KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
15th October 2010
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Welcome to the
Shortly after this Government came to power, it was revealed that one of the measures it might take to avert the possible bankruptcy that faced us, would be to increase VAT from 17.5% to 20%.
Those who didn't want the Government to be a success seized upon this as being a sure fire way to bring the country well and truly to its knees by causing a double dip recession because consumers would cease to spend. Many of those in this industry expected a real run on appliances and queues of householders wanting their kitchens and bathrooms refurbished before the rise in VAT would make their project "unaffordable".
Tradespeople were expected to stockpile parts while VAT was at the lower rate, causing problems for their suppliers because they would hardly be spending once it had gone up.
Those of us who've had problems with tradespeople in the past expected that our purchases would be charged out at the higher rate, regardless of the tax that had been paid on them initially.
The Government went ahead anyway and the 2.5% VAT rise is under three months away.
So what has really happened?
The fixings and tools supplier says that its latest quarterly Trade Pulse report has revealed that most tradesmen will only buy required quantities ahead of the deadline and will raise prices in the New Year in line with VAT increase.
The report, which examines its customers' confidence levels nationally, finds evidence that tradespeople are relaxed about the impact on business prospects of the forthcoming VAT rise.
Asked whether they intended to stock up prior to the VAT rise, 23% of tradesmen said that they would but 60% said that there was no urgency and that they would only purchase what they needed.
As might have been expected though, 82% said that they would pass on any price increases in materials to customers after January 1st, with only 15% saying that they would absorb the impact of the increases.
I have to agree with John Mewett, marketing director at Screwfix, who feels that with four out of five tradespeople saying they feel confident that they will be able to pass on post-January 1st increases to customers, the VAT rise is seen as broadly neutral for business prospects amongst the trade.
In a buoyant market tradespeople would have taken advantage of lower raw material costs ahead of the January deadline. The fact that most aren't is a signal that whilst trading is much better than it has been, tradespeople aren't prepared to go out on a limb and stockpile materials.
I'd love to hear what the manufacturers and suppliers of white goods and kitchen, bathroom and bedroom furniture feel about these results and whether you have a different story to tell...
This Week's News
Blending form with function, this latest modular furniture range will be the centrepiece of any bathroom, while offering a truly flexible storage option, with homeowners able to mix and match pieces from the range to best suit the space available.
Serving as a perfect solution within today's modern contemporary bathrooms, shower areas and wet and steam rooms, this latest product offering takes in two standard size inline shower trays (900mm x 900mm x 30mm and 1200mm x 900mm x 30mm) and one universal aqua panel (1000mm x 450mm), in thicknesses of 20mm and 30mm.
In response to outstanding customer feedback, leading British manufacturer of quality bathroom brassware, Waterfront Bathrooms, is launching an updated version of its Classic range of stylish taps, showers and bathroom accessories for the Period and Period-style bathroom.
The timeless Classic range, part of the company's exclusive Designer Collection, offers no less than four elegant head options for its basin, bath and shower mixers ¬- a classic cross-head design and three different lever styles, including a ceramic-finish option, giving customers ultimate flexibility to create the period look they require. Available in refined Antique Gold and sophisticated Chrome finishes, the new range has been created to blend seamlessly with the existing collection.
The company looks at each project in isolation and with an open mind, taking each client's ideas and the property as a whole into consideration. It does not provide preconceived ranges of furniture.
Classic in-frame kitchens are more expensive because of their high-tech construction, involving butt hinges, special drawer runners and the expense of making and attaching the frame itself. With Harvard and Maine however, retailers can offer the in-frame look without any of the associated costs or installation issues. The outer frame is connected to the door via a special 'French-cut' construction, resulting in the door and frame opening in tandem. This also means the internal cabinets are much easier for customers to keep clean.
Earlier this week the house-building industry welcomed the Housing Minister, Grant Shapps' commitment to cutting red tape, simplifying the planning system and increasing housing supply, but demanded more detail on the policies behind the promises.
The national housing crisis has seen fewer homes built in the last year than at any peacetime since 1923 while first-time buyers are at record lows. While the Government is insisting that it wants to encourage and meet aspiration, home-builders fear that the current hiatus in the planning system will continue without concrete details of the new Government's proposals.
The award, chosen by KBSA retailers and presented by Martin Thomas, came from the results of a survey sent out to all members earlier this year asking them to vote on a variety of topics covering products and service.
The 6th Sense combi steam and grill microwave oven achieved one of the highest overall ratings of the 126 microwaves reviewed by the Which? panel of judges.
The insurance companies that provide the ConsumerCare and ConsumerCare plus insurance products to the Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedroom Specialists Association has reviewed its offer in light of market conditions and a new policy has been issued to all members effective from 19th October.
"The insurance market is a very different place from when we first improved our insurance cover from deposit protection only to CCP in 2006," reports KBSA CEO Graham Ball.
The US National Kitchen & Bath Association membership will feel the impact of recent industry legislation. As of October 1st, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency's Renovation, Repair & Painting Rule addressing the presence and removal of lead-based paint in target housing and child-occupied facilities reached its date of enforcement.
The EPA regulation requires the use of a Certified Renovator and the incorporation of lead safe work practices in most pre-1978 residences and child-occupied properties.
A Staffordshire ceramics company plans to explore new business opportunities in South Korea, thanks to UK Trade & Investment.
Johnson Tiles, of Stoke-on-Trent, has won an Overseas Market Introduction Service from UKTI after taking part in research to find out companies' future export plans and potential.
The KBzine Archive Search
We keep an extensive archive of news stories and product information that have featured in past issues of The KBzine. If you would like to run a search of the The KBzine web site using the search tool below please just go ahead by entering in the name of the person, product or company or any other key words that you are looking for.
News in Brief
Renowned fashion designer Jeff Banks says he took inspiration for his latest collection for UK-based window blinds manufacturer Sunway Blinds, from his latest ladies fashion line. T: 0161 442 9500.
Renowned for its French inspired bedroom furniture, family-run UK manufacturer, Newtons, has given its gorgeous Louis Rattan and Louis Padded collections a makeover. T: 01494 793501
Aspace has launched its Autumn/Winter collection of children’s beds and accessories. T: 0845 872 2400
Congratulations to Whirlpool whose Glamour range of appliances won a gold award for Kitchen Innovation of the Year at the Design Awards (T: 0208 649 5000).
Congratulations too, to Karim Rashid who also received the gold award for his Touch of Light design for Gorenje. T: 0208 247 3980
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