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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
22nd July 2016


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

International News

Survey of SMEs across Europe and the USA reveals differing outlooks

Well over a third (38%) of UK small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) believe that if they don't adapt their business models they will go out of business in five years. However, only a mere 2% have done something about it. These are the findings of the 2016 'SME Barometer Research' commissioned by Exact - an annual survey looking at technology adoption among 2,500 SMEs across Europe and the USA - which reveals a number of differing outlooks, across the countries studied.

Gaia takes control of the whole house

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Gaia provides the unique opportunity of being able to control either a hydronic or an electric underfloor heating system from a distance. Combining the wireless element with an app-able feature enables homeowners to effortlessly control their home heating system via an app on their smartphone.

SieMatic receives the highest possible brand endorsement with a golden accolade

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Premium kitchen brand SieMatic has recently been bestowed with the prestigious 'German Brand Award in Gold.'

Established after a directive from the German Bundestag (House of Representatives) over 60 years ago, the 'German Design Council' acknowledges international design and brand activity in Germany with its esteemed 'German Brand Award'.

Grohe and Philips Sound bring the joy of music to the shower experience

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Grohe and Philips Sound have unveiled the Aquatunes waterproof Bluetooth speaker, bringing a high-quality, immersive musical experience to the bathroom. Users simply pair the speaker with their smartphone or tablet and enjoy their favourite music, radio station or any other source of audio.

Utopia prepares for major product launch

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Utopia Bathrooms has invested over £250,000 in a sophisticated new automated through-feed painting line at its Wolverhampton manufacturing facility and headquarters. By offering an additional painted furniture finish alongside pressed and laminated options, the company is poised to take full advantage of lucrative opportunities in the bathroom furniture market.

Weston Homes & RAK partner to create stunning bathroom concept

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Weston Homes has partnered with RAK Ceramics to create a new stunning bathroom concept that features throughout its Southpoint project. Located in Southend-on-Sea, the new high-spec development includes 97 one and two bedroom apartments.

Double Trouble: the rise of the 'sexy bathroom'

- His-and-Hers bathrooms on the rise as busy couples say the bathroom is the number one sanctuary where they can spend time together

Franke's new Nyon tap is a modern classic

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The modern classic styling of the new Nyon monobloc tap from Franke's Specialist Range, makes it a design-versatile tap for both traditional and contemporary kitchens, while its solid stainless steel manufacture assures a robust tap that's built to last.

Welcome to the


Were you around when the UK ‘decimalised’ in the 70s, or when the Euro was launched? Or do you live in a country that adopted the Euro in later years?

I understand that in every scenario, vendors used the changes as an excuse to increase prices – in some cases by quite a lot. I don’t know how it happened regarding the Euro (only that it did) but decimalisation encouraged vendors to ‘round everything up’ to the nearest penny, rather than reduce it. Yes – I know it was only a penny, but back then they were worth something and when everything was added up, the rounding up made a big difference to a household’s monthly spend.

Today we’re running a ‘Soapbox’ from a delivery company whose competitors are using ‘Brexit’ as an excuse to increase prices by 10%. This is not the first time this practice has been brought to my attention.

Let’s all jump on the bandwagon while we can, shall we?

Whether we use it for business or pleasure, the Internet has given us a Pandora’s Box of knowledge and the ability to communicate about anything we wish to discuss, with just about everyone – whether we know them or not.

As well as being able to find out what others think of a product or service before we buy into it (thanks to websites full of customer reviews), it has made us all into experts at shopping around and getting the best possible deals from companies that we know will look after us.

If you need to raise prices for a valid reason then go ahead, but raised prices thanks to what may be perceived as a flimsy excuse such as a break with the EU that many still believe will not be happening (and if it does, not until at least 2019) will result in customers buying elsewhere.

Be warned…



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Jan Hobbs



This Week's News

Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP (as she was at the time) visits new Maidenhead Screwfix store

* Theresa-May_Screwfix.jpgScrewfix was delighted to welcome local Member of Parliament Theresa May to its new Maidenhead store on Reform Road last Friday, just days before she became our new Prime Minister. Mrs May was given a tour of the new store where she met store staff.

John Mewett, marketing director at Screwfix, shared with her some of the feedback from the company's trade customers and some of the key issues, opportunities and challenges facing people in the trades in the local area.

New Eisl Eco home mixer tap range cuts energy usage and keeps bills to a minimum

* Eisl-1.jpgEisl UK has announced the launch of its new Eco range of home mixer taps. Available in the UK from the 3rd quarter of 2016, the new Eisl Eco range will offer a new level of functionality, with Water Saving, Energy Saving and Anti-Scald technology.

With water savings of up to 50%, low noise, 35mm ceramic disc cartridge, contemporary design, 5-year warranty and competitive market position, the portfolio offers a convincing package of features.

Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group signs up its first bathroom supplier

* James-Gibbard_Methven.jpgSince the launch of the Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group in 2014, the group has grown rapidly, and now has added its first bathroom supplier to its expanding portfolio.

Broadening out to provide a more extensive offering for the independent kitchen and bathroom specialist, the ever-growing list of KBBG suppliers has now been extended to include the range of attractive and innovative award-winning showers and tapware from Methven.

Soapbox: don't use Brexit as an excuse to raise prices - and remember - prompt payment is the lifeblood of a small business

* bathroom_suppliers.jpgBy Mark Errington, sales & marketing director, City Distribution

City Distribution, based in Blackpool, has been servicing the North of England for 29 years. We take orders up to 4:45pm delivering the following day and even man our sales office on probably our customers' busiest day, Saturday, to deal with product enquiries and process orders for Monday delivery - arguably making a rod for our own back but today's retailer need every tool in the box to secure that all important sale.

Hib enters the Virtual Worlds realm

* HiB_Ash-Chilver.jpgInnovation-led CAD technology company, Virtual Worlds, has secured a new contract with popular bathroom brand, HiB.

HiB has recently signed a three-year agreement to feature on the popular Virtual Worlds professional CAD software. This means that all retailers signed up to the programme will now be able to generate interactive simulations of HiB products, to exacting proportions, to be included in their design consultations.

Lift kitchen storage to new heights with Alno iMove

* Fine-wooden-organiser.jpgAlno has introduced stylish and practical new storage options for its luxury German kitchen furniture.

The new iMove lift shelf wall unit makes access to kitchen cabinets easier than ever before with its convenient descending shelves, allowing the contents of upper shelves to be effortlessly reached. The higher shelves move gracefully in and out of the iMove unit cabinet with a light, flowing movement aided by a robust yet discreet integrated pull handle.

Dream Doors announces winner of inaugural 'kitchen transformation of the year' award

* DD-after.jpgKitchen makeover firm Dream Doors has announced the winner of its first 'kitchen transformation of the year' award, given to the best kitchen makeover project carried out in 2015 / 2016.

The winning kitchen makeover was completed by Dream Doors Salisbury, transforming a kitchen from a tired wooden look, to a much more modern HG White, and Metallic Blue themed kitchen.

PWS's flagship Southern Design Centre opens for business

* PWS_Southern_Design_Centre.jpgPWS is understandably proud to announce the opening of its new Southern Design Centre. Representing a £1.5m investment, the Centre showcases the complete PWS product offer, including their latest contemporary kitchen collection BioGraphy, alongside the company's established Second Nature and 1909 brands.

Vado launches Strata and Phase shower columns

* Strata.jpgVado has expanded its highly popular range of thermostatic shower columns with the launch of Strata and Phase.

Strata features an attractive glass topped valve which doubles as a shelf; the perfect place to put all those essential showering toiletries. In addition, the elegant shower column features a round fixed Saturn shower head and a round, multi-function push-button handset with rain, drench and mist functions.

New partnership explores exciting opportunities for Veterans

* iKKBiCombat-Logo.jpgAt its 10th anniversary reception, held at The Houses of Parliament last week and hosted by its Patron Stephen Metcalfe MP; The Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers announced an exciting new partnership with Care after Combat - a UK registered charity providing professional assistance for the wellbeing of military Veterans and their families.

At the milestone event, iKBBI CEO Damian Walters addressed the guests by saying: "The industry has a long-standing challenge on its hands, one that by far pre-dates the destabilising referendum result recently. Our challenge is in the form of addressing a widening skills gap that has manifested in a shortage of professional installers choosing to operate in the retail market.

Messi, Piqué and Turan surprise school kids to give them the dream day of play

* Beko.jpgChildren all over the world dream of having a kick-about with their football heroes and Beko made this dream possible for one group of schoolchildren from an underprivileged neighbourhood as FC Barcelona stars gave them the surprise of their lives.

Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué and Arda Turan surprised 10 children from a school in Barcelona and joined in with their training session as part of a special day out organised by Beko, Premium Partner of FC Barcelona.

Ripples join forces with Hansgrohe for training

* Ripples_Hansgrohe.jpgLuxury bathroom retailer Ripples, joined forces this month with Hansgrohe for two training sessions at the company's new showroom - The Water Studio. The Water Studio is Hansgrohe's new hub of inspiration, excitement and resources in the heart of Clerkenwell.

Simply alluring!

* Allure.jpgDesigned to offer the latest in functional bathroom technology, the new Allure mirrored cabinet is the ultimate bathroom storage solution boasting smart features throughout and up-to-the-minute visual styling.

Beautifully illuminated from all angles, the cabinets feature the next generation of LED lighting, offering superior performance at the lowest possible energy consumption.

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.

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





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

KBSA announces finalists in designer awards

Following a meeting of the judges for the 2016 KBSA Designer Awards, whereby all entries are judged anonymously, the finalists have been named for all categories as follows:

Kitchen Designer of the Year under £30,000 - sponsored by Omega:

KBSA designer awards - entries judged anonymously

The Kitchen Bathroom & Bedroom Specialists Association reports that judging is now underway for the KBSA 2016 Designer Awards, and that the shortlisted applicants will soon hear whether they have been successful in making it through to the next stage.

The Judges, as always, will be judging each entry without knowing which entrant has submitted it, which is one of the unique features about this Awards programme. It is only when the winners and runners up are announced on the evening of the Awards dinner that judges are able to put designs to designers!

RAK Ceramics wins Best Sanitaryware Brand at the BKU Awards

RAK Ceramics PJSC, one of the world's largest hi-tech manufacturers of lifestyle ceramics solutions, was voted 'Best Sanitaryware Brand' at the BKU Awards 2016. "It is an honour to receive the award for 'Best Sanitaryware Brand' at the BKU Awards 2016," says Abdallah Massaad, Group CEO at RAK Ceramics.

Whirlpool reveals all change in the UK's busy kitchens

A new qualitative research project, conducted by Whirlpool, carried out to mark the launch of its new SmartCook induction hob, has learnt that cooking trends in the UK are evolving to accommodate new experiences, such as a wider range of gastronomic choices and healthier eating trends, but with convenience and ease of preparation considered increasingly important.

BMA finalises conference line up for conference looking at the Circular Economy

The old-school manufacturing model of Take... Make... Waste is on its way out. Today the approach is changing to Take... Make... Take... No waste. Yes - the principle of the Circular Economy is on the way in and is set to be a huge change for industry, revolutionising the way we firstly produce goods and then, at the end of their lives, dispose of them.


Coram Group UK appoints James Walker as new national specification manager

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Coram Group UK has announced the appointment of James Walker into the newly created role of national specification manager, within the company's national specification team.

Ideal Standard appoints Jim Moore as managing director UK & Ireland

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Ideal Standard has announced the appointment of Jim Moore as managing director UK & Ireland. Jim will oversee the Group's activities in UK & Ireland and assume responsibility for the business development across the Group's Armitage Shanks, Ideal Standard and Sottini brands. The appointment will be effective from 1st August 2016.

Ripples founder wins lifetime achievement award

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Ripples founder and chief executive Roger Kyme has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement award at the BKU awards.


Whirlpool repositions as a premium brand

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Whirlpool UK Appliances has announced a repositioning of the Whirlpool brand with a dramatic relaunch of its new premium range of appliances at a venue in London's Design Quarter in Clerkenwell Green.

Saniflo UK now on a TV near you

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Saniflo is kicking off its Summer TV campaign this week with a comprehensive schedule covering all regions of the UK throughout the whole of July.


Candy reveals new 'Built-in kitchen appliance collection 2016' brochure

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Candy has published its new 'Built-in kitchen appliance collection 2016' brochure, which showcases the latest product portfolio available to kitchen studios and includes ovens, hobs, hoods, microwaves and range cookers, as well as integrated dishwashers, washing machines, wine storage and refrigeration.

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