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Day 4 - IFA International

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Trade News Redesign Will Drive Retail Sales New store concept for independent homeappliance retailers at IFA 2011 THE DEAL MAKERS Keeping ahead of market trends is why IFA is valuable to this Danish sales director FONA Kim Lauritsen, Sales Director, Denmark Bernd Horenkamp (left), presents the new concept with Lutz Burneleit, EK/Servicegroup's divisional manager, household appliance, kitchen, electric installation, lamps Interview by Max Leonard EK/Servicegroup has presented its new Electroplus store design at IFA. The Electroplus brand is designed as a sympathetic modern concept for what it calls the Comfort Sector, offering small and large household appliances. Many of the stores, branded Kitchenplus, will sell kitchens. The Bielefeld, Germanybased company is Europe’s largest multi-industry retail co-operative and groups together more than 2,200 retailers, giving retail support to independent shops across the household goods, appliances, electrical devices, kitchen and other sectors. “Some of our retailers are quite small, and they can’t buy direct: they need help with buying. The next step for us is to give them a sales concept to give them an advantage. We’re starting to renovate retailers and bring them into this look. It’s a partnership concept,” Bernd Horenkamp, EK/ Servicegroup’s CEO, said. In the first 18 months the company has opened nine such stores in Germany, and now the concept has been fine-tuned, it expects the growth rate to increase. Last year, EK/Servicegroup increased its turnover by 7.1%. At IFA the company is also scouting for its partners, looking at new, innovative products hitting the market from the manufacturers it stocks – which include Siemens, Miele and Bosch – and others. “We’re also performing a service. Our buying scouts are going around the show and looking for the most interesting themes. We make a list and then tell our retailers: ‘Here, this is what you should see as a minimum.’” Horenkamp said. “The retailers meet every evening at the booth and talk about what they’ve seen that’s important. Then we decide what to bundlebuy together. It’s continuous work.” Recently, EK/Servicegroup led a group of 30 members on a trip to Hong Kong. “The Hong Kong factfinding mission was largely influenced by the import business, because imported goods are indispensable to our brand names, the mix of product lines and retail productivity,” Horenkamp said. “It is our aim, together with our members, to develop profitable and sustainable import strategies and to translate them into reality. This is where we will create the conditions for even more efficient import activities within the framework of our distributors and end-users.” IFA is also an opportunity to present EK’s own-brand household and electrical devices. “In the course of focusing on our sector policies and the increasingly international nature of trade, IFA has become much more significant to us since the integration of the household sector in 2008. Our presence at this specialist trade fair has since become a permanent feature of the EK trade fair programme,” Horenkamp said. Hall 3.1 Stand 106 What are your reasons for coming to IFA? Our reasons for being here are first and foremost to be 100% up to date with the latest products and the latest developments, and also to visit our suppliers. How long do you stay and how many appointments do you have? Our diary is full from Friday and all through the weekend until Monday, when we leave late afternoon. How has sustainable development been affecting your buying decision? It is very important for us that the development of new products, or upgrades of existing products, is about useful functions for the end-user, as much as it is about energy-efficiency or the fact that a product is built out of recycled materials. The most important thing, still, for the customer is the product and its functionality. What new innovations are you purchasing at the moment? Tablets are totally dominating the home office products segment. In audio, digital distribution of music in the home is a very strong and growing area. If a colleague asked you describe IFA, what would you say? It is innovative, and offers a complete overview of products for people like me who love — and are excited by — the world of electronics. IFA International • Monday 5 th September 2011 43

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