By Patrick Avenell
Ilve will this year introduce its first range of refrigeration appliances, including wine fridges, and expand its distribution to include The Good Guys. Jamey Colbert, the managing director of local distributor Eurolinx, said these moves would give more customers access to the complete Ilve kitchen solution.
Colbert hosted Ilve’s retail partners, traditionally only the Narta Group, Harvey Norman and specialists; along with media and the architecture community, at a 2013 product launch at the Maserati Showroom in Sydney last night.
Although the new refrigeration products were not on display, having only been finalised on Colbert’s recent trip to Europe, he confirmed to Current.com.au that new French Door and side-by-side models would be released in “about four months” — July or August 2013.
As with the new cookers, hobs and dishwashers on display, these refrigerators, provided by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), would retain Ilve’s traditional style.
“We want to capture the Italian spirit and everything that Italy means,” he said. “We’re all about passion and food and having fun in the kitchen.
“Everyone wants one brand. It’s only when someone walks into a store and gets direction that they split up the brands. Most people walk in wanting one brand because they want to own a piece of a brand and what it means to them.
“To have the whole offering; we’ll be able to cater to everybody.”
Catering to more customers is clearly a major strategy for Eurolinx. Colbert said that since the collapse of Clive Peeters, Ilve has had fewer customers, meaning the company had to look outside its traditional retail partners.
“The Good Guys is coming on board,” he said, “Clive Peeters was a very important customer of ours and they had a lot of expertise in selling upmarket appliances and they took the time to sell to each customer. I think that has been lacking in our industry the last couple of years.
“I’m not saying The Good Guys are going to be able to fulfil that gap but we need to branch out a little bit more than we have.
“It’s sad to see some specialist stores go under but we are running a business and we have to look forward.”
When asked if Eurolinx was exploring moving to a pro forma model, similar to one employed by Miele, Asko or Gaggenau, Colbert said the company had looked at it several times.
“Every year we look at pro forma but it’s a big decision. Once you go there you can’t go back so we look at the market all the time and there are some pros and there are some cons that we evaluate. Short term is ‘never say never’.”
One move definitely happening is an expansion into wine coolers in partnership with market leaders Vintec.
“Vintec has come on board — it’s a collaboration — we’re very happy to work with them; they are the leaders in wine fridges and hopefully we can boost sales for each other.”
Eurolinx MD Jamey Colbert addresses guests at Ilve's 2013 product launch.