industry insight

Garden retail fixtures for kitchen knives gets a revamp

With the recent knife legislation forcing retailers to remove products from shelves, BHETA launches a campaign to pick up the sales but maintain safety precautions.


ith the retail display of knives in grocery and department stores hitting the headlines over the last few months with the likes of Tesco and Asda removing single knives from sale, it may not be long before garden centre cookshops come under similar scrutiny. Suppliers, trade associations and retailers themselves have been gathering to address the issue and the British Home Enhancement Association (BHETA) has initiated an industry-wide safe knife retailing campaign. The downturn in kitchen knife sales in

grocery that has resulted from the controversy - not only from removal from shelves, but also from the variety of retailer ‘security measures’ - is already evident from EPOS data. Together with anecdotal reports from suppliers and retailers, the data demonstrates that the security-led changes often lead to poorer customer experience, poorer product aesthetics and a reduction in purchase convenience. Garden centres need to take a proactive approach in order to minimise similar pitfalls. One supplier taking just such a proactive approach to designing and testing a new safer, but still consumer-friendly retail fixture for kitchen knives is Richardson Sheffield. A British brand dating from 1839, Richardson Sheffield is now owned by Amefa, the company which

delivers specialist knife expertise across the full spectrum of knives, from premium and professional to mid-range and affordable, as well as a comprehensive selection of high end and restaurant to child-friendly, student and starter home cutlery. The prototype Richardson Sheffield retail

fixture was first shown at Exclusively Housewares and it is designed to allow retailers to display kitchen knives safely and securely, while also letting customers handle the knives in order to make their selection. The knives are locked away in a Perspex transparent unit, but with the handle available, so customers can feel the handle, test the weight and balance of the knife and inspect the shape and finish of the blade. Managing director of Amefa, Richard Carr

explains: “The further up the scale you go in terms of premium product, the more important it is for the consumer to be able to trial the product in terms of a physical relationship with the knife. In the mid to premium sector, cookshop departments offer more expensive knives and these are frequently required to be retailed in exposed packaging in order that customers can try out the product; and with the current need for more responsible knife retailing, this becomes more challenging so we all need to find other solutions.”

Richard points out that with the purchase of mid, premium and luxury knives customers really do want and need to “hold the knife, feel the weight and check the handle for comfort and grip. We therefore needed to come up with a safe solution for both retailers and customers, where the feel of the product can still be experienced pre-purchase. “This fixture not only allows for that vital

aspect of choosing the best kitchen knives to meet the individual consumer’s needs, it actually adds to the in-store experience in terms of choice, advice and information which is now so important for bricks and mortar sales.”

A multi-channel experience

The company believes that the concept not only overcomes the security issues, but it adds

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a whole new dimension to the possibility of point of sale in the category by integrating a digital screen above the unit, allowing customers to search for and find the best knife for their lifestyle and purposes, as well as to add to the retailer basket for easy purchase. The digital screen invites consumers to select their level of culinary interest from ‘everyday’ to ‘enthusiast’ to ‘expert’ and then shows the ideal ranges within those categories. Then by clicking on different food icons, consumers decide which type of knife they need to do a specific food task and the screen then displays all the knives which can perform that function. Finally, consumers can click on ranges and knife functions for further information, followed by the opportunity to choose to buy a knife by clicking ‘Add to basket’ on the screen.

The options for fulfilling the sale are then up to the garden centre. It may be that the customer would then be able to collect the knife from a customer service desk, which is tailored towards age verified sales, but the system can easily be adapted to a more assisted purchase or even to online ordering, in store collection or age-verified home delivery. Mr Carr continues: “We’ve not only made

knives safe, according to this responsible retailing campaign, but we’ve incorporated a much- needed and helpful multi-channel solution. We intended to be proactive on kitchen knife safety and we have been, but the journey has also made us think more creatively and deliver something that we think is really special.” Amefa is part of BHETA’s collaboration of knife suppliers and retailers looking at “how we can go forward collaboratively,” adds Amefa’s commercial director, Steve Law. He concludes, “We are passionate about working with retailers and this initiative demonstrates the level of investment we are prepared to make.” Interested garden centres can contact the Amefa Customer Service team on 01142 542530 or email: and be directed to the right department to discuss their kitchen knife retailing needs.

GCU July 2019

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