Bigger, better and bolder

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ROBIN Millwood, CIH chairman, and an independent retailer himself, told IER that there is no place like the annual CIH show for learning what’s new and the best in the industry, business networking and, of course, making the deals. “The third CIH Show at the NEC is bigger, better and bolder than the previous two events. Both manufacturers and the CIH staff have outdone themselves to make it the best electrical show possible.
“This remains the only true trade show for the industry. For the manufacturers – it is their own showcase. For an independent – this is the opportunity to see and touch the products and talk to the management of manufacturing companies which is not something they can take advantage of every day.

“By not being here the CIH members would also miss out on special offers and the opportunity to get to see all the CIH staff.”

Consumer electronics latest

Toshiba, who is the official sponsor of the Rugby World Cup, had PoS material for the Rugby World Cup for the retailers wishing to capitalise on this event, and gave the visitors a preview of its products coming onto the market shortly.

Mike Hern, account manager at Toshiba said: “At the end of September we are launching 40in and 46in Regza XF TVs with slim bezel, 1080p, 100Hz which will be offered with a free HD DVD player, plus a free HD DVD title – which is a very strong package for the consumer. In October, we are launching the Regza Z-series; 42in sets will come with free 15in LCD TV. The series will also include 52in and 57in sets for the niche market.”

Mike Gabriel, head of marketing communications at Sharp, had a simple message for Sharp customers: “We are big and green. We are launching new bigger and slimmer LCD TVs, focusing on 46in and 52in sets. With our LCD plant we can now produce large screens more effectively. Sharp has managed to ‘shrink down’ the overall size of the TV so the 46in TV can now fit in the space of an old 42in set, encouraging customers to move to larger sizes. Importantly, these products are now greener and they will have the EST energy rating. They will have 0.8 Watts standby power, and will be able to save energy with the Optimum Picture Control feature which adjusts picture brightness depending on the surroundings. Moreover, at the end of their product life all the new Sharp models are fully recyclable.”

Something special

Servis, which targeted the independent sector with the Electra brand launched over a year ago, took the opportunity to present at the show a full colour range of its retro fridges which represent excellent value for money.

Servis’ latest offer – the relaunched Electra E6860 8.5 kg washer featuring a pet bed wash cycle – is targeted at the pet owners (20% of the British population). Gill Hewitson, Servis marketing manager, commented to IER: “Our research showed that there are more fleas in pets bedding than is in pets, and their owners wish to have larger machines to wash them regularly. The dealers to whom we spoke liked the pet programme idea, saying that at last there is something interesting to talk about with regard to a washing machine.”

The new black

Servis’ black collection, comprising the 7.5kg washing machine, a 7kg vented tumble dryer, a full size family dishwasher and a 60cm wide frost free fridge freezer, has also attracted a lot of interest which Gill attributes to the current popularity of high gloss kitchens.

Walking around the show it was clear that black is the most fashionable colour for domestic appliances at the moment, with also Hoover, Siemens, Bosch and Maytag proudly displaying their black collections.

Ekkehard Rabold, Bosch group marketing manager, commented on the trend: “Black appliances, particularly with high gloss finish, look prestigious in the kitchen. They coordinate particularly well with stainless steel.” Bosch’s black collection consists of a high gloss sideby- side fridge freezer which will come to the market early next year, a washing machine and a dishwasher. Ekkehard Rabold said that not all dealers, however, are convinced that the demand for black appliances is here to stay, and that the popularity of the whole range will be dependent on the size of the customers’ kitchens. Nevertheless, “at the moment the black appliances are regarded as special and attract premium prices which is good for the trade”, added Ekkehard.

Meanwhile BEKO relaunched for independents its built-in collection incorporating cooking, laundry, dishwashing and refrigeration appliances. “We have here some fantastic offers in terms of display and good product offers. We also have for the first time integrated Leisure products, particularly new range cookers, which represent a good opportunity for independent dealers”, commented Huw Buckle, BEKO sales and marketing director.

Stoves wanted the visitors to see and touch its two latest collections: Flavours – the collection of range cookers which came in an array of vibrant colours, and the Accolade from Stoves – the designer builtin series, comprising the latest appliances, among which are horizontal ovens and induction hobs.

Latest in cooling and laundry

Maytag was keen to present a new Admiral range – Silver Duo – in silver or black finish. “Silver finish is meant for those customers who like the look of stainless steel but their budget does not stretch so far. We also have a stainless steel doors-only version which makes the model more affordable”, commented Stuart Frost, marketing manager at Maytag. “Everyone wants black appliances on display at the moment – they carry this ‘wow’ factor,” added Stuart. Maytag was also displaying a new range of American laundry which will be available in November.

Whirlpool was previewing the AquaSteam 8kg washer which is coming to the market in December. Its USP is the steam stain removal feature which uses hot jets of steam which penetrate the washing, facilitating removal of stains and leaving the fabric easier to iron. It also has a sanitisation programme which removes residue bacteria from the wash.

Sovereign’s managing director, John Graham, was very pleased with visiting dealers’ response to Sovereign’s recent launch of 50cm frost free fridgefreezers which are particularly suitable for the smaller kitchens in old properties. “There is huge interest in these appliances”, commented John.

These were only some of the product developments showcased at the CIH tradeshow. At the NEC there was much more to see, touch and discuss – all under one roof – an opportunity which only an event like this can provide.

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