KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
5th August 2011
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Welcome to the
I may have mentioned previously that John Austen and I have been producing another weekly e-zine, which we set up in 2002 as part of a 'stable' of e-zines with KBZine's original owners Richard and Debbie Schwarz.
Cleanzine (www.thecleanzine.com) covers the global cleaning & hygiene industry and like the KBB industry, that industry has a myriad of associations, a Federation, a Training Body and an Institute, each of them covering a different aspect of the industry and its players. Often there is a crossover, where for example, a manufacturer may be a member of the Institute as well as the suppliers' association and that for manufacturers, while a fellow Institute member such as a cleaning company might be a member of a more specialist association such as that for carpet & upholstery cleaners whilst also being a member of the wider contract cleaning association. Sometimes they will be in direct competition, such as the body that looks after in-house hospital cleaners and that which is responsible for local councils, where much of these two associations' work has been outsourced to contractors - who also have their own association.
Why am I telling you all this?
Well any large, £multi-million, multi-faceted industry that has dealings with customers is like a ship sailing on stormy waters. There will be challenges to face from all directions and these are better met if everyone is working together for the common good.
The cleaning industry associations have for some years now been part of a growing umbrella organisation called the British Cleaning Council, which is now recognised as the industry 'voice', promoting its 19 members' activities and acting as a buffer in times of trouble (i.e. when the high incidences of hospital acquired infections were blamed on poor cleaning... The BCC - 30 years old next year - was big enough and representative enough of the industry, to let the UK know that it was struggling with hugely reduced budgets that would not allow it to clean in the way it needed to. It had enough clout to be able to pull in more funding to cover some of the deficit, which in turn improved the cleaning operation that has drastically reduced the incidences of healthcare acquired infections in our hospitals).
Now some parts of the KBB industry have come together to set up a forum (see this week's news, below) which, although in its fledgling stages, might just one day grow into a mighty umbrella organisation that will steady this KBB ship, guide it through stormy waters and flag up everything that's good about this industry.
Will everyone be on board?
We'd be crazy not to be!
This Week's News
A story in the latest edition of kbbreview reports on the formation of a new think tank that brings together kitchen and bathroom related associations and organisations, with the aim of combining expertise and improving the sector as a whole.
In the age of the fashion statement, consumers demand that their kitchen appliances have sensational visual appeal and a 'must have' quality. Equally important is that they must perform superbly and pass the test of time.
KitchenAid specialises in combining visually striking products with quality construction and leading technology, which is why the introduction of its iXelium hobs is so special.
Increasing proportions of United States home appliance owners say they choose which appliance brand to purchase first, then visit a retailer carrying that brand, rather than selecting the retailer first, according to the JD Power and Associates' 2011 Laundry and Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Studies, both released this week.
The extent of this shift in shopping behaviour varies slightly by appliance type. For example, the largest increase is observed amongst owners of ranges, hobs and ovens. Approximately 44% of these owners in 2011 say they selected their appliance brand first, up six percentage points from 2010. The smallest increases occur in the clothes dryer and refrigerator segments, which are up by four percentage points each from 2010.
Encurva is Utopia's brand new collection of curved modular bathroom furniture. In marked contrast to the sharp, square styling of traditional modular furniture, Encurva focuses on elegant curves for a new, softer look.
In a comprehensive range of sizes from a space-saving 450mm through to 1250mm, Encurva units have a dedicated, curved handle along the top edge. Door and drawer options are available and there is a choice of accompanying washbasin. Smaller and larger units are teamed with the new Quantum Square Elegant sit-on basin while 650mm cabinets are available with the new curved Encurva basin in either Gelcast or ceramic.
Pronorm continues to strengthen its position in the kitchen sector as the company further expands its UK dealership with five new retailers signing up to sell its contemporary kitchen furniture within the last two months.
The new companies are Kitchen Trends in Ayr, Living Design in Belfast, Iroko Kitchens in Lytham St Annes, Pure Design in Leeds and Distinctive Kitchens in Prescot.
F & P Wholesale, the UK's distributor of heating, plumbing and bathroom products to the independent merchant sector, has just celebrated the sale of its 2 millionth Prorad steel panelled compact radiator since the business first introduced a variety of radiators and towel rails to its extensive own label portfolio more than 10 years ago.
Despite the economic slowdown, the continued sales success of the Prorad range is something F & P's management team attributes to the strong reputation of its own label 'Pro' products amongst heating and plumbing professionals.
The designer or homeowner can step into a world of black and white with the new Arena Pull-Out Spray tap from the Portfolio 55 collection by Franke. This stylish tap is available in either matt black or matt white and will suit today's streamlined kitchen space; it's designed to complement today's modern appliances and furniture.
The Arena features a curved spout with a pull-out nozzle for real flexibility at the sink. The tap is 443mm high with a generous spout reach of 196mm and retails at £420 including VAT.
The Portfolio 55 collection comprises taps which all come with an impressive five-year guarantee on both finish and parts.
The US National Kitchen & Bath Association has announced the launch of a new non-design certification: the Certified Kitchen & Bath Professional (CKBP).
The CKBP was developed to enable kitchen and bath professionals in all non-design segments of the industry to demonstrate their experience, education and expertise. This universal certification was created in response to repeated requests from NKBA members for a certification path that would support builder/remodellers, distributors, fabricators, manufacturers' representatives and all other qualified professionals in our industry.
The new website www.uberfurniture.co.uk is sure to offer inspiration to customers and kitchen designers alike! All sorts of modern ideas for the perfect cooking, dining and living space are shown explored.
Uber's 'affordable chic' message is reinforced by stunning imagery which highlights the eye-catching products. The website gives a complete overview of all the stylish portfolios - from traditional to ultra-modern; from coloured to high gloss white; from natural timber to painted wood. The new Uber Couture collection is shown in glorious technicolour. Featuring the Bibury handleless model in a choice of nine colours, each Uber Couture kitchen is made individually and hand-finished in a silk effect lacquer which is resistant to scratching and fingerprints.
Latest foray into Russia for R & D Marketing's demista heated mirror pads is in the recently opened luxury Crowne Plaza hotel in central St Petersburg where all the bathrooms have easily-fitted heated mirror pads invisibly fixed to the back of the mirror to ensure they remain steam free.
Specified for the hotel by the Russian company Renaissance Construction, the demista pads have already made an impression on leading Russian bathroom furniture manufacturer, Aquaton. So far R & D Marketing has supplied 30,000 heated pads for Aquaton's fitted vanity units and the orders continue.
Moovit Drawer systems are quick and easy to assemble, with full extension Smuso intergrated soft and self-closing mechanisms on both sides, the progressive rollers bring the drawer to a smooth and quiet close.
The characteristics of the Moovit system allow the drawer fronts to be easily removed without the use of tools thanks to the front fixing bracket being neatly concealed, allowing for adjustment from the front. With minimum deflection and a massive 50kg load carrying capacity, Moovit drawer systems are an innovative drawer application.
UK bathroom supplier and distributor, Frontline, has unveiled its biggest brochure ever. Showcasing the latest products in luxury bathroom design, the 268 page catalogue includes even more Frontline own brand products.
Featuring over 6,000 contemporary and classic products, the new brochure enables a complete bathroom to be designed from one central place, making planning, delivery and installation a seamless process. The full colour brochure has been created as a comprehensive reference with the emphasis on quality. It is available in both a print and online version.
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
Access Hansgrohe's new online planning tool for its Axor Bourellec bathroom collection at: www.pro.hansgrohe-int.com/axor-composer
HiB's beautiful new mono block basin mixer tap designs - Mesi and Neath - come with pop-up wastes. T: 0208 441 0352
Rangemaster's latest surface finish enhances the colour of steel, avoids yellowing and masks any natural defects. T: 0870 755 485
Ex-Focus DIY Category Buyer, Craig Hadley, is to head up the vitreous china product division,of PJH Group's Bathroom portfolio. T: 01204 707070
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There was what may be good news for the KBB industry last week, with Grant Shapps welcoming a new action plan for the self build industry that he says could be the turning point that takes it to the masses.
Steve Macdonald, marketing director of Hoover Candy shares his views on the growing rental market in the UK and how it could impact the industry:
In this recession driven economy where the consumer is King, retailers and manufacturers of high value products need to look at the key drivers in the marketplace to guarantee the success of the future.
"It goes without saying that no matter what the government says, we are still in the grips of a recession driven economy and as the consumer has learnt to live within a more frugal economy, consumers are also asking themselves with every product purchase, no matter how large or small; 'do I really need it?'
A Wolverhampton plumber has been given a 10-month suspended jail sentence for causing a gas explosion and fire in which a pensioner sustained 21% burns rescuing his nine-year-old granddaughter.
The new report on the UK Bathroom Retailers Market has now been published.
Written specifically for bathroom product manufacturers, distributors and retailers and based on actual sales returns, this comprehensive 180+ page report reviews the UK Bathroom Retailers market size from 2005 to 2011, with forecasts to 2015 alongside analysis of product mix & trends for Sanitaryware/Baths; Bathroom Furniture; Brassware; Showers/Enclosures/Trays; Bathroom Heating; Bathroom Lighting and Bathroom Accessories.
Stunningly beautiful, packed with style and ultra-modern. That's how the BMA has described the venue for this year's Annual Bathroom Conference.
Wolseley has announced this week that it has signed an agreement to sell its Electric Center business to Edmundson Electrical, a leading distributor of electrical equipment to trade and industry in the UK. Completion will follow a period of employee consultation and is expected to occur in the next few weeks.