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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
10th February 2017


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

International News

LDL presents new Furnipart handle finishes for 2017

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LDL Components, leading distributor of furniture fittings and accessories, is now offering exciting new finishes for 2017 from leading Danish handle manufacturer Furnipart.

Already available in Inox Look, Edge Straight is a stylish aluminium handle, 41mm wide, and is now available in four new finishes - Brushed Rose Gold, Brushed Anthracite, Antique Bronze and Brushed Brass. The perfect complement for the current trend for vintage or industrial looks, the new handles carry a lifetime guarantee along with all Furnipart handles.

Abacus Bathrooms - innovations for 2017 by expert in advanced bathroom and wetroom design and build

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Established in 1989, Abacus is one of the UK's leading manufacturers and distributors of bathroom and wetroom products. The company's comprehensive 2017 product range has been developed alongside some of the world's most prestigious bathroom brands including world-class German sanitaryware and stunning contemporary designs, and encompasses the Abacus philosophy of innovation and build quality.

The Elements brand, manufactured by Abacus in the UK, offers what is arguably the most comprehensive range of wetroom and waterproofing products currently available.

Freestanding bathroom furniture from Mereway offers best of both worlds

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Mereway Bathrooms has launched a new range of freestanding bathroom furniture that is traditional in style with a contemporary twist. Knightsbridge is a design-led collection that taps into the trend for painted furniture in the bathroom and offers an affordable alternative to bespoke hand painted furniture.

'Le Baou': A contemporary island in Hi-Macs inspired by the jagged lines of a rock

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We couldn't help but stare at the centrepiece of this kitchen: an island called 'Le Baou' - a Provençal word meaning 'rock'. This Crystal Beige monolith appears to have been carved from a single block and contrasts with the wooden wall in the background.

New Calla sink from Carron Phoenix offers durability of granite at entry-level prices

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The new Calla 150 inset sink from Carron Phoenix offers the durability and easy maintenance of granite at an entry-level price point. Its curvaceous bowl design distinguishes it from other Carron Phoenix granite sinks and combined with its simple lines, offers across-the-board appeal for a wide range of kitchen styles.

Liebherr's new 390 litre BluPerformance fridge 'takes it to the max'

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Liebherr tells us its new BluPerformance KPef 4350 fridge boasts the largest capacity of all its standalone refrigerators from the pioneering BluPerformance Collection, and when compared to a typical standalone fridge of 200 - 300 litres, is almost double in size thanks to its 390 litre capacity.

Bauhaus beats bathroom blues when it's bitterly cold

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For a towel rail that's sure to make an impact, look no further than bathroom furniture specialist Bauhaus's Gallery collection. 

Blending both contemporary and traditional radiator designs with the latest in thermal bathroom technology, the exclusive range is guaranteed to add a stunning design feature to any bathroom, en-suite or cloakroom whilst offering the ultimate in premium functionality.

Gorenje brings the sunshine with new retro fridge

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Gorenje, has introduced a new sunrise finish to its hugely successful Retro collection of fridge freezers. Available on Orb freestanding, single-door models, the new Sunrise Retro fridge will add vibrant splashes of colour to any kitchen.

Boasting the highest achievable energy-efficiency rating (A+++), the fridge has a gross capacity of 260 litres and includes IonAir and DynamiCooling food preservation technology.

Kitchen and bathroom inspiration on show in Bury St Edmunds

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Bringing high quality, Italian styling and interior design inspiration to the people of Bury St Edmunds and beyond, the new Design Republic showroom is now open.

Welcome to the



Wednesday's Office for National Statistics announcement that UK employment reached 74.6% in the last quarter of 2016 - the highest rate since such records began in 1971, while unemployment remained at its record low since 2005 on 4.8%, compared with 5.1% for the same period the previous year - has caused quite a stir.

Of particular interest to various players in the KBB industry was the announcement that the number of EU nationals employed in the UK had risen by 190,000 in the final quarter compared with the same period the previous year, but, comparing the final quarter of 2016 with the preceding quarter, there were 19,000 fewer EU nationals employed - the first three-month fall in since Q3 2014.

While David Freeman, ONS senior statistician, warns that the fall in the number of workers born in other EU countries should be treated with caution as the figures have not been seasonally adjusted, the latest Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD and Adecco says that labour and skills shortages are starting to bite in UK sectors that employ a high number of EU nationals - such as general building and the more specialised allied trades, as well as retail. 

It suggests that, despite a near record number of vacancies (748,000 according to ONS data), UK employers are struggling to fill roles with the right candidates and that low-skilled sectors which typically employ a large number of non-UK nationals from the EU are facing particular recruitment challenges.

The CIPD says employers need to review their approach to workforce development and training and improve the attractiveness of their jobs through better line management and job design, developing closer links with local educational institutions and improving pay and employment conditions where possible.

Interestingly, the Outlook also asked employers that employ EU nationals how they would respond to potential migration restrictions. A quarter (26%) said they would 'pay the difference' and absorb the extra cost of recruiting EU nationals, whilst others said they would seek to retain older workers (19%), invest more in training and up-skilling (17%) and recruit more apprentices (17%).

Good news then for the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation, which has been working with the Government on the development of a new Trailblazer Apprenticeship for Fitted Interiors! Its success, about which you can read more below, means that in one part of our industry at least, it's likely to be, 'business as usual'.



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Jan Hobbs



This Week's News

Soapbox: New report confirms BMA's worst fears

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association's chief executive Yvonne Orgill, warns that some bathroom products may not be fit for purpose, as their manufacturers are being allowed to get away with flouting European Regulation ...

"A recent report by the European Commission has confirmed what the Bathroom Manufacturers Association has believed for some time. The strict Regulations concerning 'fitness for purpose', and by implication the safety of bathroom products, are being habitually flouted by unscrupulous manufacturers and importers. And very little is being done to stop them.

Utopia adds to popular Symmetry range

* Utopia-new-Miro-basin.jpgUtopia Bathrooms has updated and extended its popular Symmetry range of curved bathroom furniture with important additions including a new free-standing basin for modular units and an extended worktop choice.

North/South divide threatens to wreck Government's smart meter target

An emerging North/South divide could derail the Government's plan to install smart meters in 50 million homes by the end of the decade, new research suggests.

Move and Switch with LDL

* The-Move-drawer-dividing-system.jpgLDL is adding the new Blum Move and Switch cutlery and drawer dividing systems to its product portfolio. Specifically designed for use with Antaro and Legrabox drawers, the new systems offer more choice and flexibility for the optimum organisation of drawer interiors.

Older workers are not only wiser - they're more productive

A survey that compares the working habits of different age groups among 3,000 office workers across Europe has thrown up some unexpected findings. Among them it suggests that with age not only comes wisdom, but also greater resilience to extra demands and higher levels of productivity than their younger co-workers.

The Wrike Digital Work Report, an independent survey of workers in the UK, France and Germany, included respondents from five different age brackets, ranging from 18 to 24-year-olds, to Millennials (25-34) through to those aged 55 and over.

Shower in style with Laura Ashley Bathroom Collection

* Shower-in-style.jpgWith nearly 90% of UK homes having at least one shower, demand for super stylish shower systems that will complement both traditional and contemporary bathrooms continues to grow. Perfect for those looking to introduce a chic and sophisticated shower to their bathroom this spring, Laura Ashley Bathroom Collection's thermostatically-controlled shower systems provide safe and stylish solutions that all the family can enjoy.

Cosentino opens new centre in Scotland

* Cosentino.jpgSurfaces specialist Cosentino Group, is further expanding its UK operation with a new Centre in Scotland. Based in Livingston, it's ideally located between Glasgow and Edinburgh with great links North and South to service the entire country.

Cosentino Scotland joins five other Cosentino Centres in the UK, currently based in Hook, Manchester, Gloucester, Darlington and East London.

Screwfix celebrates opening 500th store

* Screwfix-500th.jpgScrewfix has opened its 500th UK store at Lumina Park, Enfield, North London, marking a major milestone in the retailer's expansion of its store network.

Since opening its first store in Yeovil in 2005, Screwfix has grown significantly and has opened one store per week for the past six years meaning 90% of the UK population is within a 20-minute drive time of a store.

Baumatic launches new 'gift with purchase' promotion

* Baumatic-Promotion.jpgBaumatic has launched its latest consumer gift with purchase promotion which runs until the end of April 2017.

BSH announces the appointment of sales director, Kitchen Independent

* BSH-appt.jpgTristan Sherlock has been appointed as BSH sales director, Kitchen Independents. He will take responsibility for the development of the Bosch, NEFF and Siemens brands, and the largest field sales team in the industry dedicated to the independent kitchen specialist.

Tristan has a wealth of experience within the industry, and several years of success with BSH in his capacity as the regional business manager in London & South of England. He rejoined BSH in 2012, after previously working for the company as an area business manager between 2005 and 2010.

Change of name for Schmidt

Schmidt has started the New Year with a name change and new web address. The company is now known as Schmidt Groupe UK.


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

Date announced for KBSA AGM & National Meeting 2017

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The Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association has announced the date of the 2017 AGM & National Meeting, which will take place on Tuesday 3rd October in Stratford upon Avon.

£2.8 million fine for furniture parts cartel

Two firms that make furniture parts have agreed to pay fines totalling £2.8 million for illegal cartel activity, after a Competition and Markets Authority investigation.

Age UK Trading CIC & BiKBBI announce strategic partnership

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The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) has this week announced its latest strategic partnership with Age UK Trading CIC (Community Interest Company). Age UK Trading CIC is a trading subsidiary of Age UK, the UK's largest charity working with older people.


Lustrolite - the easy way to create beautiful kitchen splashbacks and shower walls

A brand new brochure from Abacus Manufacturing Group explains everything you need to know about Lustrolite, leading name in acrylic high gloss wall panelling.

New Smeg brochures separate different collections

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Smeg has published new comprehensive brochures - which distinguish the built-in range from its freestanding collection - and a brochure for its Dolce Stil Novo range.

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