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the BIG interview


"As a manufacturer we need our independent customers to succeed"


This month, in our keynote Big Interview feature, we speak to Mark Davison, Managing Director of Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, parent company to Stoves, the iconic British brand celebrating its centenary this year. Here he talks about joining GDHA, the history of Stoves as a company, and where the future lies for this historic brand.


M


ark begins by telling us a little about Stoves. “Stoves is a manufacturer of


domestic appliances and part of the Glen Dimplex Home Appliances group. We employ approximately 700 people across our Prescot manufacturing base and Stoke distribution centre. Products from the Stoves brand include market-leading range cookers, built-in ovens and hobs, co-ordinating hoods and splashbacks as well as a range of integrated appliances and refrigeration products. “The brand was founded on Valentine’s Day 1920. Although it was originally a manufacturer of sheet metal and gas heaters, the savvy owners recognised that a revolution was happening in British kitchens so they began to apply their manufacturing expertise to cookers. Originally based in Warrington, Stoves relocated to its current manufacturing facility in Rainhill Prescot in 1925 and that’s where we remain today. The company quickly developed a reputation for manufacturing excellence and by 1937 it had developed an extensive range of cookers and was showcasing its range of gas cookers, including the "Bakerloo", "Newhome", "Reliable" and "Kitchenette” models at exhibitions across the country. Although the arrival of war meant the brand had so turn its attentions to supporting the munitions effort, in the fifties and sixties it recommenced marketing activity, expanding the Stoves Newhome collection which, by 1971 had an unprecedented 15% of the market.” It's easy to see why Mark would be attracted to joining a company which included a business


like Stoves, but as he points out, there were challenges when he took the top job. “I joined the business in late 2017 as the new Managing Director. I was previously head of sales and marketing at Aga Rangemaster. I joined the business at what was a very challenging time for the company. It was changing its business strategy, its culture and its organisation and making some changes to its people, all whilst


10 | www.innovativeelectricalretailing.co.uk


trying to compete in a very challenging market! However, the changes we’ve introduced have started to yield results. In the UK, for example, we have actively targeted new distribution channels such as kitchen specialists, while keeping close to our loyal customer base. We know that consumers resonate with the Stoves brand and expect to find it in specific retailers. Our aim is to meet that demand. It’s a big responsibility to be the new custodian of a 100-year-old brand, but one I’m very proud of.” Being the new custodian of the Stoves brand isn’t the only thing Mark is proud of. “I’m proud to say that Stoves’ 100-year history has been filled with innovation, including the first hotplate ignition button and the first self-cleaning oven lining – years ahead of its time! The brand’s runaway success attracted outside interest and, in 1971, Stoves became part of a newly formed company - Newhome- Veritas - which was subsequently acquired by manufacturing giant of the time, Valor.” The business continued to develop, as Mark explains. “In the late eighties an ambitious leadership team staged a management buyout, returned Stoves to its original company name and ushered in a decade of intense innovation, which saw the introduction of the unique, high spec Rotostar collection of built-in gas ovens with breakthrough burner technology, an expansion into refrigeration and integrated appliances and the launch of the brand’s first range cookers. “The new millennium saw Stoves achieve


its eleventh year of record growth and it soon attracted the interest of electrical


February/March 2020


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