New Life to Ranges
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 gas flame, the adjustability—as compared to the simplicity, power and clean lines of an electric range."
The cooking segment of the appliance industry has seen sizable growth during the past few years as manufacturers continue to incorporate new technologies into their cooking appliances. The continued growth and popularity of industry trade shows such as the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association Expo (HPBA) and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (K/BIS), both of which focus on cooking appliances, bear out these trends. Both conventions experienced expanded attendance numbers and greater interest last year. This continued innovation coupled with the nation's recent economic recovery may be responsible for growth in this segment of the appliance industry. Consequently, while a new range usually isn't on the annual shopping list for most consumers, it seems more and more of these large appliances are selling lately.