Who’s cabinets are these anyway…?

Did you know that just like the automobile industry, or the banking sector, kitchen companies (especially in Europe, but also in the US and other parts of the world) may actually be owned  by another company or are a part of a large group that owns several brands?

Why does it matter you ask? Many times it really doesn’t matter – companies buy other companies because it makes a perfect business sense. They can improve profitability through integration and reduce costs at the same time, thus improving their bottom line. But what if you’re comparing two products, that are actually manufactured by the same company, with a few minor details changed and are being asked to pay much more just for a name? Sometimes, it is even made in the same factory… Now you may be asking: “Why would a company do that?” Here are a few possible reasons:

  • Increase distribution – they can add more dealers, selling similar products, many times, in the same areas, with the same reps, without increasing overhead and without their existing dealers complaining about another dealer, selling the same product, too close to them.
  • Be their own competition – they don’t care who you buy from, as long as it is one of their brands…
  • Branching to another price level, that their present product doesn’t reach, without jeopardizing their present product sales and risking an image.
  • Rather than building a distribution for their existing products in a new country, acquiring another brand that is already being distributed and just adding theirs to the existing dealers network, can be an easy solution.

How is that different from a company that has different models? A company that has different models, is usually offering ‘good, better, best’ options, based on materials, finishes and/or options that are available in each model. Here, we are talking about either a) Products that are sometimes so similar, the companies can actually switch the brand plates on the drawers and we wouldn’t know the difference…; or b) investing lots of money in a fancy brand name, that could be nothing more that that – a name…

Here are a few examples:

The Alno Group

Alno Wellmann Pino Impuls Tielsa Star Beka Geba

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Alno Group – a few years ago, it aquired the Wellmann Group, which years prior to that, aquired brands like Geba, Tielsa and StarBeka, to name just a few. There was so much overlapping in their offerings, that they ended up phasing these brands, one after another. A few years later, they were acquired by the Alno group and went through another round of phasing out brands. Still today, the group has some overlapping and in some parts of the world, they are selling a couple of brands, under the Alno label, though it is not an Alno kitchen…

The Combini Group

Colombini Rossana Febal Artec Salvarani

 

 

 

 

 

The Colombini Group, from San Marino – their deep pockets, allowed them in recent years to take-over struggling companies, like Febal and Rossana. They are now made, in the same factory and are pretty much the same product with quite a bit of overlapping in their offerings. Last year, they have purchased the name Salvarani, after the company went out of business. Why buy just a name…? maybe because the brand name is still so strong in some markets (like Spain, for example)…

Scavolini Ernestomeda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scavolini Group – few people know that Ernestomeda, is actually Scavolini’s higher end line. It was launched in 1996, is made very similar to the Scavolini product, with a few minor changes (mainly the doors) and is marketed as another brand all together, attempting to target a higher end clientele.

The above is very important to kitchen dealers but could also be very interesting to a consumer, who may be trying to decide between brand A and brand B…

7 Comments

  1. Competing with their own product. It’s a win-win situation for the company. Thanks for the heads up.

    Cebu Jobs

  2. In America the same stuff goes on. Thanks for letting me know Europe plays the same game…Eventually the consumer gets wise and you cannot really gain too much market share just by creating brands, Gm, Buick, Oldsmobile, Chevvy??? about one good brand..Apple anybody?

  3. I’m really glad I’ve found this information. Today bloggers publish only about gossips and net and this is actually frustrating.

  4. As a provider of Kitchens this article has given us some valuable information, thanks.

  5. Loving your beautiful collection of kitchen materials.Thanks for share a your excellent thoughts.

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