KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
10th February 2017
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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.
The Elements brand, manufactured by Abacus in the UK, offers what is arguably the most comprehensive range of wetroom and waterproofing products currently available.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
This Week's News
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 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.
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.
LDL 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.
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.
With 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.
Surfaces 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.
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 has launched its latest consumer gift with purchase promotion which runs until the end of April 2017.
Tristan 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.
Schmidt has started the New Year with a name change and new web address. The company is now known as Schmidt Groupe UK.
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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.