Booming house sales, particularly in New South Wales have boosted sales in the cooking category, and Smeg has been a beneficiary of this trend as, national marketing manager, Jim Kalotheos told Appliance Retailer in our Mid-Year Report Card, out now in our July magazine.
How has the first half of 2015 been for your business?
Last year’s trajectory has continued with the first half of this year continuing double digit growth. We feel there is a continued appreciation of where the Smeg brand has been and where it is going.
Part of our strategy is an aggressive new product release program, which includes new induction cooktop models and the entry into new categories, such as our successful small appliance products program.
Meanwhile, major national media plans and the sponsoring/involvement of premium food and design events such as Melbourne Food & Wine Festival and Indesign are keeping us squarely in our customers’ focus.
What are your predictions for the second half of the year?
The market will continue to get more competitive, especially in the whitegoods space. As long as consumers remain upbeat about the bigger economic issues, then there is room to continue to grow.
Our continued new product program release will assist retailers to enjoy this growth and the continued potential and strength of the Smeg brand.
What opportunities do you see for the electrical retailing industry?
We hear so much about technology and how it is changing the face of retailing but which electrical retailer is really creating those unforgettable experiences with our customers? I think there is still a huge opportunity to merge these two things.
What threats are currently present in the industry?
I think the big one is still not having the customers’ best interests in mind. Through our pre-, post- and in-store cooking demos, we interact a lot with end consumers and quite often in our own showrooms. It’s amazing how many of these people still complain about retail customer service. And these people are only going to start looking for purchasing alternatives if current channels don’t step up to the mark.
What is your favourite product of 2015 so far?
It’s only in its infancy but I have to say the new Smeg kitchen mixer. It says so much about who we are and what we represent: performance, personality and iconic design!