By Patrick Avenell

Outdoor and DIY specialists Bunnings have this week made the move into cooking products, ranging ovens and cooktops from various leading brands. Despite this giant leap into kitchen appliances, the group has no current plans to move into whitegoods, according to general manager, marketing and merchandise, Clive Duncan.

In an interview with today, Duncan said the move into cooking products was predicated on the demand for such products from the retailer’s existing kitchen renovation customers. The feedback from consumers buying new kitchens was that a new oven solution was often part of the process, and that it would be better to offer such products at the same time.

We asked Duncan if this was a tough decision to make.

"It wasn’t a tough decision but it’s one that requires a fair bit of focus, because they are a product that requires a fair bit of good training [for] the team members because customers do want to know a little bit more in-depth information about these products compared to some of the other products that we sell."

Some of the brands Bunnings will stock are Chef, Franke, Westinghouse, Elba and Everdure. Some notable omissions include Emilia Glem, Miele and Omega Smeg.

Duncan described the move from selling kitchens to selling kitchens and cooking appliances as a "natural progression". He didn’t, however, think selling refrigerators or dishwashers was part of that natural progression.

"From our research and feedback from the consumer, when they buy the kitchen and put a new kitchen in, they do actually consider upgrading or putting in stoves and cooktops, but the purchase of whitegoods is a separate process in most cases, so we don’t see it as a natural extension and don’t see as it something that’s on our immediate agenda."

To support the introduction of cooking appliances into Bunnings, Duncan outlined a media launch incorporating TV, magazines, newspapers and catalogue. In particular, lifestyle magazines will be targeted, as they are seen as having strong resonance with the key decision makers in this category.