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2008 was an eventful year for GDHA, ending on an extremely positive note with the announcement that we had been named White Goods Supplier of the Year at the prestigious Combined Independent Holdings Awards ceremony.  This was a fantastic achievement and one which demonstrates the strength of our brands Stoves, Belling, New World and Lec, and our commitment to the independent sector.

We were delighted to welcome top chef, Brian Turner, as the ambassador for Stoves.  The classically trained Yorkshire chef first became familiar with the Stoves brand at the launch of the Accolade collection of built-in products and he was delighted when we approached him to become brand ambassador. Throughout the year Brian has worked with Stoves on product development and demonstration, made guest appearances at our trade roadshows and most recently supported us at the BBC Good Food show where he wowed visitors with his classic cuisine.

We also announced a partnership with the UK’s largest women’s organisation – the Women’s Institute – a new collaboration which has seen us create the first ever diamond encrusted range cooker for charity as well as working together on the launch of the WI’s new cookery school at Denman College in Oxfordshire. This partnership with the WI will continue into 2009 as we work with them on a number of long term educational projects designed to get people back in to the kitchen.

Belling too had a brush with the stars, making a guest appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe festival with BBC Radio 4 presenter and comedian, Chris Neil. In addition, Belling retained its title as the UK’s number one cooking brand* and celebrated by unveiling a new look as part of a marketing makeover designed to broaden the company’s appeal. The makeover included new product photography, an updated brochure and website, dedicated Point of Sale materials and a brand new advertising concept for both consumer and trade.

This year has seen plenty of product innovation across all brands.  Stoves built on the successful launch of its ‘Flavours’ collection of range and Mini Range cookers, Belling brought down the cost of induction with the Belling PBI, as well as updating the iconic Baby Belling. New World gave a retro classic a new twist in the shape of the sleek, black High Level Grill and Lec returned to its roots with the launch of a 50cm T5038 combi…and the list goes on!

In a difficult climate we have been delighted to report several successes this year, including growth in our market share for Stoves in the range cooking sector plus a fantastic performance from our established refrigeration brand, Lec, which reported a 51% growth in retail sales value between June 08 and August 08 in comparison to the same period last year.

To support our independent retailers through difficult trading conditions we introduced two support initiatives, Stoves & Ace Centres and the Range Centre Initiative, which saw retailers stocking a range of our products being supported with bespoke training, dedicated Point of Sale and exclusive discounts and promotions.

We’ve invested heavily in the support we plan to offer to independents next year, having a full team of dedicated independent area sales managers and providing retailers with better access to our excellent sales training expertise and product demonstrations.

Like every business, the economic climate will present us with challenges next year, but with four strong and growing brands in our portfolio, an experienced team, an unrivalled customer service offering and a raft of innovative new products to announce, we’re still looking forward to a successful 2009.    

*Gfk data October 2008

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