GDHA managing director Mark Davison says the appliance market is tough, but the company is investing in product development for a post-Brexit economic recovery and trying to raise its profile in the kitchen specialist sector.
Speaking to kbbreview, the managing director of Glen Dimplex Home Appliances said: “The market is still challenging because of the Brexit situation – there’s low consumer confidence and people don’t know what’s happening with the economy. That has started to impact the housing market – people are delaying big-ticket purchases, into which MDA [major domestic appliances] falls.”
He added: “If you look at our markets, they’re a little bit soft, which is strange because we have relatively low levels of unemployment and wages are increasing ahead of inflation – people should be spending money, but they aren’t. We look at the Amdea figures for the past 12 months and we’re seeing an MDA market that’s down 1.2% in volume – cooking is down 2.8%.
“Given that climate, all you can do is be as competitive as possible – with consumers and customers – but we’re not completely battening down the hatches, because if you stop all new product development, when the recovery comes – which I’m sure it will – you’ll be left behind.”
Davison said GDHA is currently working on a number of projects that are either about to launch, or are in the pipeline for the next 12 to 24 months.
In an interview with kbbreview in August 2018, he outlined his ambition for the company to be number one in range cookers within 18 months to two years, taking the top spot from Rangemaster.
Almost a year on, Davison said that the business is on target to achieve that: “We are moving in the right direction – we still would like to be number one in range cooking and that’s where most of our focus is, but the reality is that even the range [cooker] market is challenging – it’s down 3% in volume.
“Range cooking tends to be in the more affluent sector of the housing market, which is now being affected. Despite that, we are making progress – we’re beginning to grow our share. At this stage, we’re reasonably happy with where we are and the momentum that’s building.”
He added: “We launched a Stoves range in autumn last year, which is helping things move in the right direction, and we’re broadening our UK distribution and growing our presence in key channels, like kitchens and independents. We’ve been successful in getting the Stoves brand into Wren Kitchens – it’s been there since December and it’s doing well. “We’ve also put some resources into the true kitchen specialists but, given the nature of that channel, it’s slow progress – you’re talking thousands of outlets all around the country. It’s more of a long-term plan.”