Bigger fish: Fisher and Paykel reveal UK growth plans

MD David Woollcott reveals his growth plans for Fisher & Paykel in the UK

The new retail display concept, with touchscreen to show the range of products, left, and appliances including a ‘city set-up’ combination microwave, combination steam oven and DishDrawer, right

A move of premises in January 2019 meant premium appliance manufacturer Fisher & Paykel UK doubled the size of its office and warehouse space.

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“We needed more space for our team to grow,” explains David Woollcott, MD for the UK, Ireland and Europe. “Our rate of growth was 7% last year and this year it’s been 10% to 15%.”

The new showroom and meeting areas at Fisher & Paykel’s UK HQ in Milton Keynes
The new showroom and meeting areas at Fisher & Paykel’s UK HQ in Milton Keynes

While the growth rate is impressive, the New Zealand-headquartered manufacturer has a small market share in the UK: Woollcott estimates it to be about 2% of the premium appliance sector.

Company profile:

Who are we? David Woollcott, MD, Fisher & Paykel UK, Ireland and Europe

What do we do? Appliance manufacturer

Sales stats “Our growth rate was 7% last year. This year it’s been 10% to 15%,” says Woollcott.

Staffing levels 64 in the UK

MD David Woollcott

Known here primarily for its unique DishDrawer dishwasher and large-scale French door fridge freezers, Woollcott explains that the brand is now pushing into cooking appliances and offering more built-in designs as part of its plans to take market share from the well-established brands, particularly Miele and BSH group.

French door fridge freezer in new black brushed stainless steel finish, left, with stainless steel version, right. Also shown, new black built-in oven flanked by Double DishDrawer dishwasher in black and, right, stainless steel
French door fridge freezer in new black brushed stainless steel finish, left, with stainless steel version, right. Also shown, new black built-in oven flanked by Double DishDrawer dishwasher in black and, right, stainless steel
We are one of the only businesses in the UK with its own employed team to deliver, install and service the product
David Woollcott, MD, Fisher & Paykel UK, Ireland and Europe

“In the last 12 months, we have had seven major cooking launches,” he says, rattling off a list that includes a combination microwave, combination steam oven, range cookers, built-in ovens, a new black stainless steel oven, fridge and DishDrawer, column freezers and a coffee machine.

Part of the new retail display concept, showing the CoolDrawer, left, with built-in cooker hood, hobs and oven
Part of the new retail display concept, showing the CoolDrawer, left, with built-in cooker hood, hobs and oven

This autumn see a new quad door fridge with variable temperature zones, an integrated wine column and more black stainless steel companion products. To encourage kitchen studios to sell its products, the firm has designed a retail display concept, complete with interactive touchscreen, to show off its products in an integrated setting. It has been created, says Woollcott, to showcase its “full suite” offer and what makes Fisher & Paykel stand out.

Business history

1934 Founded by Woolf Fisher and Maurice Paykel in New Zealand as an importer of Crosley refrigerators and Maytag washing machines

1938 company begins manufacturing under licence

2012 Haier Group buys Fisher & Paykel. “We run our UK strategy entirely independently of Haier Europe, although, as you’d expect, we have strong working relationships with each other,” says David Woollcott.

Today Company is still headquartered in New Zealand, where all the products are designed

The CoolDrawer has five temperature settings so can be switched between freezer, chill, fridge, pantry and wine modes

“We bring absolutely differentiated design – you can spot our oven from 100 paces, and I’m not sure you can do that with our competitors,” he says. He also emphasises unique technologies developed by a 400-strong team in Auckland, and quality, with 90% of products covered on a five-year warranty, and the strength of customer support.

The social kitchen, with working built-in appliances for staff to use
The social kitchen, with working built-in appliances for staff to use

“We are one of the only [major domestic appliance] businesses in the UK with its own employed team to deliver, install and service the product,” he says. “We also have a 24-hour, seven day a week global phone support centre. “We need to work really hard at partnering with the right premium kitchen furniture manufacturers and retailers,” continues Woollcott on his strategy for growth.

The brand currently sells through about 30 kitchen and electrical retailers, some with multiple outlets such as John Lewis. He also says it will be targeting the A+D community: Sam Rogers joined from Miele at the beginning of 2019 as head of contracts in a newly created position.

New built-in wine cabinet, new freestanding 900mm dual fuel range cookers, freestanding washer dryer
New built-in wine cabinet, new freestanding 900mm dual fuel range cookers, freestanding washer dryer
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Since Woollcott’s arrival in 2018, the number of area managers has increased from five to nine, and technicians from seven to 12, plus an HR manager has joined “to maintain strong connectivity to [the HQ in] New Zealand”. And his goal? “We think we have a good chance of attracting about 20% of the premium market by 2025,” he says.

Q&A

Your greatest challenge? “Growing sales revenue while meeting the expectations of our customers and our end consumers – that means as sales grow we need to grow support services simultaneously” 

Your greatest opportunity? “To disrupt a cooking market where the customer is just not aware of one of the great brands out there”

Strange but true “We built a great display for a retailer and it wouldn’t fit through the door”

Fisher and Paykel MD Davit Woollcott