IN 2006, Sovereign Appliance Marketing Limited launched its own range of home appliances, initially cooling, cooking and home laundry. Sovereign has been the exclusive distributor in the UK for Haier domestic appliances for eight years. However, Haier’s decision to increase prices and move the brand further up-market was the catalyst for the launch of the Sovereign brand to fill the gap in the market vacated by Haier.
Now, almost a year since launching his company independently, John Graham, Sovereign’s MD and a veteran of the DA industry had a very upbeat story to tell IER: “In the first five months of this year compared with the first five months of 2006, Sovereign’s sales have increased by 55.4%. The margins were a bit squeezed but this is the factor of the overall market. The first half of the year is a good indication of 2007 as a whole. We are expecting this year’s performance to be 50% up on 2006.
“I am also pleased to say that we’ve pulled back all the customers we lost when we split up from Haier. We are also doing more business with the customers who stayed with us.”
In addition to the initial range of freestanding appliances, Sovereign will shortly be launching built-in appliances: ovens and hobs including electric, gas, and ceramic – with knobs and touch controls. The company will also bring out a range of four kitchen hoods – in stainless steel and glass – the 600, 900 and 1000mm models.
“We are in a very interesting situation now. When we worked with Haier, we had to concentrate on what they were doing; now we can do whatever we want – like a free house – and seek new opportunities to develop. We get a lot of interesting offers from all over the world which we carefully consider.”
Sovereign Appliances Marketing is a privatelyowned company and John is convinced that this situation has many business advantages. “I want to and can be as close to my customers as possible. If a customer complains and wants to talk to an MD – the call is put through to me. This doesn’t happen in many companies. But in this way I can learn more about my customers and the way they perceive and interact with Sovereign’s products,” concludes John.