the BIG interview

manufacturing giant, Glen Dimplex, which went on to acquire the brand before the end of 2000. Stoves remains part of the Glen Dimplex Home Appliances family to this day, alongside other leading brands Belling, Britannia and Lec.” The involvement of GDHA has also made a lasting impact on Stoves. “In the last 20 years innovation has continued apace under GDHA, with the introduction of the ground-breaking Stoves Genus, which used a combination of fanned and microwave cooking technology to cook food four times faster through to the first range cooker with Bluetooth connectivity in the last two years.” Stoves is celebrating its centenary this year,

and it’s evident from Mark’s involvement in the celebrations that he is particularly invested in this great British brand. He goes on to outline some of the ways the company is planning on celebrating reaching this important milestone. “Very few brands in the white goods sector get the opportunity to reach their centenary, so we are very proud that Stoves has not only survived, but thrived, so we want to celebrate that. As part of the 100 year celebrations, we will be supporting retailers with a number of initiatives aimed at raising the profile and heritage of the brand amongst consumers. As the year progresses there will be new product launches

alongside national retailer promotions and the brand’s biggest ever media investment. In addition, the popular Stoves on Tour events will continue, with the brand hosting celebrity chefs on its stages at dozens of food and drink events. Stoves will be undertaking a number of regional and employee events– beginning with a visit to the Prescot site by local dignitaries, including the Mayor of Knowsley, Councillor Jackie Harris, in February. She will tour the manufacturing site before enjoying the first of a series of Centenary lunches, themed by each of the ten decades of Stoves history, alongside some of the company’s longest serving employees – some of whom have been with the business for more than 50 years. Over two weeks all staff will be invited to one of the special lunches. Stoves is also working with local museums and historical societies to ensure that the company and its heritage is well represented within the community and staff will be raising money for local charities throughout the year.”

It’s undoubtedly an exciting time for the brand this year, and reaching the centenary milestone is an impressive achievement, but no company can rest on its laurels and trade solely on its past – it must continue to grow to be successful, and have a strong vision in place to succeed, as Mark explains: “We have two clear aims for the business. First, to become the market leader in Range cooking and secondly to expand our international business. We’ve already made significant progress on our ambitions for range, investing in our products, launching the new Stoves Precision collection and focusing on our relationships with the independent channel through our Elite Centres.” Of course, the UK is not the only market for high quality range cookers, as Mark is keen to point out: “Internationally, there’s scope for us to improve. We have a presence across Northern Europe which still has room to mature, as well as Australia and New Zealand. We have recently launched our range cookers into China to meet growing demand for Western appliances from the emerging middle classes, but we are keen to capitalise on the appetite for British made goods abroad and grow our share.” With the challenges for the independent retail

sector well documented, what can Stoves (and GDHA more widely) offer the high street in terms of help to be part of the centenary celebrations? Mark is clear that everyone is feeling the pinch, and stresses that dialogue between brand and retailer is key. “The market is challenging but it is for everyone. As a manufacturer we want – we need - our independent customers to succeed, so we would urge them to engage with us and work closely with us. There are incentives and support packages available to those willing to hold multiple displays and these can include marketing and promotional support, discounts and access to exclusive events and competitions.”

February/March 2020 | 11

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