KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
6th May 2011


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Please note that you are viewing an archived issue of The KBzine.

International News

Irish SFA tells Minister for Jobs how to boost employment

An Irish Small Firms Association delegation met Minister Richard Bruton, TD, yesterday, to discuss its jobs and small business proposals. It was an important meeting as the small business sector currently employs half the private sector workforce, some 700,000 people.

Whirlpool's Max microwaves come in new colours!

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Whirlpool's Max 35 microwave oven is available in a choice of black, white or silver and has now been joined by two new recruits in fashionable red and cream.

AEG's MaxiKlasse free standing cookers offer great flexibility

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AEG has launched the MaxiKlasse 493321-MN with MaxiSense induction hob, which has flexible zones that allow maximum space and choice of position for any size or shape of pans... even a fish kettle can comfortably be placed across two zones for perfect heat distribution.

Inspired by experience, Franke celebrates its centenary in style

Franke, said to be the world's largest manufacturer of kitchen sinks, is 100 years old - and, with a reputation for being at the forefront of research and development in the kitchen industry, the company is celebrating with the new state-of-the art Centinox sink, along with two stunning taps and innovative accessories.

Welcome to the

Clever marketeers will always try and increase their spend in a downturn so it's good to see that the KBB industry knows its stuff.

Results from the Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association 2011 Showroom & Supplier Survey, show that companies in the sector are counteracting the problems caused by the downturn, by diversifying.

Some 61% of them are now selling bathrooms, as well as kitchens, compared to the 43% that did so this time last year. The KBSA tells me that this is an increase of 40% - and as the team's maths is going to be a lot better than mine I'll trust it on that one!

Also up, but not quite as much at 30%, is the number of members selling bedrooms, as well as kitchens. That figure is 65% now, compared to 50% this time last year.

Members selling home offices & kitchens are up by 20%, with the 24% that did so last year, increasing to 35% this year. 

Whether this diversification has improved business or not, I cannot say for sure, although it would appear that it has, with the average number of kitchens sold over the past year increasing slightly from 5.1 to 5.24 per member month, while sales of bathrooms have increased from 4.0 to 4.6 per member month.

The KBSA says it's encouraged by the results and it is happy that its campaign to get members to review their strategy for business beyond this recession has been taken on board.

With the economy starting to grow slightly and interest rates being kept at their present low rate for a further month (and I'm hoping for more of the same!) this has to be encouraging news.

May we all continue to 'hang on in there'!



Jan Hobbs


This Week's News

Focus (DIY) - an update

Although Focus (DIY) entered administration yesterday, it's business virtually as usual, according to the notice placed on the company's website by the administrators, who say they intend to enable the Group to continue to trade whilst seeking a buyer for all or parts of the business. The existing management team will remain responsible for the day-to-day running of the Group.

"Focus has not ceased to trade and customers will be able to continue shopping at Focus stores across the UK," they promise. They also say:
At present no new customer orders can be placed for any goods to be ordered to store or home delivery. At this stage we are unable to release any outstanding customer orders or give a refund.

Wall-hung sanitaryware that's as fresh as mint

* geberit-mint-monolith.jpgGeberit has introduced a new mint finish to its award-winning Monolith sanitary module for wall-hung WCs, taking the colour options for this bathroom innovation to three.

Ideal for converting a floor-standing WC to a wall-hung version, the Geberit Monolith is a slimline sanitary module with integrated cistern that can be connected to existing plumbing work just as easily as a close-coupled toilet, without the need for chiselling or re-tiling. With its slim profile the Geberit Monolith doesn't impinge on space, while its clear, simple lines and high-quality materials make it an attractive alternative to conventional visible cisterns.

Homebase invests in FIRA Gold Certification

Homebase has become the only kitchen retailer to receive the Furniture Industry Research Association Gold certification for both its fitted kitchens and installation services. FIRA Gold certification is a mark of excellence awarded by the furniture industry to show that products and installation processes are of the highest standard and will be continually audited for consistent high quality.

Homebase initially received FIRA Gold accreditation for its kitchen installation service in July 2007, and has now received FIRA Gold accreditation for its kitchen products too. Having seen the benefit of FIRA Gold certification for installation, achieving FIRA Gold certification for products was identified as the next step in Homebase's progression in ensuring customer satisfaction.

Kitchenaid's new chef touch: the Sous Vide cooking system

* KitchenAid-ChefTouch-2011.jpgPremium manufacturer KitchenAid has launched the Chef Touch, a new Sous Vide cooking system that brings the top quality cooking of the world's finest restaurants to the domestic kitchen.

The visually stunning Chef Touch is three first class products finished in KitchenAid's Pro Design aesthetic. The system comprises of the vacuum-sealing system which preserves food by packing the food in an airless environment; the steam-assist oven for gently cooking or perfectly re-heating food and the shock freezer for rapid chilling or long-term deep freezing.

Moores takes its show on the road

* Moores-Sapporo.jpgMoores annual Showcase has become an unmissable event for retailers, architects and developers looking to learn more about the latest products and innovations to grace the kitchen industry and hot off the press are the finalised dates for this year's road trip, which promises to be the best one yet.

Taking to the road throughout the month of May, Moores will travel the length and breadth of the UK to present its very latest products and services to its existing and prospective customers. Clients will have the opportunity to view the Four Seasons range of rigid kitchens which were made available to the contract market for the first time earlier this year. The collection will be displayed in working display sets, enabling customers to get a real flavour of the furniture in situ.

Inspirational Izumi

* Uberfurniture_Izumi_Cameo_Orchid.jpgEver a pioneer in kitchen design and technology, Uber Furniture has launched the stunning Izumi collection of gloss kitchens in three ranges - Nero (black), Orchid (white) and Creme (cream). Designed to be trendsetting, the doors are state-of-the-art in terms of materials and design yet do not hit the budget as hard as some.

The doors comprise an acrylic laminate front and titanium back with twin colour edging; so the doors appear to be made of glass. The acrylic laminate gives an interesting depth of colour and high level of gloss for a truly exceptional design scheme.

Back to black - Carron Phoenix launches chic black ceramic Sapphira sink range

* Carron-Phoenix-Sapphira-150-black-ceramic-sink.jpgThere's nothing quite cuts it for style the way black does and Carron Phoenix is responding to the trend for colour and texture in the kitchen with the brand new Sapphira range of ceramic sinks in a rich and glamorous shade of black. Sapphira will be launched on June 1st along with a host of new sink and tap styles as part of the company's product update programme for 2011.

Two models will be available in black as well as the classic white, manufactured and kilned from premium grade clay ensuring a top quality lustrous finish without any of the tell-tale pin pricks of lesser grade and cheaper alternatives

Whirlpool launches new range of washing machines

* Whirlpool-WWDC8420.jpgWhirlpool's powerful portfolio of home laundry appliances is being further strengthened by the launch of the new range of washing machines. Whilst featuring a similar specification and style characteristics to the company's high end machines, the new range will be positioned mid-range and highly competitive, appealing to a wider audience.

The eight-model line-up richly features 6kg, 7kg and 8kg capacity with up to an A+ energy rating offering strong selling points for retailers. The capacious 8kg drum capacity models include intuitive five-digit LED control panel and the company's patented 6th Sense intelligent technology.
However the star feature is Whirlpool's Detergent Dosing Recommendation System, where the user can access the correct dosage via a series of quick and simple steps. On ave

A charitable affair! Kitchen furniture donated to Oxfam

* Mereway-Oxfam.jpgFrom bric a brac to ladies fashion, jigsaw puzzles to.... yes... now kitchens! Kitchen manufacturer Mereway Kitchens and photographer Cyan Studios have worked together in partnership to donate kitchen furniture to leading worldwide charity Oxfam.

Every year, midlands based Mereway Kitchens transports a range of new kitchen furniture to Cyan Studios in Leeds where inspirational kitchen sets are built, propped and photographed for Mereway's brochures. A Mereway Kitchens team member thought of the innovative idea to donate the kitchen furniture to charity rather than simply disposing of it - and what better way to recycle the units!

US kitchen and bathroom dealers undeterred by marginal declines in Q1 2011

According to the US National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), kitchen and bathroom dealers remain positive despite slight declines in sales volumes, remodelling budgets and revenue during the first quarter of 2011. The NKBA Kitchen & Bath Market Index (KBMI), which forecasts the confidence of kitchen and bathroom dealers on a scale of -60 to +60, is +34 for Q2 2011 or down 3 points from the last quarter. Showroom visits were up 16%, which marked the only market indicator with a quarter-over-quarter increase.

"The first quarter fell a little short of expectations, but the year-over-year gains reported in the NKBA Kitchen & Bath Market Index are a positive sign for the kitchen and bath industry," states Bill Darcy, executive vice president of the NKBA. "In addition, more than ha

Electrolux A rated freezer named Which? Online Best Buy

* electrolux.jpgThe Electrolux EUU11410 under counter A rated freezer has been named a WHICH? online Best Buy.

The appliance tested five stars for 'Reliability' and 'Quietness and Vibration' and achieved an overall score of 83%.

The Which? online report includes the following:

Polypipe heat recovery units help developer reach Code 3

Polypipe Ventilation, provider of energy-saving domestic and light commercial ventilation systems, has had its heat recovery system specified for Larkfleet Homes' extensive new housing development in Bourne, near Peterborough.  The first stage of the development, known as 'The Old Laundry', has now been installed with the HR01 units supplied by Deepings Trading.

Larkfleet Homes prides itself on high quality sustainable developments using innovative technology and construction methods.  The use of heat recovery in this latest housing development fits well with this philosophy and is the first major development for Larkfleet using the HR01 system.  It has provided Larkfleet with a cost effective Code 3 housing solution when used with thermal solar panels.

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News in Brief


Congratulations to Waterfront Bathrooms, whose brassware features throughout British design doyenne Kelly Hoppen's latest interior design book! T: 01527 584244 


Merlyn Showering now has a range of shower enclosures to meet every need of the modern man. Its Series 6 Sliding Door "exudes masculine charm from every angle." www.merlynbathrooms.com


Mereway has appointed Graham Jones, ex-Hammonds Furniture, to the newly created role of Sales & Marketing Director. More next week... T: 0800 028 4466


AKW has launched a stylish mixer shower for use in bathrooms designed for the elderly and disabled. T: 01905 823298


Massive overseas sales success for Glen Dimplex Home Appliances has resulted in a congratulatory visit from local MP Shaun Woodward. www.gdha.com



How to contact us at The KBzine:
Jan Hobbs
Publishing Editor
Tel: +44 (0)1372 811 307 
Mobile: 07980 288 373

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John Austen
Publishing Director
Tel: +44 (0)1580 755 863
Mobile: 07766 707 888
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Recent News

OFT's market study into extended warranties is now underway

The OFT's short market study into extended warranties for domestic electrical goods, which will focus on whether competition for warranties is sufficiently effective to ensure consumers get value for money in a market worth well over £750million, is now underway. The results will be published later this Summer.

UK manufacturer offers outsourced customer care solution

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In what it believes is a first for UK industry, kitchen appliance manufacturer, Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, has launched a new service brand to make the company's UK-based maintenance, repair and customer care operation available to businesses seeking an outsourced service solution for their appliances and heating products.

Bradbury's has immediate success with Stoneham

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HMRC turns up the heat on plumbing industry

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Black Country timber firm wins new business in the Middle East

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Plumber survives fall through roof in second similar accident at site

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KitchenAid appoints sole UK distributor

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KitchenAid, the luxury cooking brand, has appointed a sole national distributor, DR Kitchen Appliances, effective from 1st May 2011.

Small firms' recruitment plans in jeopardy, finds new research

The likelihood of small businesses creating jobs to drive economic growth is in jeopardy because fewer believe they will be able to employ new staff in the year ahead, a new survey suggests.

Retailers should advise browsers it 'mite' be time to change mattress!

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An alarming statistic is that the average bed plays host to around 10,000 dust mites which feed on dead skin... Not a pleasant thought! Research also shows dust mites are often responsible for causing respiratory problems in asthma sufferers. Cleaning bed sheets, duvets and pillows regularly will help but it is advised that you change your mattress every 8 to 10 years.

AKW takes home 'Best in Show' Award at Naidex

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AKW topped off a very successful show at Naidex 2011, the UK's largest disability, rehabilitation and healthcare exhibition, by taking home the Best in Show award with a five star rating by Able Magazine.


Circle Living wins top award

Circle Living, part of Circle, one of the UK's largest providers of affordable housing, has won a First Time Buyer Award


New Cucina Colore brochure has arrived

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Popular UK kitchen furniture manufacturer Mereway Kitchens, has launched new products for its Italian inspired Cucina Colore collection. This Spring brings a brand new brochure hosting a wealth of stunning, inspirational photography that's guaranteed to impress.

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