By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Since the iconic Australian cooking brand’s re-launch at the Powerhouse Museum on 19 September, the new range of St George ovens, the first new designs for the brand in 10 years, has achieved record sales in October.

St George Appliances unveiled its new range of Australian designed and made ovens in time to celebrate the company’s 60 year anniversary with a rejuvenated product range and marketing campaign.

Before the launch the new product range was rolled out into retail stores with new kitchen displays in major retailers and the results have been promising.

“We have had a record October sales result, so we’ve been really encouraged by the whole thing,” said Woodland Home Products managing director, Peter Woodland.

This was the first re-design of St George product in 10 years. The brand was bought out by Kleenmaid in the 1990s and then Kleenmaid it sold to Woodland Home Products.

“We bought it in April 2004,” recalled Woodland. “We immediately continued on manufacturing the same old St George appliances at that time. Because at that time we were only babes in the woods, not having lived in that whitegoods world and we didn’t realise it was a tired design. It worked well and it was still the biggest oven available but it was an old tired design.

“In Kleenmaid it was only competing against one other brand and it sold quite well. But when you take St George out of Kleenmaid and put it into a Winnings store for example, where it is competing against 26 other brands, that’s when you start to see that it was a bit old.”

Woodland appointed Australian designer Andrew Crick to rejuvenate the brand.

“It took us a bit over two years to complete the re-design by Andrew Crick. The range was designed by an Australian for Australians but it had to have equal features and benefits that the European brands have but as far as I’m concerned, and many others now agree, we have got more features than the Europeans — we have got the size,” Woodland said.

Woodland was referring to the fact that the 60 cm St George ovens have the largest capacity of any 60 cm oven in the market, with 92 litres of interior cooking space compared to the average 58 litres. The ovens also feature four layers of glass in the oven doors so that the outer door remains cool to touch when the oven is in use.

“From research we have done we have found that there are 135,000 burns in the kitchen per year attributable to ovens and cooktops,” Woodland explained.

Next for St George is a new range of cooktops to be launched in the new year.

“Our new range has been really warmly welcomed by the industry — they love the fact that it has the biggest oven in the market. Now we are projecting February or March for the launch of our new range of cooktops, for gas, ceramic and induction cooktops.”