KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
28th January 2011
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Ray Isted, Head of Training at Whirlpool UK, recently volunteered to build a house in Romania!
The US National Kitchen & Bath Association has announced the 2011 inductee into the Kitchen & Bath Industry Hall of Fame, which honours individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the industry. The inductee, Surjit Kalsi, is Chairman of Capital Cooking Equipment and is considered one of the foremost experts in cooking range design and manufacturing.
A fantastically useful application has been designed specifically for retailers and designers of Uber kitchens.
The US National Kitchen & Bath Association has announced the election results for the 2011 NKBA Executive Committee, which will be led by 2011 President David Alderman, CMKBD of Chesapeake, Virginia. The 2010 Vice President Alan Zielinski, CKD of Niles, Illinois will become President-Elect, while 2010 NKBA Secretary John Morgan of Glyndon, Maryland has been elected Vice President. Mark L. Karas, CMKBD will serve as Immediate Past President.
UK Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox has welcomed new arrangements for filing patents in Europe which will cut costs for businesses.
A new brochure, focusing entirely on Blanco's extensive range of taps, is being launched this month by Blanco UK. As well as the stylish chrome and brushed steel taps for which the company is well known, the brochure also includes the latest selection of the coloured styles which are currently capturing the consumer imagination.
Tile Depot, the independent tile and stone retailer with 15 stores in London and the South East, has held the cost of home improvements with 2011 tiles and tiling products at 2010 pre-VAT hike prices until the end of its Winter sale.
Welcome to the
News that UK consumer confidence has dropped to its lowest level for 22 months does not make for a good end to the week, does it? Particularly when you're involved in an industry such as this where the purchase of a new kitchen, bathroom or bedroom is not generally seen as a necessity and is likely to be delayed until everyone feels a little more optimistic about the future!
In case you're wondering what I'm talking about, the GfK NOP Consumer Confidence Index, released today, has dropped eight points this month to -29, the lowest figure since March 2009, when it was -30. Worryingly, this is 12 points lower than this time last year.
According to the figures, January saw decreases across all five measures; unfortunately for the KBB industry though, the most notable was in the 'major purchase' index, which dropped 22 points to -29. This is 13 points lower than this time last year.
In the 35 years since the Index began, confidence has only slumped this much in a single month on six occasions, the last being November to December 1994.
The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months has decreased two points this month, at -18; this is four points lower than this time last year. It could get worse though: the forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months decreased four points to -12; this is 16 points lower than January 2010.
The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months has decreased by three points to -54; three points higher than this time last year. An expectation for the general economic situation over the next 12 months has decreased by seven points to -30, which is 28 points lower than January 2010.
The 'now is a good time to save' Index, has increased five points to -5, three points lower than January 2010.
Speaking about the results of the research, which was carried out on behalf of the European Commission, Nick Moon, managing director of GfK NOP Social Research, says:
"January's eight point drop represents an astonishing collapse in consumer confidence. The VAT increase is the first of the Government's austerity measures that has had a widespread impact on consumers and it seems to have hit people's economic confidence hard, especially as the biggest drop was in consumers' appetite for major purchases. With inflation on the up and the full force of the cuts yet to hit, these figures could be the beginning of a very painful period."
While it's possible that these figures represent a post-Christmas blip, it's extremely unlikely that - even if there's a rally in February - this massive drop can be reversed.
And sadly, when combined with the bleak economic forecast, this will make talk of a double dip recession unavoidable...
That is the last thing we need as it will only add to the feeling of doom and gloom and persuade consumers that it will be prudent to leave their money in the bank, rather than have a splurge on something fabulous for the home.
This Week's News
Demonstrating its commitment to innovative new product development, Utopia will be extending its popular design-led Quantum Square and Quantum Round sanitaryware ranges. New additions to Quantum Round include short projection and cloakroom semi-recessed basins and a wall hung pan while the Quantum Square range is joined by the Elegant deck mounted basin, a new 50cm style with tapered sides.
In the first nine months of 2010, Grohe has posted further strong growth in terms of both sales and earnings.
At the end of Q3, consolidated sales were up 20% on the prior-year figure at EUR 726 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increased 37% to EUR 144 million and this margin remained unchanged against the first-half figure at 20%.
Mainly concerned with the performance and motion of the internal workings of a kitchen, Blum designers have taken kitchen interiors to a new level with the highly popular introduction of Intivo - a concept that individualises and personalises the drawer and pull-out interior when exposed.
Using the established Blum Tandembox as the basis, the drawer sides (and front in the case of hidden pull-outs) will accept insert panels to which there is almost no limitation in terms of design.
German kitchen and bathroom manufacturer Bauformat, hit the Top 10 on several counts in Markt Intern 2010/2011 - the independent survey of German kitchen manufacturers, which is carried out every two years. Even better, it won in the 'Best Representation' category.
Its results were:
No.1 - Representation
Managing workplace grievances takes on average 14 days per case in management time, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's (CIPD) research, Managing Conflict at Work (2011). This cost, combined with the new Government's proposals to implement employment tribunal charges and extend the time period in which employee's are protected from unfair dismissal from one to two years, means the issue of managing workplace conflict is now top of the agenda.
The CIPD Conflict Management Conference is taking place on 9th March 2011, at the Hallam Conference Centre, London. It has been developed to prepare HR professionals, line managers and those dealing with disputes and tensions in the workplace, to manage conflict and tackle difficult situations with confidence. The recen
Complementing the trend for black contemporary appliances, Fagor has introduced this 60cm four burner gas on glass hob, which has a stunning bevelled edge and is designed to fit with fashionable black stone or granite work surfaces. The hob features one simmer, one rapid and two semi rapid burners. The black rotary controls, with automatic integrated ignition, are positioned at the front of the hob for ease of use and the heavyweight cast iron pan supports add to the stylish and up-to-the-minute aesthetic.
T: 01256 308 067
For customers who want an electric shower that will make a statement at the heart of the bathroom but without a large price tag, Triton's six new Aspirante models open up the electric sector to give retailers six cleverly designed, affordable options, which Triton believes is unlike anything else on the market.
Giving a very different finish, the clean lines and unusual curved front of the Aspirante range give a sophisticated edge which, when combined with the compact size and slim line depth, gives the impression the shower is actually 'floating' on the tiles.
Whether you are an experienced exporter or considering trading overseas for the first time, research the world in a day by attending this valuable seminar, being held on Thursday 17th February, from 09:30 - 17:00, at the Copthorne Hotel, Slough-Windsor.
Going Global in a Day will bring together Heads of UK Trade & Investment's trade teams in Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions from around the world for the sole purpose of helping companies like yours succeed overseas.
For a contemporary take on the classic Shaker style, look no further than the new Bloomsbury kitchen just launched by Four Seasons, which offers three striking on trend colour options to give a modern twist to the traditional solid timber kitchen.
Effortlessly bridging the gap between modern and traditional styling, Bloomsbury is available in Mussel, Olive or Ivory, while the door can mixed and matched with Four Seasons popular Cheswick range in solid natural oak to create a stunning contrast.
The activities included a bake sale where a group of keen bakers sold various sweet and savoury delights including the best seller - mint choc chip cupcakes.
Following the success of its 'Iron In Style' competition two years ago, Brabantia is to run the event again in the UK, Belgium, The Netherlands and France. The previous competition was a huge hit, attracting some 1,100 entries, and the company is keen to repeat that success.
The competition is running for three months until 10th April and Brabantia is calling on everyone with a creative flair - whether amateur or professional - to come up with an original and individual design for an ironing table cover. There are great prizes to be won for the best entries from each country, plus a top international prize for the best design overall - to see his or her design go into production and on sale across Europe.
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News in Brief
Congratulations to Gorenje for its WA60125, which beat 12 competitors to win the accolade 'Best Eco Washing Machine' from Good Housekeeping magazine. T: 0208 247 3980.
Congratulations too, to Glass Idromassaggio, on winning the 2011 Wallpaper Design Award in the 'Best Steam Team' category, for its hammam space, Ananda, a 'bespoke modular wellness project' (similar to a posh Turkish bath, for those unfamiliar with the concept!). E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Premium appliance brand importer Euroline has appointed Alice Canale (pronounced Ali-che) as its new Customer Service Administrator. T: 01787 224921
Research suggests we are willing to pay more for our wine so it's important that we also keep it properly, which KitchenAid's new KRVX 6010 46 bottle kitchen wine cellar does beautifully. T: 0800 988 1266
Geberit brings the number of retail sales representatives throughout the UK to 13 with three new people who have worked in the bathroom industry for several years. Adam Ester joins from Porcelanosa, Nick Hilbert joins from Farmiloe's and Leekes and David Boyd joins from Cosmo Ceramics. T: 0800 077 8365.
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Site insurance provider Self-Build Zone has today welcomed the Government's recent policy announcement that it is to cut red tape and boost demand in the UK self-build sector.
Following a call last week by UCATT - the Union of Construction, Allied Trades & Technicians - for a government review of payroll companies in the construction sector, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation has emphasised the need to strike a balance between stopping false self-employment and ensuring that the UK construction industry retains its flexible workforce.
Small businesses say Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs should get its own house in order following reports of poor service !
Yesterday the Government invited organisations to register their interest in forming a technology and innovation centre focused on the area of high value manufacturing.
Electrolux Design Lab 2011 invites industrial design students and recent graduates of industrial design to compete for a six-month paid internship and prize money by submitting ideas that consider intelligent mobility within home appliances. The brief specifically seeks solutions that address how people prepare food, clean and do dishes both within and beyond the home.
Bringing a huge amount of relevant experience and knowledge from a background in sales, Tracey will be responsible for retailers in the area, looking after the main distribution partners and building strategic relationships with key kitchen furniture retailers, in order to enhance Liebherr's reputation in this channel.
"I am really pleased to be joining such a well respected brand and I am looking forward to developing the area and increasing business," promises Tracey. "It's an exciting time for the Liebherr brand, with lots of technological innovations in the pipeline."
T: 08444 122 655