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Spin Cycle
May 1, 2006

When Whirlpool finally acquired Maytag in a stock/cash/debt assumption transaction valued at $2.6 billion, it was some of the biggest news to hit the appliance industry. At the time, Whirlpool said it would detail its Maytag plans in approximately 60 days. Jody Lau, Whirlpool communications manager, said, “We have good relationships with all of our trade partners and we will be communicating with them directly, one-on-one, as quickly as we can.” In the interim, retail leaders speculate how they think Whirlpool might combine the companies. Much is at stake. Whirlpool, with $14 billion in annual sales, sells products under the Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Estate, Roper, and

Climate Change
April 1, 2006

The appliance retail market has been riding a perfect storm of sorts, one in which consumers’ interest and ability to buy higher-end appliances have meshed beautifully with manufacturer product innovations in a primed retail channel. Any sales lost by market leader Sears have been eagerly snapped up by competitors. But the appliance retail climate is shifting, affected by a softening housing market, the still-aggressive expansion plans of Lowe’s and The Home Depot and, to a lesser extent, high energy prices. In early March, Dealerscope found appliance retailers of various formats cautiously eyeing the challenges ahead, but still enthusiastic about the appliance business.

DS0306 Kaching
March 1, 2006

Recent numbers from DisplaySearch, now a part of the NPD group, show data on Q4’05 large-area TFT LCD shipments, for 10-inch+ TFT LCD displays. Shipments increased 10 percent Q/Q and 69 percent Y/Y to 65.5M units. For all of 2005, shipments rose 58 percent to 218.5M panels on strong growth in all applications. Total revenues also experienced strong growth of 13 percent Q/Q and 78 percent Y/Y to $14.0B. For the year, revenues rose 25 percent to $44B, a record year for the TFT LCD industry. DisplaySearch expects Q4’05 to be the peak quarter in terms of Y/Y revenue growth in the latest crystal

High Def Inheritor
March 1, 2006

It’s no surprise to any retailer that the hey day of DVD is over. With $30 DVD players selling in aisle five of the grocery store, DVD has fast become a low-margin, commodity product. So it makes sense for retailers to hail the coming of high definition DVD—HD DVD or Blu-ray—as a boost to better margins. But the sale of these players may not be so easy. Incompatible formats, digital copy protection limitations and consumer unawareness all contribute to this category’s status as a hard sell. But with HD DVD now ready to ship, retailers will have to develop a strategy. Dealerscope interviewed some

Retail 2006: A Mixed Bag?
March 1, 2006

The backdrop of another PMA provides a perfect time for the imaging industry to take stock of what is going on economically with their customer base and, more specifically, their spending potential as all this new product readies for rollout. The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently concluded their annual Big Show at the Javits Center in New York and among the many retail technology headlines that came out of that show the NRF also released their Retail Outlook 2006 report. The retail research organization is painting a cautious picture for the 2006 consumer retail shopping outlook, claiming that high energy costs, modest wage increases

Beyond White
February 1, 2006

Jenn-Air Slide-in Ranges Going beyond just a cooktop, Jenn-Air is offering a series of slide-in ranges, with the aim of preseting a high-end, built-in look. Several models offer different features, including downdraft or updraft gas, dual-fuel and "gas on glass." Models with convection models are also available. The gas and dual-fuel models feature a triple-flame burner, which has two rings surrounding a 15,000 BTU burner. Prices range from $1,399 to $2,449 SRP. www.jenn-air.com GE Side-By-Side 'Frige GE's new refrigerator has an external ice and water dispenser that offers "PreciseFill" technology that allows users to fill receptacles, such as cups, bowls

Beyond the Bottom Line
January 1, 2006

Extended-service contracts don't just boost profits By Nancy Klosek There's an inescapable duality about extended warranties. When a customer buys a service contract, he is both buying a very costly piece of paper whose worth may never be realized while at the same time a very inexpensive solution to a potentially expensive problem. Warranties, unlike the products they are fashioned to cover, are much more than meets the eye. So companies in this trust-based business of product protection realize the need to be as transparent as possible to the retailers and consumers they serve. Dealerscope polled several major CE/appliance warranty executives this

Beyond White
January 1, 2006

Whirlpool Makes Manufacturing Changes Amidst a merger with Maytag, Whirlpool is shoring up it's manufacturing strategy, a process that the company says it has been working on for the past 12 months. Recently the company announced that it is moving the partial refrigerator production south of the border to Mexico. The new plant, which just completed construction, is located in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, and will produce side-by-side refrigerator/freezer models, beginning in 2006 and employing 1,000 workers. The opening of the plant means layoffs for approximately 730 workers at Whirlpool's Fort Smith, Ark., plant, which, according to the company, will occur in October 2006.

Beyond White
December 1, 2005

De'Longhi, an Italian brand imported to the U.S. by EuroChef, recently announced the availability of its high-end 48-inch, side-by-side range. It has twin stainless steel warming drawers with individual thermostats and humidity control. It has a stainless steel 304 scotch brite finish and has six gas burners with electric ignition. Two burners in the center are designed for larger pots and can heat to 32,000 BTUs. Call 886-844-6566 or visit www.dehonghimajorappliances.com. Amana added to its range of dishwashers with a new removable in-door silverware basket. The in-door silverware basket has a double-basket design for loading silverware and utensils. The basket also stands

Where the Big-Box Plays
November 1, 2005

How Brand Source dealers level the merchandising playing field By Nancy Klosek The costs of running a successful retail business rise every year, as appliance dealers are acutely aware. And for smaller and medium-sized retailers, what compounds the difficulties of price-competition with big-box stores is the sheer breadth of resources these gargantuan establishments can draw from to smooth their day-to-day revenue sheets. Home Depot, for example, earmarked more than $1 billion between 2002 and 2004 for expenditures related to technologies used in keeping their nearly 2,000 stores humming—much of it likely spent on merchandising, signage, rebate programs, stock evaluation

Marketing Design
November 1, 2005

How Hifi House partnered with a local magazine to showcase its talents to thousands—up close and personal By David Dritsas Here's a question for small retailers: If you could have nearly 5,000 potential customers walk through your retail showroom in a period of a few short weeks, would you do it? On top of that, how would you like nearly 10 months of editorial exposure in a local lifestyle magazine to go along with it? A resounding "yes" would be the answer for most dealers. At Broomall, Pa.'s Hifi House, that's almost exactly what they were able to do by striking a partnership with

Beyond White
November 1, 2005

Sharp Insight Pro One of the newest takes on the all-in-one concept, this Cooktop+Microwave Drawer contains a 1000-watt Microwave Drawer that sits beneath a smooth glass ceramic cooktop. The unit measures 30 inches wide, and the drawer can handle 9-inch by 13-inch oblong dishes. It is available in stainless steel (model KB-5121KS), black (model KB-5121KK) and white (model KB-5121KW). Prices start at $1,689.99 and the units will begin shipping in January. www.sharpusa.com A Cool Cooler Danby's DWC2121BLS integrated wine cooler is part of its Silhouette line. This twin door model has two independent compartments that can have distinct, electronically-controlled environments to store

High-End Trend
October 1, 2005

Buying groups are working to move Appliance dealers toward upscale products By David Dritsas For the past five years, Ed Kelly, Nationwide Market Group's president, has been working to convince appliance dealers to consider carrying higher-end products. Just as the independent retailers of audio/video learned long-ago, appliance dealers are increasingly catering to upscale tastes, a practice that can give the dealer an advantage over the national chains. Some buying groups are taking proactive steps to help the transition along. "We've been working on that for about five years," explains Kelly. "We've been pushing dealers up into the GE Monograms [for example]—to change the mix

Beyond X-10 The Future of Home Automation
September 1, 2005

Insteon, Z-Wave and Zigbee make a play for the home control space. By David Dritsas The Microsoft's of the world have been talking a lot about network homes, in which everything can be controlled over a high bandwidth network. While this is OK for PCs and some audio/video devices, it is not yet practical or financially feasible to make lamps and other "dumb" devices IP-addressable. Who needs a network card in an IKEA floor lamp? And yet, mass market consumer interest in controlling devices like lamps, appliances motorize blinds, etc., is genuine—as the robust sales of X-10 products has proven for the past

Retail Excellence- Army/Air Force Exchange Service
August 1, 2005

More than just a PX, the AAFES brings home to the troops AAFES sells electronics, as well as other products, to U.S. military personel. It may surprise you to learn that one of the consistently most successful United States retailers is only available to a small percentage of population—the U.S. military. And yet, every year, the Army/Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) rises in rank on Dealerscope's annual Top 50 retailer list (this year at 19). Not only that, but the Exchange uses its revenues to fund important programs that benefit the men and women serving at home and abroad. A-typical retailer AAFES isn't your

Hoover Recalls Upright Vacuums
April 18, 2005

Hoover (part of Maytag Corp.) and The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently recalled approximately 636,000 US-manufactured Hoover Self-Propelled Upright Vacuum Cleaners. According to the CPSC, the recalled vacuums, originally sold for prices between $259 and $279, have defective power switches that may overheat, melt their handles and cause a fire. Maytag has received 249 reports of vacuums overheating. One minor burn injury requiring no medical attention has also been reported. This recall specifically applies to Hoover Self-Propelled Upright Vacuum Cleaners manufactured between May 1998 through July 2000. Consumers should not return their vacuum cleaners to retailers but should stop using the vacuums immediately

New Life to Ranges
April 1, 2005

While some ranges can fall into the "budget" category, retailers should never think of these common products as budget items. As most appliance salespeople know, high-powered, professional-style ranges with multiple options can command prices into the five-digit arena. Energy efficiency, heat sources, colors and styles vary widely to fit consumers' cooking styles, aesthetic concerns and available energy sources. "Knowing the relative benefits for each type of cooking power source helps make sales," says Kris Demore, director of Valparaiso, IN, appliance store, Sunny Appliances. "You have to be really familiar with what makes some people love gas cooking—the immediate heat, the ease of controlling a

KBIS to Show NextGen Home
March 31, 2005

The 2005 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show and Conference, to be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center May 9-12, will feature The National Kitchen and Bath Association's (NKBA) NextGen Design Idea Home. The NextGen Design Idea Home will showcase trends in home design for the entire house with a special focus on the kitchen and bath areas. The design home will replicate a contemporary floor plan featuring the kitchen at the center of activity, as a place to cook, eat, relax and entertain. "Our NextGen Design Idea Home will reveal what the home of tomorrow looks like, featuring state-of-the-art electronics, advanced products and innovative design

Digital Displays Build Momentum
February 1, 2005

This year produced a great deal of excitement and intrigue. As prices continue to fall, the major TV vendors seem to be digging in and throwing their support behind particular TV technologies, and complementary technologies like DVR, high-definition discs and home networking continued to gain momentum. While product information from the show is readily available elsewhere, we thought we'd share some insights, analysis and trends gleaned from the show. We'll focus on display technologies. * LCD panels are getting ever-larger and ever-cheaper. The market for LCD flat panels in the 20- to 37-inch area is likely to explode this year as prices continue to

The Appliance Cycle
January 1, 2005

The two questions most frequently asked of appliance repair experts are "How much is a new machine?" and "How long should my [insert appliance name here] last?" Naturally, the idea all major appliances must someday expire and become landfill fodder helps fuel the industry with new sales, but an important selling point for most purchases in this product category revolves around dependability and product life-span. With this in mind, take a look at some basic major appliance facts from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM): The average length of appliance ownership varies from a low of 6.8 years for garbage disposals