Malcolm Scott, the KBSA corporate chair, cheers the return to ‘normality’ as we can once again attend events in person. He finds a host of interesting new products with smart functionality at some recent appliance launches and trade shows.
New product launches, which were an early victim of Covid and social distancing, have resumed with a product launch at Smeg’s Oxford headquarters, a new showroom launch at the Warrington office of Hoover Candy, the National Merchants Buying Society (NMBS) trade show in Coventry and the Sirius Buying Group trade show.
The Sirius show in Birmingham featured more than 20 appliance brands with large stands and was well attended. The list of exhibitors was a ‘who’s who’ of the appliance sector – Bosch, Neff, Siemens, Franke, Montpellier, Hoover, Candy, Whirlpool, Hotpoint, Beko and Smeg, displayed alongside a wide selection of supporting service providers.
The NMBS trade show at the Coventry Arena was very well attended and featured the usual collection of more than 100 suppliers, all with significant stands showing everything new within the whole building spectrum. Swift and Franke had a stand showing new sinks and taps, which was well attended.
At the recent KBSA board meeting, it was revealed that it had signed up 20 new kitchen and bathroom specialist retailers. The KBSA is working hard on the provision of new and tangible benefits for its members. The Trusted Trader package has been improved and includes with ways to increase communication directly with consumers with the purpose of helping retailers boost footfall int their showrooms.
Back to those launches and Smeg revealed the results of three years of intensive product development to a packed venue, while Hoover Candy commenced a series of trade show viewings of its new multimillion-pound Warrington trade showroom.
The new Galileo oven was not the only star at the Smeg launch. It was joined by musician Tony Hadley and Michelin-starred chef Theo Randall (pictured) of BBC Saturday Kitchen fame, who put on a cookery demo.
Galileo – which will be available in the UK early next year – represents Smeg’s largest-ever investment in a new product, resulting in the application for five patents. The new cooking technology will be available right through the Smeg oven and combi range, including Victoria, Classic, Linea and Dolce Stil Novo in 450mm and 600mm cavity sizes.
The Galileo product combines steam cooking with microwave cooking and traditional convection cooking, complete with new inverter technology that eliminates hot spots and cooks up to 70% faster than traditional methods. The Galileo ovens have simple, picture-led controls, loads of pre-set functions, bright LED lighting and large-cavity single ovens.
The Hoover Candy showroom in Warrington is a new facility and features large numbers of appliances from parent company Haier. Haier is at the other end of the spectrum from Smeg, with a Chinese base but with factories throughout the USA, Europe, and South America and some widely recognised brands like GE, Fisher and Paykel and Rosieres in its portfolio.
The Warrington showroom is laid out by brand with working appliances and includes a large presentation room. There were several new products from Candy, including products that you would not expect from an entry-level brand, such as a nine-function steam-assisted pyro-clean oven and wi-fi connectivity.
The Hoover section featured a wide selection of large-cavity ovens packed with technology like cavity cameras, splitable single ovens, wi-fi connectivity, LED vision lighting and a Wizard recipe selection.
The new Haier collection featured all the latest technology and included a good selection of extra-width two-, three- and four-door refrigeration. The showroom also had a wide selection of freestanding appliances. Trade customers will be invited on a rolling basis.
Things may not be back to normal quite yet, but with all these activities and the ever-popular kbbreview Retail & Design Awards dinner taking place as normal, there is light at the end of the tunnel.