop this range over the coming months. Work is also well advanced on the launch of other “Swift” branded Domestic Appliance products. Chairman and CEO Andrew Swift commented: “These are exciting times for all of us here at Swift. Over the past months we have made some really serious decisions about the shape of our business for the future and the way forward. It may well surprise a few people that during these disturbed economic times we have decided to invest in what is a major project, but we now see a genuine opportunity for the future and it is on this basis that we are making such a positive move “ For further details on the Swift Trade Event, call 01782 441930, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at: www.swiftuk.co.uk/tradeshow
THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS
freesat has achieved sales of 2 million units on a gross retail value nearing £1 billion, “far exceeding” the projections made when the company launched three years ago. 82% of sales came from High Definition boxes/TVs. The company announced that a record 47% of its customers have come from Sky households so far in 2011, and freesat remains the fastest growing TV platform in the UK, gaining around 88,000 new homes in Q2 2011 – more than double Sky’s net additions in the same period. freesat Managing Director Emma Scott said the company had quickly established itself as a “real challenger” and a genuine alternative to pay-TV. “With five HD channels, access to the BBC and ITV Players, as well as freesat+ all available subscription-free, we’re giving customers a high quality service without a high price.”
Japanese CE companies to co-operate on LCD screen manufacture Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba have signed a memorandum of understanding on a planned joint venture to make small and medium-sized LCD displays for tablets and telephones. The move is expected to lead to a binding agreement before the end of the year. The new venture will operate under the auspices of Innovation Corporation Network of Japan (INCJ), a public-private organisation owned 90% by the Japanese Government which was created to nurture Japanese innovation. INCJ will own 70% of the new venture, with Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba holding 10% each. Sharp and Samsung currently claim the top two places among global manufacturers of small and medium sized LCD displays, but this new venture will become the world’s No.1.
The well publicised saga of TJ Hughes concluded when administrators Ernst & Young announced the closure of the remaining outlets belonging to the department store chain after failing to find a buyer. Joint administrators Tom Jack and Simon Allport managed to rescue only 6 of the 56-strong chain’s portfolio, despite weeks of discussions with “interested parties”. “A purchaser for these remaining stores was not found, and regrettably we have had to schedule these final store closures,” said Tom Jack. “During the administration we are pleased to have been successful in selling six TJ Hughes stores, which has safeguarded over 700 jobs across the UK.” Ernst & Young has come under fire for its
handling of staff redundancies during the administration process, which is believed to have claimed some 2,500 jobs. Usdaw National Officer John Gorle said: “As there has been no consultation on the store closures and redundancies as required by law, then we shall be making a claim on behalf of our members for a protective award. He said the administrators’ actions provided “yet another example of the urgent need for Government to review the laws surrounding administration and liquidation. Administrators are able to ignore workers’ legal protections and contractual terms because they know it is the taxpayer who ultimately picks up the bill for any compensation awarded to staff as a result.”
LG Study supports case for controlled-zone refrigeration A study conducted by LG Electronics has highlighted the opportunity for retailers to promote refrigeration appliances that offer temperature- and humidity-controlled compartments which keep meat, fish, fruit and vegetables fresher for longer. LG’s research showed that UK households throw away more than £5 billion worth of food each year, despite consumers tightening their belts in the face of the economic crisis which has seen commodity prices soar. More than half of Britain’s households waste at least 10% of the food they buy and a fifth waste over 25%. Celebrity chef Simon Rimmer said “food wastage is a huge issue in the UK but it’s really very simple to avoid. There are plenty of new technologies, especially in refrigeration.” The World Bank reported that global food prices in July were 33% higher than a year ago and global food stocks remain low. And with the economic situation prompting people to look for new ways to save money, the facts in LG’s report are worth highlighting to refrigeration buyers in the context of controlled zones. See the full article at www.gcmagazine.co.uk
See www.gcmagazine.co.uk for the stories behind the news…
UK manufacturing orders and output holding up Eurozone output at 2-year low
New fund announced to help London retailers “Immediate financial support” for small businesses affected by London riots
UK shoppers deemed the ‘Victor Meldrews’ of Europe Frustrated Britons make 166 million complaints to retailers each year
UK unemployment up 80,000 in 3 months to July Private sector growth can’t keep pace with public sector cuts
UK businesses “don’t want to borrow” “Appetite for finance remains low” says British Bankers’ Association
GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
freesat volumes reach 2 million
No takers for last TJ Hughes stores
THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS
Demand for Chinese goods “shaky” in face of EU and US economic crises Chinese exporters are less than confident about the immediate future as consumer spending in their two largest markets, Europe and the US, has been severely squeezed. A survey of 16 Chinese manufacturers showed that most expect a fall in exports in the coming months, particularly electronics and textiles. Roger Wen, manager of the Shenzhen Design Center Co, which exports small home appliances such as microwaves and coffee makers, said: “Christmas orders have already come in and they aren’t bad – about the same as last year – but I’m not sure all the orders will go through in the end.” Commenting on China’s latest trade figures, assistant Minister of Commerce Li Rongcan said overseas demand for Chinese goods remains “shaky” in the face of debt problems in the US and the European Union. “The business environment both at home and abroad for Chinese manufacturers is very complicated and unstable and there are still many uncertainties.” he said. The China Daily newspaper reported that many exporters said they had experienced the worst time since the outbreak of the financial crisis in late 2008. Zhang Ji, director of the department of mechanical, electronic and high-tech industry at China’s Ministry of Commerce, said recently that China’s exports will decelerate and some manufacturers, especially in the mechanical and electrical sectors, will probably “die out.”
Domestic & General reaches new landmark Domestic & General has reached 10 million customers with its product protection plans for major domestic appliances, consumer electronic products and central heating systems, marking a new milestone in the business’s 60-year history. The company said the achievement confirms its growth and resilience in the prevailing economic climate and illustrates “just how many people now rely on us to look after them when things go wrong.”
Group CE John Pearmund commented: “Our growth has been built on providing our customers with peace of mind and the highest levels of service, and we look forward to helping them, and many more people, for years to come.” D&G operates in eleven countries and international sales currently make up 22% of total business, a figure which is expected to grow considerably in the coming years.
Gorenje launches Centre of Excellence scheme Gorenje UK has created a certificated Centre of Excellence scheme which offers enhanced support and commitment to chosen independent retailers who, as part of the initiative, must stock at least 15 Gorenje appliances and one of the brand’s design ranges. CoE retailers must also be fully trained to provide customers with detailed product knowledge and superior service. The Centres will benefit from prominent listings on Gorenje’s UK website, additional trade discounts and sales leads. Marketing manager Ruth Ferguson described the scheme is a “powerful incentive” for retailers to prioritise Gorenje appliances.
Good things come in threes… BSH Customer Service has won D&G’s Total Excellence and Quality (TEQ) customer service award for the third successive year after 94.8% of the 420,000 customers surveyed rated service from the owner the of Bosch, Neff, Siemens and Gaggenau brands in the UK ‘excellent’ or ‘good’. “We are immensely proud that the standard of our customer service matches the quality of our home appliances”, said BSH Customer
Service Director Bernhard Vocke (pictured). “Despite winning this award once again, we will keep on working hard to ensure that our customers continue to get the service they expect and deserve.
High-end audio brands Focal and Naim unite
FOCAL AND NAIM BAND MEMBERS CELEBRATE THE MERGER
French audio company Focal & Co has acquired British brand Naim for an undisclosed sum. The two firms said the merger is “about growth, not about finding financial synergies” and will create a “new European leader” in the audio industry. Focal & Co will own and manage Focal and Naim as independent brands, retaining their philosophies and product ranges.
“The key point is that there is no future for a speaker or electronic company alone,” commented Focal Chairman Jacques Mahul. “Partnership and collaboration are the way forward both in terms of investment and R&D.” The two brands employ 325 people at facilities in Saint-Etienne, France and Salisbury in Wiltshire and have a combined turnover in excess of £48 million.
2 year parts and labour warranty on all Beko Built-in Appliances www.beko.co.uk T. 0845 850 5008 E. email@example.com
THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS
Lec reveals Britons’ un-cool storage habits
Haier’s “3D” AFL631CW and AFL631CS fridge freezers have been awarded Best Buy status by Which? The magazine noted the low annual running costs of the products and said that on the super cool setting “the fridge took just over four hours to chill our fresh shopping to the recommended safe temperature, making the AFL631CW one of the quickest fridges we’ve seen.” Electrolux is to acquire Chilean white goods manufacturer Compañia Tecno Industrial S.A (CTI) as a part of its strategy for growth in emerging markets. The acquisition will make Electrolux the largest supplier of appliances in Chile and Argentina and further enhance its position as a leading appliance company in the fast-growing Latin American market. Watford-based BBG has taken on the distributorship of four new Home Audio & AV Furniture brands owned by the Frenchbased Inovadis Group of companies. The exclusive UK deal involves high-end stereo audio systems from Elipson, a new range of Tangent home audio products, and new ranges of AV furniture from Nortstone and Ateca – the latter being reintroduced by BBG after undergoing fundamental structural and design changes.
storage was based more on fiction than fact, with 40% risking the growth of bacteria on frozen food by defrosting it on the worktop rather than in the refrigerator and 85% leaving leftover food to cool down completely before placing it in the refrigerator. David Garden, Commercial Director for Lec, commented (tongue in cheek) that the company “definitely has no plans to create dedicated pet storage areas in any of its fridges.” On a more serious note, he added: “Despite the unusual habits and common myths, there is a serious side to the research, which emphasises the need for food to be stored correctly and safely.”
Buying group CI(H) has announced a new TV advertising campaign which will feature more than 150 of the group’s members. ‘Right Up Your Street’ comprises a series of 30-second and 10-second commercials running from 7 November for three weeks and from 24 December to 12 January. Adrian Mankovecký, a student at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia, was awarded first place in the 2011 Electrolux Design Lab competition finals. The design concept, a Portable Spot Cleaner, beat 1,300 entries from more than 50 countries. De Dietrich Kitchen Appliances Ltd. has appointed Assurant Solutions as the provider and administrator of service repair contracts in the UK mainland for its De Dietrich and Fagor brands. De Dietrich and Fagor products sold in Ireland will continue to be serviced by existing after sales service and warranty providers. Electrolux has been named the Durable Household Products sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for 2011. It is the fifth year running that the Swedish manufacturer has been included in the Index, and this year it improved on its 2010 score.
LG Electronics has announced a £3 million investment in the marketing of its 6 Motion Direct Drive washing machine technology. The campaign breaks on national TV on 3 October 2011 and will be supported by print and online activity. The Zanussi ZQF6114A fridge freezer has been awarded a Which? Best Buy after achieving an overall score of 77% and 5 stars for quiet operation and reliability. Premium AV manufacturer Loewe has relocated its UK office to premises above the recently refurbished Loewe Galerie store in London’s Kensington High Street. New address details: Loewe UK Ltd, First Floor, 237A Kensington High Street, London W8 6SA Tel: 020 7368 1100 Sally Osman, who was Communications Director at the BBC until 2007 and has latterly served in key communications roles for a number of major public and commercial organisations in Europe, the US and China, has joined Sony Europe, with responsibility for leading group-wide corporate and product PR and social media communications. Bosch is adding an extra two years to its standard two-year guarantee on selected freestanding dishwashers, laundry and cooling appliances, in a promotion running until 31 December 2011. The four-year warranty includes call outs, parts and labour.
GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
Research carried out by cooling specialist Lec has highlighted a distinct lack of consumer knowledge on the safe refrigeration of foodstuffs and the practice by some of storing a selection of rather odd and unpleasant items in their appliances. The survey, commissioned to aid product development and improve product literature, revealed that one in ten Britons store maggots, insects and even pets in their household refrigerators; false teeth are stored by a potential 1.2 million; cosmetics – not such an unexpected, stomach-churning sight – are stored by 34% of the population. The research also established that consumers’ so-called knowledge of food
THE WORD | THE HIGH STREET
THE HIGH STREET Photo © Flickr: RightIndex
It’s a local thing Some high street retailers have prospered, others are struggling, many have been forced out of business. The feedback coming from the retailers we have been talking to is that it’s not just what you do, but where you are, that counts. British High Streets are an expression of the diversity and change in individual communities, and they’re all different. So there is no single “winning formula” for retailers who trade on their High Street. The “problem” has to be tackled outlet by outlet, high street by high street, community by community around the country, with full participation from local authorities, landlords, businesses and customers. Central government, or a national “guru” such as Mary Portas, can perhaps identify and employ some broad-brush facilitation, but the real solutions have dead, to be hammered out locally.
“There are some towns where it is the horse has bolted”
So it is extremely gratifying to see that the “local solutions” points being made by Get Connected readers have finally been A sense of place acknowledged by the “experts,” and the “Save the High Street” campaign ver the past few months we have been looking at the UK has – we think quite sensibly – morphed into a “let’s look at High Streets High Street through the eyes of the consumers who shop individually and see what, if anything, can be done to support them.” (or not!) there, and the retailers who make (or not!) their Matthew Hopkinson, business development director at The Local living there, and trying to divine whether it has a future in 21st Data Company, which has been researching town centre shop vacancy century Britain, what that future might be, and whether it’s even rates, said: “At a national level we are seeing stability, but at a local possible to talk about the “High Street” as a nationwide concept town centre level we are seeing massive extremes. The diversity of that has any really consistent meaning. shop vacancy rates is clear The last few weeks have been momentous evidence that a local for retail in the UK. The riots shook our sense of approach is required that “The diversity of shop vacancy what “community” means, and led many retailers ties in with consumer rates is clear evidence that a local – whether they were directly affected or just needs and the realities of concerned observers – to question their own modern retailing.” approach is required that ties notions of what they mean to the communities Mary Portas, the in with consumer needs and the they serve. Then a spate of ominous figures on retail guru charged with realities of modern retailing.” retail spending, consumer confidence, rates of the task of trying to shop vacancies and more bad financial news from help stop the decline of major retailers drew further attention to the fact the British High Street, that there will be no quick fix for the economy or for retail. has also admitted on a recent TV programme: “There are some towns It’s not, overall, a bright picture, but like all generalizations it has where it is dead, the horse has bolted.” In those towns, she suggested, its brighter spots – retailers who are continuing to run successful it would be better to accept change and look at putting the high businesses, some by adapting to changing conditions, others by street to different uses more in tune with the present community. Her sticking to what they do best and continuing to satisfy an established conclusion: some may have to be let go; some can be rejuvenated; clientele. And this, as we have found from the last few months talking to some are doing quite nicely. A conclusion that Get Connected readers retailers and manufacturers around the country, is the real point of the had already arrived at. But we should at least thank her for bringing focus on the health of our High Streets. celebrity credibility and wider acceptance to the conclusion.
Listen to retailers
THE LAW AND YOU
THE LAW AND Pricing Gimmicks And Dodgy Deals How Do They Get Away With It? With discounting appearing to be the only weapon some retailers have left in these difficult times, are the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations – now more than three years old – being properly observed? Poppy Williams, a Solicitor in the Litigation and Regulatory Group of DLA Piper UK LLP, reminds retailers of their obligations
The “permanent sale” A sale must have a specific end date and be a “genuine sale”. Some retailers do appear to have one long continuous sale, but what they may be doing is rotating the stock that is on sale. A retailer may stock a number of different ranges, and put a proportion of these on sale for a specific period of time, replacing them with other ranges when that period ends. Each sale may well amount to a “genuine” sale, although it might be argued that the practice is misleading to the consumer. To be a “genuine” sale, price comparisons should follow recent guidance. If a price comparison is not specifically set out, any price used as a basis for comparison should
be the most recent price available for 28 consecutive days or more. Equally, the period of time for which the new (lower) price will be available should usually not be any longer than that for which the old (higher) price was available. The old (higher) price must also be a genuine retail price and should not have been set artificially high. Retailers must make it clear that discounted ex-demonstration goods are exactly that, and price comparison with new products should not be made or implied.
The test to be applied when determining whether a consumer has been misled is whether the average consumer would make a purchasing decision they would not have made had they been given accurate information. Advice to retailers is simple: ensure you have all reasonable measures
“The test to be applied when determining whether a consumer has been misled is whether the average consumer would make a purchasing decision they would not have made had they been given accurate information.” Too good to be true? Another practice that upsets many retailers is “drip” pricing that lures customers with attractive deals that later prove, when “hidden costs” of credit card surcharges, administration costs and the like, to be climbing close to regular pricing. “Baiting” is a similar device, promising attractive discounts that draw customers in, only to find those items are extremely scarce or “sold out.” Both these practices are receiving particular attention from the OFT, but whether they turn out to be actually illegal or not has to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
in place to prevent your customers being misled. If you can show this, there is a good chance you will stay out of Court.
Criminal Offences A retailer found guilty of an offence under the CPRs could face, on conviction in the Magistrates’ Court, a fine not exceeding £5,000; on conviction on indictment in the Crown Court, a fine or imprisonment up to 2 years, or both. So by all means go for aggressive pricing promotions if the need is great, but ensure there is always a documented defence available if the regulator comes calling.
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he Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 – the CPRs - came into force in May 2008 and introduced a general prohibition against misleading practices as well as a number of specific banned practices. Importantly for retailers, a breach of the Regulations amounts to a criminal offence, exposing businesses and the individuals who run them to unlimited fines and/or a maximum of two years imprisonment! More than three years down the line, the appetite for price promotions has grown, partly driven by the desperation of retailers struggling to stimulate footfall and turnover. When we see stores with “sales” that appear to be extended over longer and longer periods, or offers that look brilliant to customers until they actually try to take them up, how can retailers stay within the law?
offering, as well as from UK brands who currently outsource customer care abroad. Says Paula: “Customer service is the primary connection between the customers and the brand. Overseas brands operating in the UK market often have a UK-based sales and marketing function but no customer service offering, and the experience of calling an overseas call centre can often be an alienating one for the consumer. Having a UK-based customer service operation creates a real point of differentiation.” As well as offering benefits to manufacturers, Paula believes Home Appliance Care is a selling point for retailers: “Retailers want to build an ongoing relationship with their customers. When customers return to the store, they want it to be because they want to make another purchase, not because there’s a problem. Retailers want to know that any issues are going to be rectified quickly and effectively, because otherwise the angry customer’s next port of call is likely to be their store.”
PAULA HODKINSON AND THE HOME APPLIANCE CARE TEAM
Who Cares Wins
Getting it right
A brand’s reputation rests as much on the way it cares for its customers as on the quality and reliability of its products. Marlinda Conway speaks to Paula Hodkinson about how the newly formed Home Appliance Care is transforming aftersales services for appliance brands.
ustomer service and aftersales have become key tools in the fight for customer loyalty, but the requirement to save costs has seen some brands shift from in-house customer service departments to outsourcing overseas. Although a necessary cost cutting exercise for some, the transfer of customer service abroad is often an unpopular move with consumers who cite language difficulties, long delays and the provider’s lack of authority to resolve their complaints amongst their gripes.
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A proven UK-based solution
Earlier this year, leading home appliance manufacturer Glen Dimplex Home Appliances launched a new service brand to make the company’s UK-based maintenance, repair and customer care operation available to other manufacturers. The newly created Home Appliance Care, led by customer care director Paula Hodkinson, enables third parties to tap into
GDHA’s award winning service. Paula, who has been largely credited with transforming the provision of customer care at GDHA, learnt her trade from the undisputed kings of customer service – the Yanks. “I started my career as a customer service supervisor at Kelloggs. As an American brand they live and die by the idea that the customer is king, a belief that ran strongly through everything they did. It’s something I’ve never forgotten and have tried to replicate at GDHA.” Her strategy seems to have paid off, as Glen Dimplex Home Appliances were the first brand to win the coveted Domestic & General customer care award for three consecutive years.
So, what is good customer service? Paula believes that speed, efficiency and a human touch are absolutely essential: “If you’re calling a customer care centre, nine times out of ten it’s because something has gone wrong, so you’re already fairly unhappy. Being put on hold, transferred between departments or asked to interact with automated systems are all likely to make things worse. Customers want their call to be answered quickly by an efficient, knowledgeable and helpful human who is able to empathise with their predicament. “Then they want you to dispatch an engineer to them – when they need one – whether it is the next day or in three days time. That engineer should be prompt, professional and polite.”
Good for manufacturers and retailers The new Home Appliance Care service has already attracted interest from a number of big brands based overseas which lack a UK-based customer service
ENGINEERS READY TO RESPOND WITH SPEED, EFFICIENCY AND UNDERSTANDING
INDUSTRY FOCUS FLEXIBLE CAPACITY TO MEET VARYING DEMAND
“Having a UK-based customer service operation creates a real point of differentiation”
are encouraged to spend as much time as necessary to resolve the customer’s query. We don’t set targets on the number or length of calls per day but on the quality and resolution. “Our people are our business and we invest in them. Regular soft skill workshops explore the use of language, attitudes and respect towards people. We find this raises morale and reflects in the operator’s performance.”
Paula has spent years refining and improving the service that is now offered by Home Appliance Care. She manages a 130 person call centre, a national fleet of 170 regionally based Gas Safe Certified engineers and a North West parts centre capable of holding in excess of £4 million worth of stock. 90 per cent of calls to the customer care centre are answered within ten seconds by a fully trained operator, 90 per cent of fixes are completed on the first visit by the engineer and the customer care operation boasts a 48 hour response time for functional repairs.
Business enquiries are also increasing and I think this will continue, as customer care is now being recognised as a vital part of securing customer loyalty. Nobody wants products to fail, but how you respond when they do is what really counts.”
Taking care of the future So, what next for Home Appliance Care? Paula says they are busy gearing up for the busy winter season, when calls to the care centre increase by 40 per cent as temperatures drop and people turn their attention to Christmas. “We have the ability to scale up or down for peak seasons or specific product issues, but the team does love to be busy, so winter CUSTOMER CARE DIRECTOR PAULA HODKINSON always brings a real buzz to the JR call centre. Ad GC 102x145mm:Layout 1 23/8/11 15:18 Page 1
People helping people The figures are impressive, but Paula believes it’s actually their human touch that gives them the edge: “First of all, we don’t want customers to feel processed and have tried everything we can to avoid that. The customer care team
Gadget free. Gizmo free. Frost free.
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Build a Successful & Profitable Business We can assist you in: • Recruitment • Business Plans • Sales and Marketing Strategies • Pricing Policies • Training and anything else you need, to create a successful and profitable business. We’ll then even help you sell it or merge, if that is your objective. The Experience to Bring Success JR Associates is headed up by John Reddington, one of the CE markets most experienced professionals. He has an enviable track record and reputation, plus over 35 years experience. Call John today and let him help you to bring a different flavour to your business.
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Alphason Element TV stands Alphason Designs has launched a range of TV stands in a monolithic design inspired by international furniture trends. The low-level Element Series is part of Alphason’s ‘Design First’ 2011 Collection and is suitable for televisions with up to 55-inch screen sizes (50kg). The unit is available in two widths: 1250mm and 850mm.
In-door infra-red remote control technology
Centre drawer for DVD or video game storage
Integral cable management
Space for a 4-gang power block allows stand to be placed snug to the wall
High gloss black finish
01279 501111 www.alphasondesigns.com
Mercury 1000 induction range cooker The new Mercury 1000 induction range cooker has five induction zones with nine power levels giving the precise control induction is renowned for via designer hi-fi style dials. A boil-dry sensor, pan detection system and child lock are amongst the safety features incorporated. The appliance retails from £4,738 and is available in a wide variety of colours.
2 x pre-determined power levels: L1 suitable for making sauces, melting butter etc. L2 preset to 90 degrees for controlled simmer
Zone power: 1 x 3.7kW; 3 x 3kW; 1 x 2.2kW
A-rated multifunction oven (left) / A-rated fan oven (right) / 2.3kW grill
0115 946 4000 www.mercuryappliances.co.uk
Whirlpool white gas-on-glass hob The popularity of Whirlpool’s AKT 466 gas hob on black glass has prompted the company to launch this 75cm white glass version to complement both its Ambient and Glamour white collections.
Four burners including a 3.7kW four-crown wok burner
Cast iron pan supports
0208 649 5000 www.whirlpool.co.uk
Toshiba Ultrabook™-based laptops
Toshiba has unveiled its first Intel® Core™ processor based Ultrabook™ devices, weighing a mere 1.12kg and only 15.9mm thick. The Portégé Z830 and the Satellite Z830 are equipped with stereo speakers enhanced with Dolby® Advanced Audio™ Magnesium and have casings with honeycomb reinforcement. UK launch scheduled for fourth quarter 2011.
2nd generation Intel® Core™ Processor for Ultrabook™ / RAM: up to 6 GB DDR3 / 128 GB SSD
33.8cm (13.3’’) HD display with LED backlighting, 1,366 x 768 pixels
WLAN, Bluetooth™ 3.0, Mobile Broadband, Gigabit Ethernet LAN
1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, Multi-Card Reader, VGA, HDMI®, Intel® Wireless Display support
Toshiba Eco Utility, Toshiba Media Controller, Toshiba PC Health Monitor
Fingerprint reader / 1.3 megapixel webcam
08704 424 424 www.toshiba.co.uk
THE PRODUCT GALLERY
ATAG ES1292MAM cooker hood Dutch brand ATAG has launched a new generation of cooker hoods featuring the latest version of its unique Air Logic HR® System. The system uses specially designed filters to absorb more than 85% of the grease in cooking vapours, and is claimed to perform better than those in conventional hoods. The new range comprises 12 different models of chimney and island hoods in a stainless steel finish, with some also available in ATAG’s popular Graphite Black.
Linsar ‘Snow White’ 23” LED TV Linsar is keeping up with colour trends with the introduction of this ‘Snow White’ LED TV. The 23” screen size and space-saving, slim design makes the unit small enough for bedrooms and kitchens but large enough to enjoy the benefits of the highquality Full HD 1080p screen.
Electronic touch-sensitive keys / 3 speeds, plus intense setting
749m³h maximum extraction / 57dB operation on position three
Automatic ten minute overrun / Clean Air function
Integrated Freeview / Electronic programme guide
6 x dishwasher-safe stainless steel filter cassettes / Filter saturation indicator
HDMI and PC inputs
3 x 20w lights
Intuitive remote control
0208 247 3993 www.atag.co.uk
The new Gorenje A-rated BOP8858 AX built-in pyrolitic oven has a 60 litre-capacity and offers Gorenje’s patented DirecTOUCH electronic module which allows easy programming in just three simple steps. The appliance is part of the Pure design line, which has a stylish black and stainless steel finish and features Gorenje’s uniquelyshaped HomeMADE® cavity for efficient air circulation.
Preset menus and fast preheating
DynamiCooling / UltraCool door
Glass control panel with ergonomic handle
5-year parts and labour guarantee
0208 247 3980 www.gorenje.co.uk
Smeg FAB dishwashers
Bosch’s compact TDS2021GB steam generator has a 2400W iron and a generator capable of creating steam at 5-bar pressure. It also has a press button Eco feature which uses up to 25% less energy and up to 40% less water. Pulse steam operates at a powerful 160g/min, while vertical steam produces a continuous 110g/min. The appliance retails at £199.99.
Smeg has updated the specification of its FAB 50s-style dishwashers. The new models, freestanding DF6FAB-1 and built-in DI6FAB-1, accommodate 13 place settings and are more resource efficient than their predecessors, consuming only 10 litres of water and 0.92 kWh of electricity. An Enersave option allows the door to open slightly at the end of the drying cycle, which, according to Smeg, can save up to 20% in energy.
2-minute heat up time
Palladium-glissée ceramic soleplate
1.2-litre water tank / 1.8-metre steam hose / 2-metre cord
Variable steam regulation / Intensive steam boost
Tank Empty and Steam Ready indicators
Calc ‘n’ clean anti-scale feature
0844 892 8979 www.bosch-home.co.uk
9 wash programmes including Speed 27 min, ECO Quick and Strong and Fast
5 wash temperatures ranging from 38°C to 70°C.
Orbital wash system / Noise level: 42 dB(A)
Delay Timer / Stainless steel filter / Total Aquastop system
Height adjustable upper basket
Freestanding model available in Lime Green, Red, Black, Cream, Pink and Pastel Blue; built-in model in Red, Black, Pink and Cream
0844 557 0070 www.smeguk.com
Gorenje BOP8858 AX built-in pyrolitic oven
Bosch TDS2021GB steam generator
01344 893932 www.linsar.com
One of the industry’s oldest and best known distributors is on the move. Swift of Stoke on Trent have just completed a major new investment programme to enable them to move all staﬀ to their purpose built Fenton site. Malcolm Scott, their commercial director, talks about the programme:
“In these diﬃcult times Swift has continued to invest in the future with a new oﬃce complex and exhibition area due to be completed during August. To mark the completion of the project, we will host the most comprehensive appliance show of the year on 18th, 19th & 20th October with over twenty industry giants showing their wares. We feel it is important for retailers and manufacturers to meet and discuss ideas - with the pressure from multiples and internet traders ever present, it is essential for kitchen showrooms and independent retailers to see the latest ideas and innovations.”
“…the most comprehensive appliance show of the year” As Swift’s marketing manager Jamie Wells points out “This is not just another ‘roadshow’ visitors will get the chance to talk to some of the industry’s key decision makers. Managing Directors from ﬁve leading appliance brands have already conﬁrmed that they will attend the three day show, plus the Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA) and White Goods Trade Association (WTA) will be representing the independent retailers. ”
“From the appliance world we have AEG, Amica, Belling, Bosch, Candy, Daewoo, Electrolux, Hoover, Hotpoint, Indesit, LEC, LuxAir Hoods, NewWorld, Smiths Environmental, Stoves, Whirlpool and Zanussi. Franke, Insinkerator, Perrin and Rowe and MGS Taps will also be showing their latest sink and tap oﬀerings. Since every brand will have outstanding ‘deal of the day’ oﬀers, this really is the show to visit.” visit www.swiftuk.co.uk/tradeshow to keep up with the latest tradeshow news and register for your tickets.
SMEG’S NEW HANDLELESS DISHWASHER BRINGS A STREAMLINED LOOK TO THE KITCHEN
Resource-savings in dishwashers continue to rise but overall growth in new users has stalled. GC reports
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he UK dishwashers market recorded both volume and value growth in the 12 months to June this year, according to GfK figures, yet the lament remains the same: why oh why is household penetration so low; stuck at sub-40% and up to almost half that of some of our European neighbours. The common misconceptions of old still exist, of course. Such appliances are thought by many to be expensive to run and wasteful of energy and water and some still consider them to fall into the ‘luxury goods’ category. Chandrasekar Kunche, Local Product Manager for Dishcare at Electrolux, expresses the general indifference towards the category most succinctly when he says “it’s a ‘nice-tohave’ which can be easily traded for another product category depending on disposable income and kitchen space.” But macro factors have affected growth rates too. Pressure on disposable incomes has
reduced spending on household appliances and ‘luxury’ goods, a slowdown in the newbuild housing market and a lack of first-time buyers due to the volatile economic climate have all contributed towards containing market penetration in the region of 35-40%. 77% of all dishwasher purchases are replacement models, which shows that those who own a dishwasher are reluctant to do without. Yet, conversely, the majority of those who have never owned one tend to be adamant that there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to purchase such an appliance, pig-headedly believing it to be quicker and more water and energy efficient to wash up by hand, and cheaper too – no need to buy those “expensive tablets”. And anyway, why would anyone want to use up valuable kitchen space with yet another domestic appliance? We’re all familiar with the objections, so there is still a great degree of work to be done to convert the doubting Thomas who
FAGOR MODEL LF73DWITU FEATURES AN ‘ADVANCED INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM’ AND AN ECO SENSOR WHICH SAVES UP TO 25% OF THE WATER USED IN EACH WASH
believes that shrivelled, chapped hands (and varicose veins) and an hour a day spent bending over the kitchen sink is preferable to the healthy, guilt-free bonus of some ‘me time’; for time is just one of the many savings offered by the “ultimate kitchen power tool” – characterisation courtesy of Hoover Candy’s Steve Macdonald, who says: “For time-pressed consumers, the simplicity of being able to quickly load a dishwasher, switch it on and then continue with other household tasks, or just sit down and relax, is extremely appealing. Dishwashing can save consumers more than 7 hours per week compared to washing by hand.”
Hygiene It is recommended that domestic hot water temperatures be set at 48.8°C (120°F) to prevent the risk of burns. Exposure to water temperatures of 68°C (155°F) for just one second will result in third degree burns and, indeed, at the recommended 48.8°C the same level of burning can happen within 5 minutes. Who, then, is going to risk serious injury in order to wash dishes by hand till they are hygienically clean? Most of us can only bear water temperatures of around 43°C (110°F) for very short amounts of time.
Tidiness Starkey highlights another important benefit for dishwasher owners: the appliance can be used as a hygienic storage cupboard. “Just take out what you need when you need it,” he says – an advantage also noted by Caroline Guillermard, Product Marketing
Manager at Maytag, who looks at it from the point of view of changing lifestyles and the greater movement towards open-plan living. “The trend of spending more time at home rather than going out means the kitchen and living area is very much on view, so it has to look good and stay neat and tidy too. The dishwasher is a phenomenal appliance in contributing to kitchen neatness and tidiness,” she says. A few minutes stacking away the dirty dishes instead of leaving them cluttering the worktop awaiting hand washing is clearly a more aesthetically pleasing and hygienic option, and as Beko’s Les Wicks points out, the fact that growing household bills has led consumers to opt for entertaining family and friends at home, and with the average family juggling hectic domestic and work lives, who needs an increase in household chores? “Owning a dishwasher is a necessity rather than a luxury nowadays,” he comments.
Design Lifestyle trends have also encouraged manufacturers to rethink the exterior design of products. Whirlpool, for example, has moved away from the traditional boxy shape towards softer, curvaceous lines which it believes will blend more easily with kitchen and living areas. Dean McKelvie, Product Marketing Manager, Freestanding, says style and design have assumed great
INDESIT’S SLIMLINE START IDF125 USES LESS THAN 1.08 LITRES OF WATER FOR EACH OF ITS 10 PLACE SETTINGS
LG’S POWERFUL TRUESTEAM™ IN ACTION
importance in the purchasing decision, and products are more streamlined in their design and quieter in operation. The sentiment is echoed by Haier’s James Osborne, White Goods Manager for the UK and Ireland, who believes that, for the replacement market, “design is becoming far more important as today’s customers seek to trade up. Naturally modern, eco-conscious consumers also seek quieter dishwashers with lower water and energy consumption, along with increased internal flexibility – dishwashers which adapt to different occasions. “Over the past year we have seen that many customers who wish to replace their existing dishwasher are placing increasing importance on design and aesthetics.” Osborne adds that Haier is launching a new dishwasher range at the end of 2011 featuring a modern, high quality glass design in red, white and black with touch controls. The design matches Haier’s new glass line refrigerators.
Space-saving appliances Another trend in the sector is the notable growth in slim-line appliances, which Neff Sales Director Mike Jarrett puts down to the number of new home owners and younger people coming from households where they
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The dishwasher uses water temperatures of up to 75°C (programme dependent) to ensure that bacteria and germs are eradicated, without burning anyone in the process, and the hot air used for drying also kills micro-organisms while eliminating the need to use a tea-towel, which, as Gorenje Marketing Manager Ruth Ferguson notes, “may not be the most hygienic piece of cloth in the kitchen.” This is not to say that dishes can not be washed hygienically by hand, but the removal of germs needs a good detergent, friction by way of thorough scrubbing and a ‘generous’ flow of hot water, which knocks one of our doubters’ protests into a cocked hat, because manufacturers’ data shows that washing dishes by hand can consume anything between 40 to 110 litres of water at a time, while most dishwashers use between 9 and 12 litres on a standard setting. In fact, the most water efficient product that we know of on the market, Maytag’s MDW 606 AWG, uses just 6 litres to wash 13 place settings. And as Hotpoint Brand Manager Iain Starkey points out: “Modern dishwashers also heat only the water they use. Because they’re cold fill, water is heated in the dishwasher itself rather than in the domestic heating system, where it could lose its heat in transit.”
GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
NEFF’S INLINE MODELS INCORPORATE NEFFSPARKLE, A DELICATE 40DEGREE GLASS CARE PROGRAMME
always had a dishwasher. So, “when starting up home for the first time, even in a flat share situation, they will not consider a kitchen without a dishwasher,” he says. “Traditionally, British kitchens are smaller than our European cousins’, so the first dishwasher tends to be a slim-line model and this also explains the growth. We also believe that the younger generation are more focused on energy, water and the environment. “Our compact sized built-in [in line] dishwashers have sold exceedingly well since launching last year. With more and more consumers now wanting their cooking appliances accessible at eye level and in a ‘bank’ or ‘wall’, this is the perfect place for a dishwasher.” Richard Walker, Sales and Marketing Director at De Dietrich Kitchen Appliances, cites AMDEA figures for July 2011 which show a 7.1% rise in slim-line integrated models. “It is encouraging that consumers have clearly understood the benefits of installing a dishwasher, even in a smaller kitchen,” he comments. “We can be confident that the message that a dishwasher is a necessity and not a luxury is definitely reaching consumers before they buy a new kitchen.” The glory of today’s slim-line dishwashers is that many models hold a family-sized 10
plate settings and pack the same resourceefficient technologies into their smaller frame, so operational performance is not compromised. De Dietrich’s new 45cm model DVY1010J, for example, is ‘AAA’ rated for energy, washing and drying performance with an 11-litre water consumption, 10 programmes and six temperatures. Intelligent sensors assess the type and level of soiling on dishes and calculate the amount of water, the temperature and washing time required to produce the best result at the lowest cost. It has a half-load programme, Intensive and Boost functions and a Hygienizer programme that reduces bacteria levels. Indesit’s new A-rated slim-line Start IDF125 has earned a Waterwise marque which certifies that it uses less than 1.08 litres of water for each of its 10 place settings. It has five programmes to choose from, including a 50º Eco cycle, a 35-minute rapid wash and ‘Time4You’ – “a unique programme from Indesit guaranteeing exceptional wash performance in just over an hour,” explains Libby Morley, Advertising and Communications Manager for the brand. AEG’S NEUE KOLLEKTION PROCLEAN MODELS WITH ‘SENSOR LOGIC’ AUTOMATICALLY DELIVER THE BEST ALLROUND PERFORMANCE
While changes in lifestyle trends are responsible for driving growth in particular sectors of the market, Smeg Product Development and Training Manager Joan Fraser believes this is exactly what has pushed the development of products too. She cites dining styles, for example, as having driven the demand for more flexible basket configurations which can accommodate long-stemmed glasses and larger dinner plates and platters. Dawn Stockell, Marketing Communications Manager for LG Home Appliances, says it is such innovations in product design that will bring an uplift to the category and notes the move towards increasing capacities, which invariably provide more flexible loading options. She points out that LG’s dishwashers have around 10 litres of extra capacity, compared to standard models, and this is enhanced by the inclusion of SmartRack™ technology, which allows the baskets to be adjusted to accommodate a wide range of crockery, baking trays and large pans. She explains that a 3rd rack at the top houses two baskets, each of which are height adjustable, so users can fill one side with cutlery and drop the other basket to a lower level to house items such as espresso cups and ramekin dishes. Maytag has a similar rack system within its range – a new ProComfort third level which is removable and height adjustable in two positions – and the brand also produces a 17 place setting model incorporating a 4-level rack system with a 58cm loading height accommodating items such as large serving dishes and oven shelves.
THE BENEFITS OF HOOVER’S 15 PLACE SETTING 3D DISHWASHER WILL BE ADVERTISED IN HOME INTEREST MAGAZINES DURING THE FOURTH QUARTER OF THIS YEAR
The number of models on the market with three wash levels is fast increasing and expected over a short period of time to become the norm. Sensor control, too, is more commonplace, as are advanced spray systems which heighten performances. Thankfully, unlike the Consumer Electronics side of our industry, in white goods, consumers still pay for technology and the benefits derived. And as Gorenje’s Ruth Ferguson points out: “Dishwashers are available at all price points in the market now.”
Technology developments Looking back over the past decade shows us just how far advancements in the dishwashers market have come. In the early noughties, energy efficiencies started to rise more quickly, driven by the new energy label which brought greater transparency to the sector, and there was a move towards appliances with a greater number of programmes and the purchase of A-, B- and C-rated products, with C-class seeing the greatest growth. 45% of purchases were replacement models, mostly of a higher specification than original appliances, and water savings were beginning to become a worthy topic as technologies were developing at a faster rate. Ten years on it is not possible to purchase an energy ‘inefficient’ product, nor one that is excessively wasteful of water: faster wash times and Eco programmes, sensor control and new drying technologies – Siemens Zeolith® being a prime example of the use of natural, renewable energy in the drying process – have all served to further improve resource efficiencies and product performance. Investment in technology has also brought steam to the dishwasher sector. LG’s Stockell says her company’s research showed that
Future growth We can either dwell on the stagnant sub-40% market penetration or concentrate our efforts on the 60+% that have yet to experience the benefits of ownership. And as Beko’s Les Wicks says, with a reported £200 hike in energy bills this winter – and with household budgets already under pressure – a strong support story for dishwasher ownership is starting to emerge. Maytag’s Guillermard believes the market is “set to prosper.” The youth of today, she says, has little or no experience of washing up by hand and will therefore expect a dishwasher to be part of their kitchen. She also reminds us that water bills are “set to soar”, there will also be wide-scale implementation of water metering and all new homes have to meet new water consumption levels of 125 litres a day per person. “The dishwasher is paramount to our future world,” she says. “Environmental problems won’t go away; they are here to stay. It’s not just about more of the same – we have to keep pushing the boundaries, manufacturing more efficient, eco-friendly appliances for the benefit and the future of our planet, and the dishwasher has a part to play.” Gorenje’s Ruth Ferguson also highlights the new regulations on water consumption in private new-builds and says that most new homes will now have a built-in dishwasher. She also imparts the good news revealed by a
A FEW FACTS ■ Most dishwashers rated ‘A’ and above use less than 1kWh per cycle ■ Washing up by hand uses 2kWh ■ Hand washing uses up to 10g more detergent ■ 90% of the dishwasher’s energy is used in heating the water. Therefore, appliances with lower water consumption will use less energy ■ Water efficiency in dishwashers has risen by more than 60% in the past 30 years ■ 82% of products purchased are AAA-rated ■ If all European households used up-to-date dishwashers, the energy saved would be equivalent to the daily production of two nuclear power stations
recent MTW Research survey which suggests that the house-building market is picking up. “As people become accustomed to having a dishwasher and realising the energy- and water-saving benefits, the second and third generation user market will grow, particularly as energy and water costs continue to increase and consumers try to minimise their outgoings as much as possible,” she adds.
GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
WHIRLPOOL’S POWERCLEAN MAX TECHNOLOGY WITH 24 ROTATING JETS PROVIDES “BEST IN CLASS” CLEANING AND RELEASES VALUABLE CAPACITY IN THE LOWER BASKET
consumers felt it necessary to rinse items prior to loading the dishwasher, bringing an element of drudgery into the process of stacking the appliance. The study prompted the development of TrueSteam™ technology, which does away with prewashing and promises the ultimate in cleaning and drying. LG’s TrueSteam™ models have a Steam Dual Spray which operates independently in the top and bottom baskets, allowing heavily soiled and delicate items to be washed in the same cycle. The newly launched range is accompanied by supporting POS to communicate the benefits of the Steam Dual Spray. Stockell says that LG will be promoting the products to encourage uptake during the 4th quarter of this year. Other brands with steam products in their ranges include Whirlpool, which has combined its 6th Sense® and PowerClean MAX jet technologies with ‘AquaSteam’. Dean McKelvie says the steam creates a “sauna-like” effect, “making it very effective in removing lipstick, tea and coffee stains without any pre-treatment.” Maytag also has a steam clean option within its range. Caroline Guillermard points out that the use of steam, apart from removing difficult stains and eliminating prewashing, sanitises dishes too.
E N RO O M
THE GREEN ROOM
its 6.5 million customers. The move came shortly after E.ON’s announcement that it was to raise the cost of gas by 18.1% and electricity by 11.4% – roughly in line with recent increases by Scottish & Southern Energy and Scottish Power. British Gas, however, lifted its price for gas by 16% and for electricity by a hefty 18%, just eight months after a 7% rise. In April this year, the price of water increased in England and Wales, with some areas facing rises of up to 9.1%. Never have the grounds for buying resourceefficient appliances been so strong.
It may be the one of the most difficult times in recent economic history, with inflation treading an upward path, consumer confidence bordering on collapse and household budgets nearing breaking point, but logic dictates that, for retailers and consumers, so-called ‘green’ appliances offer a financially sound, sustainable proposition. Talking money Essential to the decision-making process is consumer understanding and the ability to quantify the resource savings offered by appliances. A rational expectation by any account, but not one which has, to date, been easily accomplished, as Hoover Candy Marketing Manager Steve Macdonald encapsulates: “We expect the consumer to know that the lower the kWh the less energy the product uses and now the more pluses the product has the more energy efficient it is. We want the consumer to understand that over the lifetime of an inefficient product £100s in running costs could be
GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
pinions on whether consumers have a proactive approach to sustainability and the will to purchase resource-saving appliances have tended to fall into two camps – the yeas and the nays. But while the balance may have started to tip in favour of the former, the bleak reality of a straitened economic climate has shown that self-preservation far outweighs the ‘feel good’ factor associated with saving the planet; for when the shrewd air of austerity bites, consumers retrench. Purchases have been postponed, budgets tightened and a credit-happy, throwaway society has had to rethink its values. Whether this poses a problem for the advancement of the green guild remains to be seen, but with financial pressures coming from all quarters, consumers, with a heightened astuteness imposed by circumstance, may now well be drawn by the logical, if not ecological, benefits of resource-efficient appliances. In August this year, npower became the fifth of the ‘big six’ energy companies to increase gas and electricity prices; in this instance by 15.7% and 7.2% respectively, bringing the annual energy bill to almost £1,200 for
wasted compared to a more efficient model, yet we are still not explaining that A++ will be at least 25% but could be as much as 60% more efficient than A+. And we still don’t equate this to monetary value for consumers to show them the difference it could make to their pockets over the period of the year.”
Consistency Recognising the complexities of communicating energy efficiency at the point of sale, the EU developed the Energy Label to bring a uniform system of classification that would be adhered to by all manufacturers. And while it went some way towards helping consumers make informed choices, the scheme failed to keep up with product developments and technology, resulting in inconsistencies amongst reported efficiencies and heightening consumer confusion. Now, it is widely hoped that the introduction of the new energy label will iron out these inconsistencies. As per the previous version, it has set classes ranging from the most inefficient to the most efficient, but with ratings up to A+++ in all product sectors. The washing machine label (mandatory from December 2011), for example, has the energy consumption – a criterion which GC found to be a rather ‘grey’ area across most appliance sectors when compiling the following pages – in kWh per annum and contains pictograms highlighting selected performances and characteristics such as noise emissions in decibels; spin-drying efficiency class; capacity in kilograms and annual water consumption in litres. While we may be ahead of the compulsory introduction of the new label (and the consistency of content demanded), GC has taken the opportunity in this final ‘Green Room’ feature of 2011 to table, in as uniform a manner as possible, the detail supplied by a selection of manufacturers promoting their most resource-efficient appliances.
NEW Zanussi top-of-the-range 8kg washing machine with JetSystem+ The new Zanussi ZWJ14591W features Jetsystem+ technology, which saves time, energy, water and detergent by automatically adjusting water consumption, energy and cycle time to suit the laundry load size. So whether that size is 1kg or 8kg, users can be sure the appliance will only use what it needs to achieve the best results. The ZWJ14591W’s big 8kg capacity means households can whizz through the laundry and wash large and bulky items such as king size duvets and bed linen too. This new top-of-the-range Zanussi model boasts a top A+++ energy efficiency rating. Zanussi Trade Sales: 08445 610610 www.zanussi.co.uk
PIANO by Introducing the world’s most advanced and versatile ‘zoneless’ induction hob.
Challenging all previous induction hob concepts, the awardwinning Piano features total ‘zoneless’ cooking for up to 5 pans delivering the ultimate in versatility and freedom. Three hob modes; Expert; Piano and Solo meet all cooking styles.
FULL ‘ZONELESS’ INDUCTION COOKING TOUCH AND PLAY... The intuitive interface on the full colour TFT screen is simple and easy to use. Individually control time and temperature for each pan with an effortless touch.
Visit De Dietrich at Grand Designs NEC to play Piano.
DTiM1000C 93cm Piano Induction Hob delivers full ‘zoneless’ cooking for up to 5 pans SUBJECT TO REGISTRATION
SUBJECT TO REGISTRATION
Contact De Dietrich to book a Piano lesson www.dedietrich.co.uk/piano
THE GREEN ROOM
WASHING MACHINES LG’s New 6 Motion Direct Drive 12kg washing machine with TrueSteamTM has an impressive A+++ e nergy rating, with A-ratings both for wash performance and spin. The 12kg load size is double the typical washing machine capacity available in the 90s, proving just how far this innovative market has come since capacities started to increase and energy labels were first introduced.
AEG’s ProTex PLUS washing machine is claimed to protect clothes 30% better than previous models, while delivering ”A+++-20%” energy efficiency. The advanced OptiSense wash system accurately senses the size of the load and decides the exact amount of water, energy and time required, and in combination with the specially patterned 66-litre ProTex drum, the gentlest wash possible is delivered and fabric creasing reduced.
The latest washing machine to join Siemens’ extensive range is the A+++ rated iQ700 WM14S890GB, which incorporates the company’s first integrated dosing system. The i-Dos works by adding the precise amount of laundry detergent required for each load, saving both money and time. The chamber holds enough liquid detergent for 20 loads of laundry.
Beko’s 8kg WMB81445L washing machine is promoted as washing two loads for the same amount of energy that most machines use for just one on a 60°C cotton wash. The appliance claims an A+++++ energy rating – a 50% saving on standard A-rated models – and has two Fastwash programmes: one that washes a 2kg load in just 14 minutes and a second that completes a full 8kg load in 28 minutes.
GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
Siemens’ iQ700 tumble dryer with heat pump technology uses 50% less energy than A-rated dryers. Its automatic selfcleaning system keeps the condenser lint-free so the appliance constantly runs at peak efficiency. The machine also has a large softDry stainless steel drum system and electronically controlled sensor drying, which prevents over- or underdrying and gives uniform results.
The energy-efficient ProTex heat pump tumble dryer from AEG has a specially patterned drum designed to dry garments gently, while its 9kg capacity and special airflow system allow clothes to ‘breathe’, producing less tangling and more even drying with fewer wrinkles. The ProTex consumes 50% less energy than an A-Class model and has been awarded the Woolmark Silver certification.
The new A-40% Aqualtis 9kg condenser dryer is part of Hotpoint’s Eco Tech range. The appliance uses 40% less energy than an A-rated model and has a “sophisticated” refrigerant condenser system that heats the circulating air as it passes over the condenser unit. It also features a patented high-temperature control system which neutralises allergens. The ‘wave’ drum interior creates pockets of air that gently protect even the most delicate garments, while helping to retain the original colours.
Eco-friendly appliances The Haier TFE3 range comes in both 12 and 9 place settings and in white, silver and black. Other key features of these dishwashers include: AAA rated, LED display with countdown timer, delay timer (1–24 hours), variable wash temperatures (40/45/50/55/65/70), 7 programs, single dial selector, half wash load (upper rack), 3 in 1 and height adjustable upper basket.
Haier’s stainless steel dishwasher DW12-CFE2SS Comes with the following features: AAA rated, LED lights to indicate wash progress, half wash load (upper rack), rapid wash (32 mins), delay timer, height adjustable upper baskets.
Haier’s A+ energy, total no frost fridge freezer range WINNER Best Design
A section of this fridge freezer can be independently controlled from +5 to -18ºC. As seen in our major national consumer press advertising campaign. www.myzonebyhaier.com
Dimensions: 188x60x67cm Fridge capacity: 8.12ft3 (230 litres) Freezer capacity: 2.82ft3 (80 litres)
Dimensions: 188x60x67cm Fridge capacity: 8.12ft3 (230 litres) Freezer capacity: 2.75ft3 (78 litres)
Dimensions: 188x60x67cm Fridge capacity: 8.12ft3 (230 litres) Freezer capacity: 2.75ft3 (78 litres)
Dimensions: 180x63x64cm Fridge capacity: 5.58ft3 (158 litres) Freezer capacity: 2.05ft3 (58 litres) MyZone capacity: 1.31ft3 (37 litres)
*Source: Euromonitor International Limited; retail volume sales in units based on 2010 data.
Visit us at IFA 2011
WG: hall 3.1, stand 103 TV: hall 3.2, stand 134
Haier UK Head Office: Tel: 020 8166 4978 Email: email@example.com 0845 052 9030
0114 254 2400
01244 535 929
THE GREEN ROOM
Tumble Dryers Water Consumption (L)
* Information not supplied
kWh per cycle
1.35 - 1.6 65
MWA 09149 WH
Whirlpool AWOE 9559
Neff’s S51T69 fully integrated dishwasher is one of the brand’s top-ofthe-range Series 6 models. The 14 place setting appliance incorporates a VarioDrawer – a practical third shelf which provides additional storage for smaller items such as cappuccino cups and cooking utensils – and gives an A++/A/A rated performance using 10 litres of water, while operating at just 41 dB(A).
DISHWASHERS Siemens’ Zeolith diswashers are claimed to be the fastest AAA-rated models in the world. Washing a full load uses just 0.82 kWh – way below the industry standard of 1.2 kWh – and with the energySave function, consumption will be reduced even more. Zeolith® comes into its own during the drying cycle when the mineral absorbs the warm air and releases heat energy to dry the dishes. It is a perfect example of natural renewable energy as zeolith regenerates itself for subsequent use.
Whirlpool’s new A/A/A-rated ADP 7955 Space+ dishwasher has 14 place settings and boasts cleaning technology claimed to cope with the most resistant of food particles. The combination of Aquasteam and 6th Sense technology loosens stubborn food residues and sanitises delicate crockery, while PowerClean MAX eliminates the need for presoaking and scrubbing. The appliance has a Multizone option for washing half loads in the top or bottom basket and operates at 39 dB(A) on an Overnight programme.
GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
kWh per Noise cycle Level
Capacity kg Energy
Maytag’s 13 place setting MDW 606 AWG dishwasher with Steam Clean option has an “unprecedented” 6-litre water consumption and reduces the need to pre-treat dishes prior to washing. The appliance owes its high performance to Maytag’s electronic IntelliSense® and a new pump design with ‘Impulse Pulse’ technology. Water from the final rinse is saved in a dedicated reservoir, where it is stored and recycled for use at the beginning of the next programme.
* Information not supplied
No. Place Settings Energy Wash Dry
Water kWh per Consumption Noise Level cycle (L) dB(A)
MDW 606 AWG
Eco Tech. Intelligent, energy saving appliances from Hotpoint.
Save between 50 to 70% energy* with our Eco Cycle Washing Machines
New to the Hotpoint Eco Tech range
Washing New Aqualtis A+++
Drying New Aqualtis A-40%
Dishwashing New Ultima A+, Flexipower, 10L water consumption
Cooking Ultima A/A
Refrigeration New Ultima 60cm Fridge Freezers A++
Our green Eco Tech badge on an appliance or next to it within our brochure, is a guarantee that your customers are getting the very best energy rating or specific Eco features, such as our Eco Cycles that will help save energy at home. Call 08000 92 19 22 for more information.
*Energy savings are up to 50% for Eco Cotton cycle, up to 68% for Eco Synthetic cycle and up to 70% for Eco Fast Wash cycle (all compared to equivalent 30ยบC cycle).
THE GREEN ROOM
Neff’s CoolDeluxe fridges incorporate a VitaFresh drawer with up to 95% humidity, which helps vegetables, greens and sensitive fruits retain their moisture content and crisp freshness up to three times longer than in a conventional refrigerator. A 0°C zone with around 50% humidity accommodates meat, fish, cold cuts and cheese, while an AirFresh filter effectively eliminates odours in the VitaFresh zone. CoolDeluxe fridges are A++ rated and consume 45% less energy than A-class models.
Atag’s new 1780mm built-in refrigerator and freezer sit side by side to create a seamless, integrated arrangement. Both units are A+ rated for energy efficiency and provide a total 518 litres of storage space (307 & 211 respectively). Climate control is maintained throughout the refrigerator and a Climate Fresh box operates at a separate temperature with adjustable humidity level for preserving fruit and vegetables.
Gorenje’s RF60309 retro-styled fridge freezer has an A++ energy efficiency rating and features a “state-of-the-art” cooling system designed to minimise energy consumption. The whisperquiet appliance (39 dB(A)) has a self-closing door which prevents thoughtless energy-wastage, a Fast-freeze option that keeps food in perfect condition for longer and a large vegetable crisper to preserve nutrients and prolong the freshness of produce.
LG’s Linear Compressor 4-door American-style side-by-side with water & ice dispenser has a large 614-litre net storage capacity (208 litre 4* Freezer / 406 litre Fridge) and achieves an A+ energy rating. The noise level is only 39dB, so when the compressor switches on it is barely noticeable. The GS9166LKCV has a Smart Eco Door within the main door of the refrigerator for storing regularly used items, so less cold air escapes from the appliance as the main door is opened less often.
GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
* Information not supplied
Model Type Combi
WBC 3546 NFC/XL/W
Side-by-side 4-door 614
kWh per annum
Freezer star rating
Noise Level dB(A)
THE GREEN ROOM
OVENS Fagor’s FSO1700X 52-litre pyrolytic oven has 14 cooking functions, 3 pyrolytic cleaning functions and 47 preprogrammed recipes, 12 of which are steam recipes for use with the full-width stainless steel steam tray and glass lid provided. The appliance also features Pause Control, which allows the cooking process to be paused at any time, and is A-20% rated for energy efficiency.
Amica’s 1143.4TpYX oven offers a 60-litre capacity and has 12 heating functions plus a steam option. The unit operates as a standard oven, a steam oven or a combination of the two, and has a 2000W electric grill. It also features 24 preset recipes and 10 preset steam programmes and is A-rated for energy efficiency.
Ovens Neff’s top of the range NeffNavigator® oven B46W74 has a central control that operates all of the major functions of the appliance quickly and easily. The multiple menu options are navigated and selected by rotating and vertically tilting the control to pinpoint the desired programme, while touch sensors for selecting the most frequently used functions offer additional convenience. The 67-litre oven incorporates Neff ’s renowned CircoTherm multifunction cooking system and features the brand’s unique SlideAway door.
* Information not supplied
Capacity Energy kWh kWh (L) Rating convection forced air
BI60i Eco Induction
FIM 88 KA IX
Fusion AKZM 656/IX
0.7 * 0.79
Affordable and efficient induction cooking from New World The benefits of induction technology have been opened up to a much wider market following the introduction of an affordable induction hob by appliance brand New World. The NWELI60 is a 60cm black ceramic induction hob with four elements in two sizes. It features a digital power display, intuitive touch controls, a choice of nine power levels and a power boost function which allows the user to ‘borrow’ heat from the other elements to cook at a higher temperature. The hob has a number of built-in safety features including a child safety lock, pan detection and pan overheat sensors, offering the consumer total peace of mind. Unlike gas or traditional electric power, induction cooking works only when the pan is placed within a magnetic zone, so that energy is directed where it is needed. When using an induction hob, more than 90% of every pound spent on energy goes straight to the pan, making it the most cost-effective, green way to cook.
AEG’s Pyroluxe® Plus MaxiKlasse oven incorporates a ProCombi steam oven with dedicated settings for baking, steaming, grilling and slow cooking, and a cooking function that produces hot air and steam at the same time. A ThermiC°Air system circulates hot air evenly throughout the interior, so food cooks evenly on any of the five shelf positions. The 74-litre appliance is A-20% rated for energy efficiency.
GET CONNECTED SEP 2011
GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED
George Cole George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
TEN YEARS OF SKY+ SACD REVIVAL? T his month marks the tenth
television, it was still much longer than a
anniversary of the launch of the
VHS recorder or a DVD recorder. The latest
Sky+ PVR. I remember going along
Sky+HD box has a one terabyte drive that
to the press launch, which was presented
can store up to 240 hours of HD TV or
Funny isn’t it? While all the talk is of
by Brian Sullivan, then BSkyB’s director
some 800 hours of SD quality TV.
consumers moving from physical music
of consumer product and services. Sky+
Features such as EPG recording, live
formats such as CD to downloading and
wasn’t the first PVR on the market (that
pause, rewind, series link, simultaneously
streaming, the number of Super Audio CD
award goes to Tivo), but there’s no doubt
recording two programmes whilst watching
(SACD) titles being released in 2011 is
that Sky+ greatly raised the PVR’s profile
a third recorded on the hard drive, and
expected to reach 427, compared with 339
in the UK, to the extent that Sky+ has become
the ability to start watching a programme
for 2010. So, who’s buying them?
almost a generic name for a PVR, and is
while it’s still being recorded, captured
also a verb (“I’m going to Sky+ it tonight”).
the public’s imagination, and many people
BSkyB were very canny in the way they introduced Sky+ onto the market, by slowly adding extra functionality to
moved directly from a VCR to a PVR, bypassing the DVD recorder. Sky+ is an impressive piece of kit, but so
THE FUTURE OF
it. Unlike Tivo, Sky+ didn’t give users
are the latest generation of Freeview and
the option of setting the picture quality
Freesat HD PVRs, which offer additional
by adjusting the recording bitrate, but
features. Not so long ago, I looked at the
instead recorded all programmes at near-
Panasonic DMR-BWT700, a combined
broadcast quality. I remember Sullivan
Blu-ray recorder and PVR, with Freeview HD,
There’s a lot of noise being made about
getting some stick from a few journalists
a 320GB hard drive, internet access, Skype
the Super Hi-Vision (SHV) or 8K4K TV
about this lack of recording flexibility,
video calling,Wi-Fi compatibility and a
standard being promoted by Japanese
but he said that the emphasis was on
high-speed dubbing system, which makes
broadcast company NHK. SHV images offer
simplicity, and this strategy proved to
it incredibly fast and easy to archive
around 16 times the resolution of HDTV
be the right one. Even though the first
programmes. It will be interesting to see
pictures or 7680 x 4320 pixels compared
Sky+ boxes only had a 40GB hard drive
how PVRs develop over the next ten years.
with 1920 x 1080 pixels in a Full HD picture.
and could record around 20 hours of
Meanwhile, happy birthday Sky+.
SHV has roughly the same resolution offered by today’s Imax system. At this
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
year’s IFA electronics show in Berlin, Sharp had a prototype 85-inch SHV television, and next year, the BBC plans to show some Olympic events in SHV at various venues
It’s great to see that Philips, Sharp and
3DTV won’t work with another is a pain,
around the country. With the industry
Toshiba have joined the initiative started
especially as 3D active glasses are so
still trying to sell consumers the benefits
by Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Xpand
expensive. It seems incredible that while
of HDTV and 3DTV, expect to find a few
to standardise 3D active glasses. The
consumer electronics companies were
consumers asking whether they should
“Full HD 3D Glasses Initiative” was
busily standardising display technology
wait for SHV. The answer is simple: if you’ve
announced in August, with the intention of
and even HDMI leads for 3D, no one
got a very big lounge, an even bigger wallet
standardising the transmission technology
thought about doing the same for the
– and you don’t mind waiting at least a few
used by 3D active glasses. The fact that
glasses. As the saying goes, better late
years before the first SHV sets arrive, then
3D glasses designed for one brand of
SHV is for you.
FROM THE BENCH
Rental revival Could rental again become a significant factor in our industry? Alan Bennett speculates worsens and independent
callouts and regularly update their gear.
dealers seek any kind of
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN
Amongst these, hotels and institutions
at a further charge to customers who
salvation from the grim trading conditions
are specially valued customers. Fourthly
don’t have their own qualifying household
now facing them, I believe that rental of
– and increasingly – come those who in
insurance. And plainly their customers
brown and white goods could provide at
straitened circumstances can no longer
are lapping it up – after two or three years,
least a partial solution for both desperate
afford to buy what they want, but cannot go
depending on product price, the gear
traders and their hard-pressed customers.
without it - the nouveau poor as you might
becomes their own, at which point they
say; this group accounts for the upturn in
will typically have paid over 140% of the
interest in renting.
BrightHouse-declared retail price, plus any
Hard times The downturn in the housing market
The advantages of rental are not hard to
service and insurance charges.
has inhibited sales of kitchen and allied
see: for the customer a small initial outlay, a
equipment, while the reduction in most
personal, quick (usually same-day) and free
would have to think about cooker rental,
people’s disposable income has depressed
service, and the opportunity to update at
but I do think that mobility scooters are a
the sale of all home electrical gear, and
minimal cost; for the dealer a steady income,
viable proposition for hire. Their users are
there is little sign of improvement at any
a very good financial deal (recouping the
not generally the sort of people to default on
time in the near future. This has led to a new
net cost of the gear after little more than a
their rental payments!
interest in some sections of the industry
year in some cases, and a minimum rental
(even amongst manufacturers) in rental
period of 18 months or so) and ‘captive’
operation. Long, long ago rental was the
customers with a potential, if they are sound,
One of the main features – and selling
making of our company, and we have never
for further similar business. It is important,
points – of rental for the likes of us is the
abandoned it. In recent years, alongside
though, to make sure that they are sound
need to provide an excellent service:
retail sales, it has been our salvation, and
at the outset: by a credit check; proof of
installation, hook up, set up, service, loan
the main reason why we’re still here today.
identity, address and income; and perhaps
equipment and repair. This can be handled
Certainly our rental base has declined over
a reference or two. The rigour of these
by two guys and a reasonable sized van,
the years but we still have many hundreds
depends on the value of the equipment in
and ideally an in-house service workshop
of happy customers renting brown and
view, and they are generally less onerous
capable of handling first-line repair work on
white goods, mainly TVs, washing machines
than for major credit agreements.
both brown and white goods. We have one
and tumble dryers. You can’t beat a steady and regular income when times are hard!
I wouldn’t go for furniture as they do, and
excellent technician who can deal with both these categories, bless him, and handle
Look at the news and editorial reports
and climb a ladder as necessary for area
in the July issue of this magazine, and
and dish work into the bargain. I guess it’s
People who rent electrical equipment fall
particularly pages 8 and 9. Amid all the
possible to run a business without such
into four main categories. The ‘traditional’
doom and gloom there is one brilliant
a factotum but the repair work, once the
ones, making up perhaps half of our
splash of sunshine: BrightHouse reports
manufacturer’s guarantee has expired,
clients, are those, generally over 50, who
double-digit profit rise. In the recent past this 230-store rent-to-buy outfit has opened 30 new outlets, and plans to open 30 more this year. Doesn’t that speak for itself? BrightHouse charges an APR of 29.9%. No service or repair is provided unless they are separately (and handsomely) paid for, applicable even during the first year when the manufacturer’s guarantee is in force. They also offer their own insurance policy
would have to be very economically
have always rented, many of them afraid of equipment failure and repair bills. Another large group is typified by single mothers and those on benefits who don’t have the means to buy; they generally rent washing machines and tumble dryers and are perhaps the most at risk of defaulting on their payments. A third, much smaller, group want the latest equipment
contracted out to remain viable. Most of the many rental call-outs we get, however, turn out not to be breakdowns at all – socks, coins and bra wires in washing machines, flat batteries in zappers, failure to understand the gear, plugs fallen out, etc. This is easily dealt with by staff whose skills with people are at least as important as their technical abilities...
without any worries about repairs and
the economic situation
He clearly has an affinity with the city of Liverpool, and it’s fairly easy to detect that he prefers blue to red. Recreationally he’s done a bit of running (rather more than most of us would call “average”). He suspects he’s a bit of a workaholic, and in all things he stands by the precept: “Nothing but the best.” Meet Steve Macdonald, Marketing director – MDA and Built In, at Hoover Candy
Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry?
If you weren’t in your present position, what job would you choose to do?
Because I was employed by my first boss Maurizio Severgnini, who I work for now!
I would love to have been involved in football in some way, managing the commercial activities at Everton Football Club possibly?
Who in the industry would you like to spend time with? Too many good people to choose from…
Who makes you laugh? Would have to be Ed Byrne: fantastic comic and fantastic live
What was the greatest turning point in your life? Meeting my wife, who has shaped me into the person I am today (in a “good way”)
Hobbies? Running and walking our dogs. That’s all I have time for. I recently completed the Paris Marathon for the RSPCA, and possibly doing the Liverpool Marathon in October
What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told?
Favourite TV programme? I love gritty detective dramas like Luther or The Wire
What surprises you? People Favourite cuisine? Italian You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice, what character would you like to play?
Name your poison Brain’s Bitter
What do you daydream about? Travelling to all the exciting places I haven’t been to
What’s your favourite holiday destination? Two destinations spring to mind: New York, which is such a cosmopolitan city and has something for everyone; and Australia, as it is such a unique place and so friendly
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Managing Hoover Candy in the UK
What’s your greatest fear?
I would like to have played Jason Bourne in the Bourne Trilogies
I am ridiculously scared of heights, but stupidly I have jumped out of an aeroplane!
You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day, what would be the first change you would make?
Who do you most admire?
I would ban junk food
My dogs Daisy and Freddie! (Jack Russells)
I cannot recall, as I am generally very honest
Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change?
I would like not to want to work so much
Not taking at least a full year out to travel when I left University. I only took 3 months
Do you have any hidden talents?
What historic figure do you identify with most?
Do you have any particular fetishes?
Churchill, as he was such a great leader and managed to unify Great Britain at the time when it was most needed
What would you put into Room 101?
What’s your favourite piece of kit? What motto do you live by? Nil Satis Nisi Optimum (see above)
Tomorrow I will… ….be running the Liverpool Marathon
No, just average at running and football No Liverpool Football Club
How would you describe yourself?
What’s your greatest achievement?
Impatient, stubborn (although not as stubborn as other people I work for!), and will not accept no for an answer
Running 26.2 miles
“If 10% of retail sales are now being done without the need for a shop front, the fact that some 10% of shops are vacant seems not all that surprising.”
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum – Everton’s motto: Nothing but the best
How do you think others see you? Determined and a workaholic
Pet hate? People dropping litter
What sort of music do you like? Muse, Radiohead, Cold Play
Do you have any bad habits?
Who has been the greatest influence in your life?
Actually, I do – I say “actually” too much
“It’s not the Internet that’s killing my business; it’s our local John Lewis store.”
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