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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
17th February 2017


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

International News

Utopia adds to popular Symmetry range

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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.

Move and Switch with LDL

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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.

Shower in style with Laura Ashley Bathroom Collection

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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.

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.

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

Mixed performance in UK building and home improvement product distribution market

* UK-MARKET-REPORT.jpgThe UK building and home improvement products distribution market is a large, mature market and as such tends to experience modest year on year change. In both 2015 and 2016, the market has performed well displaying growth rates of 4% per annum according to a new report by AMA Research.

Was 2016 the year of the specialist tradesman?

As our homes become more complex through the advent of new technologies and energy efficiency systems, homeowners are now seeking specialist tradespeople to carry out their home improvements according to TrustMark, the Government-endorsed scheme for tradespeople, which today announced that it has recorded another bumper year of helping homeowners.

In 2016, more than 8.3 million search results were provided to homeowners who used TrustMark's website and telephone helpline to find local firms and expert tradespeople to carry out their home improvements and repairs.

Belling launches freestanding microwave collection: Five models and two new looks

* Belling-new-launch.jpgPopular appliance manufacturer Belling, part of Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, has launched a collection of freestanding microwaves to complement its existing cooking ranges. The new collection includes five products and offers two distinct aesthetics - a collection of sleek modern appliances and a Retro range in racing-car red, glossy black or vintage cream.

Minister gives green light to KBB Apprenticeship development

* Minister.jpgThe British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation, has confirmed that the Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, The Rt.Hon.Robert Halfon MP (pictured), has granted government approval for the development of a new Trailblazer Apprenticeship for Fitted Interiors.

Ripples franchise appeal to industry-insiders!

* Ripples.jpgEstablished in 1988, Ripples has become famed for designing and creating beautiful bespoke bathrooms, they have built up an impressive collection of showrooms nationwide, employing almost 30 bathroom designers.

2017 saw the doors open on one of Ripples' largest showrooms in Birmingham, based within Cookes Furniture the new showroom is already proving to be a huge hit, with hundreds of visitors heading to the inspiring new showroom in its first month.

Abode introduces new bathroom brochure for 2017

* Abode-bathroom-trio.jpgA new 232-page bathroom brochure has been introduced for 2017, emulating the creative lines of the Abode product range. It has been designed as a complete product information guide providing both Abode's retail partners and the consumer with everything they need to know, to make those all-important decisions.

Introducing the Regent Furniture Range

* Regent-furniture.jpgThomas Crapper & Co is introducing bathroom furniture for the very first time to complement its extensive range of heritage WC's and sanitaryware.

The new Regent furniture collection is the ideal solution for any bathroom, providing ample storage without compromising on style. Regent has a classic aesthetic with a modular design, playing on the key modular living trend and offering an elegant and flexible solution for all bathrooms.

New research by whirlpool reveals families seek to maximise lifestyles

* New-research.jpgNew research commissioned by Whirlpool, has found that consumers are actively seeking out ways to improve their quality of life, to concentrate on what really matters to them.

The international quantitative study polled 2400 consumers, to understand lifestyles, tastes and changing attitudes towards housework and cooking.

Karonia launches brand new company website

* Karonia-new-website.jpgSolid surface specialist Karonia has launched a brand-new company website at www.karonia.com. The result of an intensive period of redevelopment, the new site comprises dedicated microsites for each of the company's retail brands, Mistral worktops, Orello sinks and Karonia Store tooling and accessories.

Franke's new sink is brimming with Style

* Franke-new-sink.jpgFranke's new Style SYG 611 granite, single bowl inset sink combines sophisticated design with quality and high performance.

The gentle curves and raised edges of the Style combine to produce an almost 'floating' effect on the worksurface and its new Alabaster White colour is translucent in appearance, further elevating the aesthetics.

Alno UK organisation structure update

* Alno-UK.jpgAlno UK has announced a restructure to its board of directors following the news that Adinde Blacquière will step-down as the company's managing director after four years with the kitchen business.

The company has announced that Adinde Blacquière has made the decision to leave Alno UK to pursue personal ambitions. This has presented the UK Board with an opportunity to reassess the organisation to see how it can restructure to better support its continued growth.

VitrA expands marketing team

* VitrA-expands.jpgVitrA has invested in its marketing department with a new member of staff, Jodie Sutherland.

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.


Baumatic launches new 'gift with purchase' promotion

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


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.

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