ITV News has reported on the dangers of faulty white goods still in homes despite recalls. Today, a faulty Bosch dishwasher caused a fire.
Here are three recommended websites to check if you are worried about the safety of your everyday household products.
A staggering 80 per cent of electricals that have been recalled are still in UK homes. That is a million products that present a danger.
Pret A Manger is creating 1,000 new jobs, 500 of them in Britain, after a jump in profits.
Sales at the sandwich chain last year rose 17% from £377 million to £443 million.
The biggest growth abroad has been in the USA, two in Hong Kong and France.
– Which? spokeswoman
Own-brand products can provide good value and several have topped our tests to become best buys.
But retailers should make sure that people are under no illusions about what they are buying and not leave so many consumers feeling that they have been misled.
Own-label products, which tend to be cheaper than brands, are becoming more popular among consumers struggling with tightened finances and rising food prices, according to Which.
Its survey on own-brand packaging found
- 18% of members had deliberately bought an own-label product because it resembled the branded equivalent.
- 60% of these shoppers doing so because it was cheaper and 59% wanting to see if it was as good.
- But consumers looked upon own-brand products less favourably when they were confused by the packaging, with 38% of those who bought such a product by mistake saying it annoyed them and 30% reporting that they felt misled.
– British Brands Group director John Noble
Our research shows that consumers are more likely to buy own-label products if they look like brands.
Brands survive by being distinctive and standing out, and retailers are free-riding on brands' reputations.
Currently in the UK there is little to stop a competitor packaging its product to look like a familiar brand, whether or not the product's performance is in any way similar.
That can't be good if we want a market in which shoppers can make informed decisions at speed.
Too many consumers are being misled by retailers into buying own-brand products because the packaging mimics well-known equivalents, consumer campaigners have said.
A fifth of Which? members said they had accidentally bought a supermarket version of a favourite brand at least once.
The consumer group found that more than 150 own-label products that it considered to have "borrowed" elements from the packaging of branded competitors.
These included Kellogg's Coco Pops, McVitie's Digestives, Simple cleanser and wipes, Jacob's Cream Crackers and Radox bath gel.
Marks and Spencer Group's quarterly trading statement showed that while its like-for-like UK food sales had risen by 4%, its general merchandise trading fell by almost as much:
- Group sales: +3.1%
- Total UK sales: +2.6%; Food: +6.3%; General merchandise: -2.2%
- Like for like UK sales: +0.6%; Food: +4.0%; General merchandise: -3.8%
- Multi-channel sales: +22.9%
- International sales: +7.0%
Marks and Spencer group reported a quarterly group sales rise of 3.1% today, which it said was its strongest sales growth in the last two years.
“We delivered an excellent result in Food, with performance well ahead of the market, as customers continued to trust us for provenance and quality. We are increasingly seen as the destination shop for special occasions," said Marc Bolland, chief executive.
The UK's hopes of avoiding a return to recession remain in the balance after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released mixed figures on manufacturing and exports.
Economists were cheered by a month-on-month improvement of 0.8% in factory output for February, reversing some of the 1.9% slide in January.
But separate figures from the ONS also showed a widening in the UK's trade deficit, largely due to a 1.1% fall in exports amid weaker demand from the beleaguered eurozone.
The UK will duck its third recession since the start of the financial crisis if GDP figures on 25th April avoid a second quarter in a row of contraction.
Easter distortions aside, the three-month average figures paint a positive picture and show the highest like-for-like sales increases since December 2009.
On the back of strong January and February results, this may be the beginning of a positive trend and will be welcomed by many retailers.
– David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG
With Easter falling early this year, the April sales comparatives will be negatively affected but it is hoped that the positive bounce of the first quarter of 2013 can continue to be felt across the country, buoyed by the opening of new shopping centres in cities such as Leeds.
This is a positive result, which rounds off a first quarter of cautious optimism for many retailers.
Easter fell in March this year but April in 2012, which helps this year's figures, especially for items which tend to sell well over the long weekend like food and homewares.
But even if we strip out the data for the last week of March, performances are encouraging, considering the weather impact.
Snow and the prolonged cold were not ideal but not a disaster.
They brought mixed fortunes for different categories.
Food was boosted by a continued appetite for hearty meals and ‘wintry' fare such as roasts and chocolate.
But demand was cool for new season clothing and footwear lines, resulting in a decline for both categories.
– Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium
2013 has got off to an encouraging start for the market as a whole. Retailers are now hoping for a boost in consumer confidence and the general mood to lift performance across all, not just some sectors, as we head into the second quarter. Getting a bit of sunshine, at long last, might help that along!"