Retailers impressed by Fisher & Paykel’s stylish flight to the high end

By Patrick Avenell

Fisher & Paykel last night entertained retailers, designers, architects and floor sales staff at an elaborate and decadent product launch in the Botanic Gardens in Sydney.

Although there were 10 food courses, an unbeatable view of Sydney Harbour and plenty of alcoholic lubrication for guests, it was the products, and their positioning, that was most memorable — quite an achievement of substance over style considering how stylish this event was.

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Inside the giant marquee overlooking the Opera House forecourt, Fisher & Paykel showcased its new Dynamic Cooking Systems (DCS) barbeques, refrigerators, washing machines, integrated cooking appliances and dishwashers and DishDrawers.

Although known for its mass market accessibility, this event clearly demonstrated Fisher & Paykel’s aspiration to play at the higher end of the market, with higher price points and premium products suitable for renovations and the much sought-after specification market.

“The long-awaited Companion product range,” chief operating officer Mike Church explained, “features a steam oven, a coffee machine, a microwave and a compact oven.

“For us to take the whole cooking category seriously, we felt we needed to supply these products, and finally now they are due for release, and they are going to come in all sorts of configurations for complete flexibility.”

The built-in Companion range includes a Coffee Maker (EB60DSXB1, RRP $2,999), a Combination Microwave (OM36NDXB1, RRP $2,199), a Compact Oven (OB60N8DTX1, RRP $1,999) and a Steam Oven (OS60NDTX1, RRP $2,199).

Coming into Fisher & Paykel’s stainless steel refrigeration range are two new 790mm models, one French Door (RF522ADUX1, RRP $2,499) and one Door Drawer (RF522WDRUX1, RRP $2,349), to complement the previously released 900mm stainless steel model. General manager, marketing, Peter Russell told Current.com.au that the 900mm model has been the top selling French Door refrigerator in Australia for 46 of the last 48 months.

These two new fridges were a personal highlight for Harvey Norman Erina franchisee David Ragg.

“The fridges are great – great innovation – it’s good to see new products from Fisher & Paykel,” Ragg said. “The move to a higher end is much better – lift those ASPs up – it’s what the industry needs. It would be good to see this from more of the brands.”

F&P's new 790mm French Door Fridge.

Launching on 1 October 2012, with the branding DCS by Fisher & Paykel, will be the company’s first Australian releases of its high-end outdoor cooking systems. Although they are essentially extremely well-featured barbeques, Russell said they will be marketed with the tagline “These are not BBQs” to emphasise their outstanding quality.

Prices for these cooking systems, which are fully customisable, will start at around $10,000. Fisher & Paykel will be selling them under the pro forma, or agency, system. Current.com.au overheard one leading retail exclaim his happiness at this arrangement.

A gratuitous shot of the new Dynamic Cooking Systems.

More news on Fisher & Paykel's range is here

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