Premium Brands Expand Big-Box Distribution

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MINNEAPOLIS — Taking a page from the consumer electronics industry, which has blurred if not dismantled barriers between sales channels, two premium major appliance makers — Bosch and Dacor — have broadened their distribution to big-box accounts.

For Bosch, the new retail partner is Best Buy, which will carry its high-end laundry products and dishwashers in stores, and will offer its freestanding ranges, over-the-range microwaves and refrigeration by special order.

Bosch’s other big-box accounts include hhgregg, Lowe’s and Sears.

According to Best Buy’s home life VP Liz Haesler, the decision to bring in Bosch was prompted by customer demand and requests by “Blue Shirt” sales associates. “We see Bosch as a natural addition to our home appliance department,” she noted, “as we share their vision to bring the consumer a high-quality, high-efficiency appliance option.”

Indeed, Bosch, a division of Germany’s BSH Bosch and Siemens Home Appliance Group, has positioned itself as the only U.S.-manufactured brand with entire product lines of Energy Star-qualified dishwashers, washers and refrigeration. Its commitment to the environment, from green manufacturing to efficient appliance performance, has earned it the Department of Energy’s Energy Star Partner of the Year Award for Appliances for two consecutive years, and Bosch recently launched a “Green Technology Inside” icon and designation to make it easier for shoppers to identify its most efficient appliances.

“Consumers are increasingly looking to lead greener lives, and home appliances are a key part of that equation,” said John Iacoviello, sales senior VP for BSH Home Appliances. “We are very excited to continue expanding the availability of our efficient appliance options through this partnership with Best Buy.”

Best Buy will carry Bosch’s Vision washers, which use only 13 gallons of water per load thanks to a network of sensors that monitor and adjust the cycle for optimized operation, and dishwashers with an EcoSense feature that analyzes soil levels in the water and customizes the cycle to save on water and energy.

For Dacor, the big news is the placement of its new “mass premium” Distinctive series of competitively priced cooking appliances at more than 320 Sears stores effective this month. The manufacturer has a history with the No. 1 white-goods retailer via its The Great Indoors, Allied Builder and Commercial Sales divisions, and sees the expansion as an opportunity to increase brand awareness within the growing entry-level luxury market.

The Costa Mesa, Calif.-based company said it will continue to remain committed to its independent dealer network and believes the broadened partnership with Sears “will strengthen Dacor’s business and stimulate sales across regions for all valued partners.”

The expansion is part of a broader corporate strategy to reach a wider range of customers, the 45-year-old, family-owned manufacturer said.

Dacor described the stainless-steel Distinctive platform as a combination of contemporary style with premium performance that was designed to appeal to a broader segment of the appliance market. Suggested retails range from $2,000 for a 30-inch wall oven to $3,800 for a 30-inch dual-fuel range. The line, like all Dacor appliances, is manufactured and assembled by hand in California.

The Sears deal follows last month’s announced expansion into Best Buyowned Pacific Sales Kitchen & Bath (Pac Sales), the premium majap, home-improvement and home-furnishings chain serving the California, Nevada and Arizona markets.

“This expansion in the Southern California region gives Dacor the opportunity to increase our presence in one of the country’s leading markets,” said Dacor chairman/CEO Michael Joseph. “We are excited about the potential for growth and look forward to a long and profitable relationship with Pacific Sales.”

Dacor has installed in-store displays within 37 Pac Sales locations and has made its complete line available to the chain.


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