The latest issue of ERT is out now!

You can view the March 2021 digital issue of ERT here.

Editor’s comment: It’s the final countdown!

Welcome to the March issue of ERT!

There’s not much longer left to go! That 12 April deadline is just around the corner! We are all just keeping our fingers – and toes! – crossed that the plan stays as it is and retail stores can safely reopen to the public.

The news has been largely positive lately regarding the vaccine roll-out and COVID-19 infection figures so let’s hope this continues and very soon the UK’s high streets will once again be buzzing with activity.

Another positive sign when it comes to Boris’s roadmap is moving to the next stage of lifting lockdown. At the time of writing this, we are only days away from the rule of up to six people or two households being allowed to gather outside or in private gardens. The mandate to stay at home should come to an end (though the Government will encourage people to stay local where possible).

It’s only a small step, but for most of us after this tough third lockdown it’s a giant leap for humanity… and sanity! I spoke in last month’s issue about how the public’s sense of freedom could see spending soar; I believe this ‘gathering outdoors’ rule will give a much needed boost for retailers. Consumers will no doubt be looking for the latest gadgets if they are planning to entertain in the coming weeks, whether it’s new speakers for music or kettles and coffee machines to keep guests warm with hot drinks.

And as it happens, we’re looking at both electronics and appliances in this month’s issue of ERT – with a design focus. With people spending much more time at home nowadays, consumers are more conscious of their surroundings and interiors; kitchens, for example, are now multipurpose spaces where we cook, eat, clean and even work.

In the living room, consumers are making bolder statements with their home audio systems and it seems everything that is linked to the golden age of hi-fi is popular nowadays. Retro styles certainly appeal to the consumer’s sense of nostalgia and some products are a clear nod to a bygone era.

In fact, the world’s first vinyl LP was introduced back in 1948 [it was 12-inch and had a capacity of around 21 minutes per side] so by its very nature, vinyl and turntables are undeniably retro. This changed the face of the music industry to the album-centric format we still abide by today, whether that’s physically flicking through a record collection or scrolling through your ‘favourites’ on your phone.

I really enjoyed speaking to the experts for this feature and you can read all about this fascination with retro and classic designs on page 24 of this issue.

Lastly, also in this issue we’ve got coverage of ERT’s virtual Turning Point Live! Conference, which took place last month. You can read our full review of the week’s fascinating webinar sessions from page 13.

Don’t forget, there is still time to share your views on this year’s virtual Conference. Your feedback is very important and will help us plan future events. If you have a spare minute please complete this short survey:

And in other news, the next Turning Point Live! Conference WILL return to its traditional format alongside the fantastic ERT Awards in London in October! Back as a physical event, we’ll be providing a morning of stimulating seminars with some of the electrical retail industry’s leading experts, all before the bubbly starts flowing and the winners are announced during the ERT Awards ceremony in the afternoon.

Personally, I can’t wait until we can gather together again in person to catch up and chew over the events of the past 12 months.

Jack Cheeseman – Editor –

View the March 2021 digital issue of ERT.