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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
29th July 2016


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

International News

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

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Eisl 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.

Lift kitchen storage to new heights with Alno iMove

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Alno has introduced stylish and practical new storage options for its luxury German kitchen furniture.

Vado launches Strata and Phase shower columns

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

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.

Welcome to the


Arguably, the biggest change to shopping in the 20th century was the emergence of supermarkets, but in the 21st century, the change is indisputable: it’s our addiction to online shopping – and it’s an addiction that’s growing stronger by the month.

According to Office for National Statistics figures released today, in 2008 just 5p of every £1 spent in shops was spent online – but by 2015 this had risen to 13p. Further, nearly half of every £1 spent in shops online in 2015 was spent in online stores that have no permanent physical presence on the high street or out of town shopping park. This, too, is a growing trend – up from 41p of every £1 spent in shops online in 2010 – and worryingly for those who own stores that sell appliances, involves consumers who buy these items online.

Considering that nearly 88% of all shopping in Great Britain in 2015 took place in physical stores, it’s clear that consumers are not quite yet ready to move to an exclusively online shopping experience but if we want to continue to see appliance retailers have a physical presence in our shopping centres then we need to find a way to do it quickly.

It’s easy to shop around for appliances online and come up with the best price, delivery times to suit and the best guarantees – and by golly they do vary! Most of us have become wise to the “Find it cheaper elsewhere and we’ll refund the difference” ploy by some stores that have items especially made (it may just be a product number that’s different) which you simply can’t find anywhere else and thus will not be able to find cheaper.

Other stores will check the Internet to see if another local store is offering at a lower price, what you wish to buy, and will charge you the same.

Where though, does this leave margins? The other store might employ fewer staff and pay lower rates and have lower overheads than the one you’re in…

This doesn’t bode well for stores that only sell appliances, does it? But what is the answer? Just what do we need to do, to entice people back into the stores, I wonder?

What do you think, that we as an industry can do, to reverse consumers’ buying patterns, or do you think we’re on a hiding to nothing?



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Jan Hobbs



This Week's News

KBSA announces further keynote speaker at their 2016 National Conference

* Rita-Clifton.jpgThe KBSA has announced a further keynote speaker for its 2016 National Conference and Networking Dinner being held at The Welcombe Hotel, Stratford Upon Avon, on 27th September 2016.

Rita Clifton CBE, International branding expert and business leader, will explain the importance of brand thinking and how it should be 'stitched' into a business from the outset and the importance of this for small independent business and well as multinationals.

Channel 4 viewers see George Clarke give new Energy to period bathroom with Twyford

* Twyford-tv.jpgTwyford e500 Square sanitaryware, from the brand's Energy collection, reached an audience of over two million people when it appeared on new Channel 4 show 'George Clarke's Old House, New Home', this month.

The show sees architect and presenter George Clarke getting under the skin of period homes, to make them fit for the future.

Franke adds the contemporary Smart tap to its best-selling Pro-Value range

* Franke-Smart-Tap.jpgFranke's new Smart tap is the latest contemporary design to be introduced into the company's best-selling Pro-Value range, designed to offer exceptional quality and style at prices within most budgets.

The distinctively designed monobloc tap is available in Chrome or SilkSteel PVD and is operated by a single top lever. It is extremely competitively priced.

Croydex secures patent for Flexi-Fix

Croydex has been granted a patent for its Flexi-Fix 'X' plate following a successful application to the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Launched in 2012, the no-mess, no-fuss range provides a simple solution for mounting bathroom accessories without damaging decor thanks to a unique 'X' plate which can be fitted using existing holes or screwed to new ones. Alternatively, it can be glued to most surfaces, including uneven walls or shiny surfaces, eliminating the need for drilling completely.

'Wow factor' heating with new Sigma & Fog towel warmers by Aestus

* Sigma.jpgFor those that want to make a statement in the bathroom or home interior, Aestus, the British manufacturer and supplier of high quality designer radiators and towel rails, has the answer, with the introduction of two new heating solutions - Sigma and Fog, part of the Contemporary Towel Warmer Collection.

Specifically designed with the style conscious in mind, Sigma and Fog command your attention with their distinct silhouettes, fluid contouring and deceptively simple comb-like styling. Their organic lines and smooth rounded edges fully embrace the desire for contemporary working art in the home.

New Sureseal enhances waterproof protection, performance and aesthetics

* Sureseal.jpgShowerwall has launched Sureseal, a purpose-designed trim system that is fitted at the base of the company's bathroom panelling to enhance waterproof protection, long term performance and facilitate easier cleaning in busy shower areas.

Very easy and quick to fit, it does not add time onto the overall installation speed which is one of the key benefits of Showerwall compared to tiling.

Steel announces Enfasi range cooker collection

* ENFASI.jpgSteel, the family owned Italian manufacturer of beautifully crafted, bespoke kitchen appliances and modular kitchen units, has announced a new range cooker collection - the Enfasi range.

IdealPro doubles its membership in one year - and opens up new programme for student installers

* IdealPro.jpgIdealPro, the dedicated installer programme from Ideal Standard, has more than doubled its membership in the last year, with almost 3,000 members now taking advantage of the scheme's offers, prizes and training opportunities.

In total, the 2,947 member installers have claimed 6,110 rewards using the 4.6 million points they have accumulated by purchasing Ideal Standard products from official stockists. Rewards have included everything from work tools and household items to shopping vouchers, jewellery and technology.

Geberit Monolith: now even easier to install but as sleek and stylish as ever

* Geberit-monolith.jpgAs stylish and elegant on the outside as it has ever been, the Geberit Monolith sanitary module has been improved internally to make it even simpler to install. New for 2016, the inside of the Geberit Monolith now includes an installation frame, so installation is quicker and more straightforward.

Ensuring the sanitary module blends seamlessly into its surroundings, Geberit Monolith is now also available in a new Sand colour, as well as the existing White, Black and Umber glass finishes.

Virtu has shaker-style down to a fine art...

* VIRTU-Natura-Oak.jpgRecently launched kitchen brand, Virtu, has introduced a shaker-style range of doors to its new collection which come under the 'Artisan' family of kitchens.

Comprising of three door styles, the 'Artisan' family offers some timeless designs characterised by the simplicity of the shaker-style door frontal yet fused with the latest cabinet technology for hard working, high performance modern kitchens.

InSinkErator launches new showroom collection

* InSinkErator-Showroom-Collection.jpgInSinkErator took to the Thames to launch its new collection of premium products, the Showroom Collection, exclusively to valued, high street kitchen retailers.

The Showroom Collection is a selection of top-of-the-range products, which include exclusive features, finishes and additional consumer benefits. InSinkErator is supporting the Showroom Collection with point-of-sale material plus dedicated literature and a Showroom Collection website for exclusive use by the partners.

British Ceramic Tile supports students at Plymouth College of Art

* Plymouth_College_Building.jpgBritish Ceramic Tile, the UK's largest manufacturer of ceramic and glass tiles, has been supporting the next generation of textile designers with the sponsorship of a category in the final year show for students at Plymouth College of Art.

The company was one of a few who sponsored the end of year show at the college. The team reviewed the collections, and chose the work of one student that pushed the boundaries of creativity, and best reflected the category sponsored.

New dates announced for Graham Hayden's training courses

* Hayden-training.jpgGraham Hayden has announced the dates for the next KBB one day 'Sales and Customer Care' courses which will be hosted by Blum UK at its training centre in Milton Keynes:

BSH appoints five new area service managers due to increase in sales

BSH Home Appliances has seen an increase in sales and thus restructured its field service team to ensure delivery of award-winning customer service for its Bosch, NEFF, Siemens and Gaggenau brands is maintained. To achieve this, five BSH customer service employees have been internally appointed for the role of area service manager.

They will work under the two regional service managers who were internally promoted in April 2016: Alan Walls (responsible for the North region) and Andy Kent (responsible for the South region).

The KBzine Archive Search

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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

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

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Screwfix 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.

Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group signs up its first bathroom supplier

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Since 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.

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

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By 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

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Innovation-led CAD technology company, Virtual Worlds, has secured a new contract with popular bathroom brand, HiB.

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

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Kitchen 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.

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:


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.


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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