APPLIANCE BRIEFS

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Whirlpool Weighing Options For Secure Home Delivery

BENTON HARBOR, MICH. -- Whirlpool will explore new solutions for unattended deliveries and returns through a just-announced alliance with zBox Company, a specialist in the emerging market for "smart" secure home delivery systems. With the advent of e-commerce and direct shipping, providing consumers with a secure and convenient way to receive deliveries and leave return packages for pickup without tampering, theft or weather damage has become imperative, the companies said. One such zBox solution is a "smart" home delivery box equipped with a 24-hour touch keypad and a proprietary access system that provides a changing access code for each delivery. Noted Robert Cunningham, Whirl-pool's VP/product development and delivery, "Our market research shows that consumers are increasingly interested in finding solutions that can help them manage their homes and busy lives more effectively."

Boston Site Of Washer Study

READING, MASS. -- Residents of the Summit Terrace apartment complex here are replacing their conventional top-loading washers and dryers with new high-efficiency Maytag Neptune majaps as part of a nationwide conservation program called The Boston Washer Study. Jointly sponsored by Maytag and the Department of Energy (DOE), the project is researching the energy and water savings realized by using high-efficiency washers and dryers, and hopes to draw nationwide attention to the results. Resident participants had been monitoring the water and energy usage of their conventional units since June and will repeat the two-month process with their recently delivered Neptunes, which conserve up to 65 percent of the energy and nearly 40 percent of the water used by traditional top-loaders. The data will be crunched by DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which will announce its findings next month. Participants get to keep their new appliances and will donate their old units to a local charity.

Lowe's Names Frigidaire 1999 Supplier Of The Year

WILKESBORO, N.C. -- For the second consecutive year, Lowe's has named Frigidaire its Supplier Of The Year within the appliance, kitchen and furniture division. The award is based on superior sales and margin increases, the ability to keep an adequate supply of products in stock, and forward-thinking new product development. "Frigidaire is among the best suppliers in consistently delivering innovative, quality products at an outstanding value," said Dale Pond, the home improvement chain's executive VP of merchandising and marketing. Lowe's, which claims to have unseated Circuit City as the nation's No. 2 majap merchant, has been a Frigidaire customer since 1995 and currently carries 80 SKUs of its refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, dishwashers and ranges. The award marks the first time a supplier had earned the recognition in two consecutive years.

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