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Whirlpool Seeks to Gain Retail Space for KitchenAid
May 12, 2005
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Whirlpool Corp. is looking to gain U.S. retail space for its higher-priced KitchenAid brand, according to a top executive with the appliance maker.

"There's still more opportunities to extend our reach with KitchenAid from a distribution point of view, and we're trying to do that to grow that business," said David Swift, Whirlpool's executive vice president for North America.

He said that KitchenAid was gaining listings at mass U.S. retailers such as Best Buy and Sears as well as smaller independent sellers. More home builders were also offering KitchenAid appliances in their new homes, Mr. Swift added.

"Our challenge is how do we make (KitchenAid) more visible, how do we align the channels to the customer segments we're serving and how do we make sure we've got the product merchandised appropriately at retail," said Mr. Swift, who spoke to Reuters during a kitchen and bath trade show.

In addition to KitchenAid, Mr. Swift said other Whirlpool products were gaining display space. For instance, the company is introducing Inglis, a value brand sold in Canada, at Best Buy stores in the United States.

Sweden's Electrolux also said it had picked up more business with U.S. chains, including Best Buy, which this year stopped selling Maytag Corp. and refrigerators to focus on other brands.

Keith McLoughlin, president and chief executive of Electrolux Home Products, said his company was benefiting from new appliances, including the higher-priced Electrolux Icon line.

"We absolutely are getting more floor space," Mr. McLoughlin said. "And we're getting it with a broader mix of products." (Reuters)

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