KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
2nd November 2012
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Meeting the increasing demands to deliver luxurious bathroom solutions, F & P Wholesale has launched the new Fresssh Diamond Collection, which judging by its looks, is set to become one of the most desirable bathroom ranges available in the UK.
An improving housing market and record low interest rates are driving projections of strong gains in home improvement activity through the end of the year and into the first half of 2013, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released yesterday by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.
Hettich has introduced what it believes is the most comprehensive furniture fittings App to be offered in the UK.
Bearing in mind that I can't actually recall ever having bought a kitchen appliance from anywhere other than Comet, it was a bit of a personal shock to learn this week that the company is about to go into administration - despite all the warnings there have been and the closure last year of a number of stores and service centres. Of course I'll be able to source my next appliance from another store but I'm not quite sure where I'll go to see the vast choice of products my nearest Comet superstore currently offers. But at least I'm not looking for a new job...
I gather also that Homebase is planning to close some stores over the coming year - which is where lots of my friends go to look for new kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. I have to admit that I refused to shop in my local out-of-town Homebase superstore for many years after it opened because I felt it was taking away business from the town centre - and of course we all know how much our local High Streets are suffering, don't we? Admittedly the out of town retail parks are only one cause of the problem and I'm glad that the move to revitalise our ailing High Streets is gaining momentum (see more below).
As someone whose first Saturday job was in a hardware store weighing out nails, manually cutting keys and dispensing bottles of paraffin, etc, one of the objections I had to these superstores was that they would eventually cut down our choice. I believe I was right when it comes to the big DIY stores but I'll admit that I was wrong about the large retailers of electrical goods, such as Comet, which gave shoppers a vast choice to examine.
One appliance I've never entertained but which I'm now warming to the idea of, is the tumble dryer. I'm a bit of a fanatic when it comes to looking after the environment so have steered clear of them in favour of the old-fashioned washing line in the back garden when the weather permits. However, the rain we've had for much of the year means that mine has become one of the 87% of households that often dries washing inside, in the living areas and the study by the Mackintosh School of Architecture which hit the news today, has made me think twice!
The researchers found that many homes have health-threatening amounts of moisture and up to a third of this is attributed to drying laundry. The fact that one load of washing can emit two litres of water explains why my house can sometimes feel a little less than comfortable...The researchers have called on architects and housebuilders to design dedicated drying areas with heating and ventilating into new housing, but in the meantime - and for those of use that don't wish to move house, I can see a run on retailers' stocks of tumble dryers!
This Week's News
In figures released recently, October data highlighted another difficult month for the UK construction sector, with the latest Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI survey showing a subdued trend in output levels alongside moderate reductions in new work and employment.
Following its preview to the trade at KBB 2012, Bushboard is launching in mid-November its pioneering new M-Stone quartz worksurfaces which are supplied in blanks for easy installation direct on site.
With market-leading laminate and solid surface brands under its belt, Bushboard is extending its offer with a man-made quartz worksurface brand, titled M-Stone, enabling it compete in the granite sector for the first time.
More than a year after the introduction of the government's ambitious Work Programme, the CIPD warns today that it needs to build on the scheme's early progress by increasing awareness and understanding of the scheme amongst employers.
The Furniture Industry Research Association and UK Trade & Investment UKTI have successfully recently launched the FIRA Furniture Export Hub, an online reference hub for those within the furniture industry looking to export products or expertise to overseas markets.
Shower specialist, Lakes Bathrooms, has reintroduced a range of stone resin trays to add further choice to complement its Classic and Coastline collections of enclosures. Last year the manufacturer changed to contemporary, lightweight, low profile tray ranges in Acrylic Capped Resin and Sheet Moulded Compound, but sustained demand for traditional trays has sparked the launch of a new stone resin range.
One of the longest established high quality British kitchen manufacturers, Mereway, has launched a Premium Partnership programme for dealers that will support and reward those retailers selling the Mereway Kitchens portfolio.
CRL proudly brings to the market a new surface protection system specifically designed to protect both glass and stainless steel. 6K by CRL is a two-step surface protection treatment with a three year protection lifespan.
Whirlpool guarantees minimal resource use in its latest laundry products thanks to its new Eco Monitor feature.
Bedroom manufacturer Hepplewhite has announced a series of retailer days to launch its new brochure and price list. Four events will take place across the UK in December providing an opportunity for retailers to receive details of the latest updates and improvements to the extensive product ranges.
Tim Gent, Hepplewhite national sales manager, says: "We are proud of our reputation of providing unrivalled customer service to our retailers. Bringing retailers together in this fashion gives us a unique opportunity to engage and receive feedback. It also allows them to meet with like-minded retailers and this makes this type of event well attended and enjoyable.
Featuring waterfall-effect flow technology, the contemporary Rio brassware range is sure to make a statement in any bathroom. An ultra slim cube-like handle combined with distinctive regal spout, shouts of cutting-edge design with high consumer appeal.
Jo Rawstron has joined leading kitchen sink producer, Franke, as their Northern Regional Sales manager.
Leading plumbing and heating merchant Plumbase is rebranding its Plumbline stores across Scotland to 'Plumbase' during a national rollout of its new brand identity. A total of 19 Plumbline stores will be rebranded as part of the business initiative.
Andrew Jordan, the professional racing driver sponsored by Gorenje, finished the British Touring Car Championship season on a high after winning both the Independent Drivers' Championship and the Manufacturers'/Constructors' Teams' Trophies.
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Huge improvements in appliance performance now mean that replacing an old fridge freezer can bring the same environmental benefit as installing double-glazing according to AMDEA (The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances). The industry is calling on Government to work with it to encourage consumers to replace their old appliances and use energy saving features - to cut their electricity bills and carbon dioxide emissions.
FIRA has announced the publication of a new industry Standard for glass in furniture: FIRA-FRQG G001 Glass in furniture - requirements. The document has been produced by FIRA in conjunction with the Furniture Retail Quality Group (FRQG), comprising technologists from the major retailers of furniture in the UK. It has been introduced to ensure that basic safety levels relating to glass in furniture and mirrors are maintained.
Construction companies in Dumfries & Galloway are to receive potentially lifesaving advice at a free event aimed at preventing injury and ill health on site.