“We work with a huge variety of different retailers and our teams work very

closely with those who are upgrading or


expanding their showrooms. We have a design

service and we can offer that to any retailer that requires it”

line, but doing so to make connectivity even more useful. We’re not just showcasing technology for technology’s sake; we’ve been working on aspects which really aid the cooking process. Our technology needs to be helpful, so we’ve left development a little longer than others. Connectivity is a key trend at the moment, however we feel our appliances need to have features that are truly useful. We’re getting to the stage now where the people who have grown up with this type of technology are now showing an interest in the areas of the market that we work in. Those aged mid- to late- twenties now own homes, so they are not only buying kitchens and appliances but are getting used to controlling most things remotely. The next step will be other appliance categories, but, again, it has to be useful for the consumer.

Q: Some electrical retailers are now moving into selling more complete kitchens. Why do you think this shift is happening? DL: I think it’s a natural progression, and we’re doing good business with some of those retailers. It requires another skill-set; it’s a very different sell for electrical retailers, because you have to install several displays but also invest in the right people in store to sell the kitchen furniture and appliances, then follow it through to supply and installation. The ones that have committed to this are doing pretty well – the margins are good, better than selling

brown boxes, basically. And you’re not just selling a washing machine or an oven, you’re actually selling a complete package. So, if you extend your offering to worktops and tiling, it can be very lucrative. It’s much easier for the consumer, too; they can simply buy their kitchen furniture, appliances, worktop, sink and taps all from one place.

Q: And this is how Caple started out in the early days, is that right? DL: Absolutely, we started as a distributor of freestanding appliances but we saw the demand and the progression into built-in products fairly early on. And that’s the way the market continued and will continue to go. For example, we don’t sell any freestanding laundry products, we only sell integrated. So, this year, we’re launching a fully-integrated condenser drier, which we’ve never had on the market, but there is demand for that type of product. And if you look at kitchen design now, it’s very minimalistic. You’ll see the oven, hob and possibly the hood, sink and tap but everything else tends to be hidden away. Although, some homes even have folding doors that cover all of this when not in use. So, built-in appliances and kitchens go hand-in-hand nowadays.

Q: How has your business developed with these changes over the years? DL: We work with a huge variety of different retailers

and our teams work very closely with those who are upgrading or expanding their showrooms – we have a design service and we can offer that to any retailer that requires it as long as we see commitment from them. There isn’t any point in installing kitchens in a showroom without the addition of the right sales team and services that surround this. It

is daunting – so many retailers will have to completely change their business in the way it looks and operates, including store layout, staff training and design ability. In fact, this is all absolutely crucial. You’re actually going into the customer’s home and changing its appearance, so they’ve got to be confident in your services and, likewise, you’ve got to be confident in your ability to offer them. But, if you embrace this fully, I think it’s definitely a way forward for proactive retailers today.

Q: Looking ahead, what does this year have in store for Caple? DL: Well KBB is a big and important time for us, it always is. It’s a platform we move forward from. So, every two years, we tend to focus on core products that we launch at the show, including new cooking ranges, wine cabinets, hobs and hoods. These are added to the whole Caple product portfolio really! Following the show, our sales team go out on the

road introducing these new products to customers with the offer of a display base for them throughout this year.

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