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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
9th June 2017


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

International News

Howarth At Home has recipe for success at Laura Ashley kitchen collection Stockist Awards

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Howarth at Home has swept the board at the new Laura Ashley Kitchen Collection Stockist Awards for its work promoting and selling the Laura Ashley Kitchen Collection.

Utopia champions British design

In a strategic move to expand its share of the growing modular sector of the bathroom furniture market, Utopia Bathrooms is launching a groundbreaking collection of three new contemporary modular ranges.

Targeting the top end of the market, Utopia is deliberately competing against European brands to prove inspired British design can not only match but surpass the continental offering.

'Taste the Rainbow' with Pure S2 Kitchen from Urban Interior (London)

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Interior design studio, Urban Interior (London), is expressing its passion for colour in the kitchen with the Pure S2 Kitchen by SieMatic: seen here in sky blue and sunshine yellow finishes.

Enjoy a night in on the tiles with the Spring Summer Ted Baker Collection from British Ceramic Tile

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British Ceramic Tile has extended its partnership with global lifestyle brand Ted Baker, introducing a standout new collection of tiles for 2017. Featuring a stylish selection of Ted's signature prints, each new range blends strong fashion influences with expert manufacturing techniques.

The new Indesit chest freezers easily adapt to consumer shopping needs

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Indesit has introduced a new range of chest freezers (100 litre or 250 litre capacities) that can be switched between cooling and freezing modes on demand.

LDL launches new PEKA Fioro range

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Leading distributor LDL Components is now stocking the brand new Fioro pull-out shelving system from PEKA, the Swiss manufacturer of premium quality storage solutions and accessories. 

In a contemporary combination of anthracite metal and oiled oak, the new pull-out shelving system includes a larder unit and various solutions for base units, including Magic Corner options to maximise the usable space in hard to access corners.

Welcome to the



With the Election results now in, the Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedroom Specialists Association's national chair Richard Hibbert has been considering the outlook for the sector. Richard says that while much of the focus of the election has been on investment in the NHS, education and social care, Brexit is clearly an issue that will affect businesses because of the terms of the deal and trading agreements and the impact the process will have on the economy.

He quotes a recent British Chamber of Commerce report which suggests that uncertainty over Brexit and the General Election has squeezed spending and reduced retailer margins - which in turn has slowed growth. Anecdotal evidence from KBSA retailers is mixed, however. Some are reporting that the market remains buoyant with average spends rising, albeit with quieter periods during holidays and in the lead-up to the election.

Others suggest that there has been a change this year and things are not quite as good as they were. Footfall remains good and order books are still full but consumers are more cautious and not spending as much. This could be down to uncertainty or simply mean that people have less disposable income.

Richard says typical KBSA customers are older, spending money on their 'empty nest' homes, but these couples are now having to use their money to help their children get on the property ladder, leaving less for them to invest in their own homes. The housing market will remain difficult for some time so this scenario is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. Whilst these factors suggest that things may get tougher, the overall economy is in good shape. Manufacturing output has increased during the year by 0.5% mainly thanks to the drop in the value of Sterling.

Unemployment has been steadily falling and now sits at 4.8% compared to a figure of 8% just four years ago and interest rates are at their lowest levels for 50 years. At the same time life is becoming more expensive for the consumer with inflation hitting its highest level in four years, and wages dropping in real terms for the first time in three years.

Like Richard, I feel that with no crystal ball to fall back on, the only certainty we have is that the outlook will be uncertain for some time to come. I hope we as an industry can convince consumers that investment in their properties, in terms of new bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms, will be always be money well spent.



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Jan Hobbs



This Week's News

Expansion plans announced by The BiKBBI

* BiKBBi.jpgThe British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation has announced that it is expanding by opening two new regional offices in the north of England this Summer. The initiative is an exciting one for the Institute as it continues the considerable growth it has enjoyed in recent years.

Scandinavian-designed bathroom furniture new from VitrA perfect for both small and large bathroom spaces

* Vitra1.jpgVitrA has launched a brand-new collection of stylish, wall hung bathroom furniture to complement the existing Sento Wall-hung WC. The Scandinavian-designed furniture features delicately rounded profiles in combinations that can be tailored for both smaller bathrooms (50cm compact version) but can be scaled up to suit larger proportioned rooms too.

Stand-out features include LED sensor lighting under the washbasin units which adds to the feeling of space and creates a reassuring glow for children or the infirm, and soft close drawers that fully extend, complemented by non-slip mats in all drawers and glass shelves throughout the range. Sento furniture units can be mounted with or without oak legs or onto a stylish oak console table.

Creating opportunity out of change: Host and first speaker for B&K Conference 2017 announced

* Nick-Owen.jpgThe organiser of the Bathroom & Kitchen Business Conference, has announced the host and the first speaker in the line-up for the day-long 'Creating opportunity out of change' event on 17th October 2017 at The Belfry Hotel & Resort, Sutton Coldfield.

Nick Owen, the television broadcaster, has been secured to host this year's industry conference. Nick has worked in regional and national television since the late seventies. He came to national prominence in the early eighties as one of the first faces to appear on breakfast television in Britain. He was recently awarded an Honorary Doctoraof Letters by the University of Worcester.

MHS Radiators partners with Antrax to launch exciting new collection

* MHS-Radiators1.jpgMHS Radiators has launched a spectacular collection of architecturally influenced radiators, following an exclusive long-term agreement with Antrax IT.

With an emphasis on cutting edge design, these magnificent radiators and towel rails have been crafted to make an impact, whether they are specified for a high-end residential property, or within a commercially-focused environment.

Franke extends its award-winning Maris Plus hood range

* Franke-hood.jpgFranke has extended its award-winning Maris Plus extractor hood range with the addition of a lustrous white glass colour option in addition to the existing black glass version. The new hood is available now in three sizes of 60, 80 and 90cm to offer wide design flexibility.

The elegant hood has three speed settings and an 'intensive' speed setting for short, powerful bursts to remove unpleasant odours quickly and efficiently.

National distribution secured for Wilsonart Zenith

* Wilsonart1.jpgZenith, the super-slim work surface from Wilsonart UK, was the first to market of its type and now the first to secure national distribution. The easy-to-install laminate which incorporates a solid black core, has built on success with national retail DIY chains to persuade consumers of the design and adaptability benefits of the range that is just 12.5mm thick.

Following exponential sales of Zenith to specialist kitchen retailers via distribution in England (J P distribution), Wales (Llandaff Laminates), Scotland, and Northern Ireland (Potter Cowan), Wilsonart is completing the national distribution line-up with a partnership with Hadleigh Timber Group and its brands Panelco, Tay Firth and Meyer Timber.

New laundry appliances from CIH - exclusively for members

* CIH.jpgCombined Independents (Holdings), an electrical buying group, part of the Euronics electrical buying group, has launched two new AEG laundry appliances; a washing machine and matching tumble dryer, that are exclusively available to Euronics members.

The AEG 7000 Series freestanding washing machine, boasts an efficient 'A+++' energy rating and, thanks to the OKOInverter motor, ensures the lowest possible energy consumption, while still delivering the highest efficiency and durability.

Abode launches all-new Pronteau website

* Abode-Pronteau-website.jpgThe Pronteau website from Abode has had a makeover and now includes full details of the new Pronteau 3 in 1 steaming hot water tap collection as well as added functionality and new easy-to-use navigation.

Visitors to the site www.pronteau.co.uk can now easily view Abode's full collection of steaming hot water taps and navigate through all supporting information to help that all-important buying decision from detailed downloadable specification sheets for each model, to technical drawings and installation and care instructions.

Bauhaus launches two new basin designs

* Bauhaus2.jpgNew for 2017, Bauhaus has introduced two stunning new basin styles to its Gallery collection: Avillas and Balboa. Taking popular design to the next level, the latest countertop basins have been created to offer a high-quality finish with a slim edge profile, adding to the designer appeal.

K introduces new Alaska family to range

* K-introduces-Alaska.jpgThe K Kitchens Collection, exclusive to PJH, has introduced a number of new 'families' of kitchen furniture to its range, including the contemporary Alaska family, possesses all the credentials synonymous with the K Kitchens brand - exceptional quality and a number of mid-market pricing options to suit a variety of budgets.

New Geberit executive team announced

Geberit-exec2.jpgAs Geberit moves into the exciting next phase of its development, the company has reorganised its executive team, with new directors to lead its sales and marketing teams.

Following the acquisition of Sanitec and the launch of the Geberit Bathroom Collection, specification and retail sales are being brought together under the leadership of Raffaela De Vittorio as UK sales director - specification and retail.

Yorkshire engineer's new creation helps disabled kids and features on DIY SOS: The Big Build

* Yorkshire2.jpgHuddersfield-based engineer, Andy Pullen, founder and owner of waterproof TV manufacturer, TechVision, has come up with a new product that featured on the first episode of the new series of DIY SOS: The Big Build, on BBC 1 yesterday.

"The soundbathe is a nifty little gadget that turns your bath into a giant speaker and plays music from any Bluetooth-enabled device," explains Andy.

New, improved design for PWS's Directory

* PWS-directory.jpgPWS tells us it is delighted to introduce its latest product Directory. Widely regarded in the KBB sector as one of most comprehensive kitchen reference sources, the PWS Directory 2017 has been updated to not only include the company's full range of newest products and accessories, but features an improved layout and structure, designed around extensive customer research.

"The PWS Directory is well known in the kitchen industry and viewed as an essential reference guide by the trade," notes John Lennon, managing director of PWS. "Each year we strive to enhance the content and this year is no exception.

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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

Franke scoops four prestigious design awards

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Sink, tap and appliance manufacturer, Franke, has scooped four prestigious design awards. It has won three Red Dot Design Awards for its Maris Pull-Out Slim hood, Style sink and Pescara tap range in the latest round of winners. In addition, the Pescara tap range has been given an iF Gold Award for 2017.

Bathroom inspiration at every turn -BagnoDesign Chelsea

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More than 200 specially invited guests attended a sparkling evening on Chelsea's Kings Road, as the flagship BagnoDesign London showroom celebrated its official opening late last month.

Football & rugby battle it out during K&B showroom bake-off event

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To celebrate the first anniversary of The Room Works, a kitchen and bathroom showroom in Exeter, Exeter City FC and the Exeter Chiefs rugby team battled it out during a charity bake-off last Thursday and, following a highly competitive showdown, City were crowned the baking champions.

Ideal Standard announces Bathroom of the Future winners

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Following a nationwide competition to find the bathroom of the future, Ideal Standard is excited to announce the names of the three lucky architect and design professionals who are celebrating after their ideas on how bathrooms will look, feel and perform in the future, were chosen by the judging panel. Competition winners design a bathroom that might be on sale in 20 years' time.

Dekton chosen for Gaze Burvill Furniture & Outdoor Kitchen at Chelsea Flower Show

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Cosentino is delighted that its ultra-compact surface, Dekton, has once again been chosen to showcase the outdoor furniture by Gaze Burvill at the Chelsea Flower Show, happening this week. Located in the heart of Chelsea's show gardens on Main Avenue, the stand is unveiling Gaze Burvill's latest contemporary furniture exclusively designed by Katie Walker, as well as its outdoor kitchen displays.

A Year of Madness at Wirquin

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Family run sanitary equipment specifier, Wirquin, is celebrating 40 years in business this year and has pledged to have a year of madness which it is sharing across its new social media platforms.

The special Facebook page called 'Crazy 40 years', promoting lots of crazy stories and activities in which Wirquin customers and staff are taking part, can be followed and contributed at facebook.com/wirquin40years/. Other new platforms for Wirquin include Twitter and Linked In, so whether it's new products, career vacancies, new installation videos or problem solving tips the company is sharing it all on social media.

Consumer research shines light on laminate work surface popularity

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Wilsonart UK has completed consumer research designed to identify who is buying laminate worksurfaces in the 21st century and for what reasons. The research was commissioned at the end of 2016 in partnership with J M Blake Associates.

Ripples' Solihull designer wins 'Design Of The Year'

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Richard Fox, designer at Ripples' Solihull showroom, has won the coveted title of 'Design of the Year' at Ripples' annual Designer Day.

Designers from Ripples' 13 UK showrooms gather for a training day filled with inspiring and motivating speakers, they get the chance to compare design ideas and discuss techniques with their peers. The day is headed by Ripples' sales manager, Nicola Crow.


New marketing lead joins F & P as company enters fresh phase of development

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F & P, Primaflow and Connections has appointed Tim Ramsey as head of marketing to help drive the company forward as it embarks upon a period of expansive change. Tim will be responsible for developing the e-commerce offering, as well as helping the business to work even more closely with customers.


New for 2017, kitchen sink & tap brochure from Abode

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Abode introduces its latest kitchen sink and tap brochure which is available in a hard copy format as well as viewable online, via the company's interactive brochure or downloadable in a pdf format.

Maurice Lay Distributors publishes 60th trade price guide

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Maurice Lay Distributors, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, has published a new version of its trade price guide. Highlighting the company's four decades in business, this special edition has been completely redesigned and features a beautiful collage of images of the most iconic issues of the guide on its front cover along with the strapline 'Celebrating 40 years'.

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