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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
15th October 2010


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

International News

CaesarStone the ideal choice for Poggenpohl

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CaesarStone quartz surfaces were the idyllic choice for the show room at the Greystones Development, supplied by premium kitchen manufacturer Poggenpohl (St Albans), for a stunning and flawless finish.

Welcome to the


Shortly after this Government came to power, it was revealed that one of the measures it might take to avert the possible bankruptcy that faced us, would be to increase VAT from 17.5% to 20%.

Those who didn't want the Government to be a success seized upon this as being a sure fire way to bring the country well and truly to its knees by causing a double dip recession because consumers would cease to spend. Many of those in this industry expected a real run on appliances and queues of householders wanting their kitchens and bathrooms refurbished before the rise in VAT would make their project "unaffordable".

Tradespeople were expected to stockpile parts while VAT was at the lower rate, causing problems for their suppliers because they would hardly be spending once it had gone up.

Those of us who've had problems with tradespeople in the past expected that our purchases would be charged out at the higher rate, regardless of the tax that had been paid on them initially.

The Government went ahead anyway and the 2.5% VAT rise is under three months away.

So what has really happened?

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Well according to Screwfix, only one in four tradespeople intend to squirrel away nuts (and bolts) ahead of the January 1st VAT rise!

The fixings and tools supplier says that its latest quarterly Trade Pulse report has revealed that most tradesmen will only buy required quantities ahead of the deadline and will raise prices in the New Year in line with VAT increase.

The report, which examines its customers' confidence levels nationally, finds evidence that tradespeople are relaxed about the impact on business prospects of the forthcoming VAT rise. 

Asked whether they intended to stock up prior to the VAT rise, 23% of tradesmen said that they would but 60% said that there was no urgency and that they would only purchase what they needed. 

As might have been expected though, 82% said that they would pass on any price increases in materials to customers after January 1st, with only 15% saying that they would absorb the impact of the increases.

I have to agree with John Mewett, marketing director at Screwfix, who feels that with four out of five tradespeople saying they feel confident that they will be able to pass on post-January 1st increases to customers, the VAT rise is seen as broadly neutral for business prospects amongst the trade.

In a buoyant market tradespeople would have taken advantage of lower raw material costs ahead of the January deadline.  The fact that most aren't is a signal that whilst trading is much better than it has been, tradespeople aren't prepared to go out on a limb and stockpile materials.

I'd love to hear what the manufacturers and suppliers of white goods and kitchen, bathroom and bedroom furniture feel about these results and whether you have a different story to tell...





Jan Hobbs

This Week's News

Bali offers the perfect retreat

* Shades_Bali_172.jpgA firm believer in the philosophy that the bathroom should be a room of relaxation and indulgence, Shades has launched its most luxurious furniture range yet in the form of Bali.

Blending form with function, this latest modular furniture range will be the centrepiece of any bathroom, while offering a truly flexible storage option, with homeowners able to mix and match pieces from the range to best suit the space available.

Burlington's shower sanctuaries are set in stone

* Burlington172.jpgCumbria-based stone engineer, Burlington, is continuing to diversify and expand its standard/off-the-shelf product range with the introduction of natural stone inline shower trays and aqua panels.

Serving as a perfect solution within today's modern contemporary bathrooms, shower areas and wet and steam rooms, this latest product offering takes in two standard size inline shower trays (900mm x 900mm x 30mm and 1200mm x 900mm x 30mm) and one universal aqua panel (1000mm x 450mm), in thicknesses of 20mm and 30mm.

Four classic looks in one range

* Classic_Waterfront172.jpgIn response to outstanding customer feedback, leading British manufacturer of quality bathroom brassware, Waterfront Bathrooms, is launching an updated version of its Classic  range of stylish taps, showers and bathroom accessories for the Period and Period-style bathroom. 

The timeless Classic range, part of the company's exclusive Designer Collection, offers no less than four elegant head options for its basin, bath and shower mixers ¬- a classic cross-head design and three different lever styles, including a ceramic-finish option, giving customers ultimate flexibility to create the period look they require. Available in refined Antique Gold and sophisticated Chrome finishes, the new range has been created to blend seamlessly with the existing collection. 

Individually designed and beautiful!

* Figura side view.jpgFigura is the ultimate in individually designed, joinery-made, hand crafted furniture and bespoke kitchens for your home.

The company looks at each project in isolation and with an open mind, taking each client's ideas and the property as a whole into consideration. It  does not provide preconceived ranges of furniture.

Maine and Harvard are in the frame

* Havard_Maine172.jpgTraditionally only associated with high-end bespoke kitchens, in-frame doors are now available off-the-peg thanks to two revamped ranges from uber furniture; Maine and Harvard. 

Classic in-frame kitchens are more expensive because of their high-tech construction, involving butt hinges, special drawer runners and the expense of making and attaching the frame itself. With Harvard and Maine however, retailers can offer the in-frame look without any of the associated costs or installation issues. The outer frame is connected to the door via a special 'French-cut' construction, resulting in the door and frame opening in tandem. This also means the internal cabinets are much easier for customers to keep clean.

Home Building industry asks for firm Government timetable on new housing system

Earlier this week the house-building industry welcomed the Housing Minister, Grant Shapps' commitment to cutting red tape, simplifying the planning system and increasing housing supply, but demanded more detail on the policies behind the promises.

The national housing crisis has seen fewer homes built in the last year than at any peacetime since 1923 while first-time buyers are at record lows. While the Government is insisting that it wants to encourage and meet aspiration, home-builders fear that the current hiatus in the planning system will continue without concrete details of the new Government's proposals.

Mereway Kitchens provides 'Best Display Support' at KBSA AGM

* Sotos with KBSA Award.jpgMereway Kitchens tells us it was delighted to be awarded the KBSA Award for 'Best Display Support' at last month's KBSA AGM.

The award, chosen by KBSA retailers and presented by Martin Thomas, came from the results of a survey sent out to all members earlier this year asking them to vote on a variety of topics covering products and service. 

Which? Best Buy award for Whirlpool's JT 366 microwave oven

* JT366silver Whirlpool microwave172.jpgWhirlpool has been awarded a Best Buy award for its JT366 JetChef microwave oven by leading consumer magazine Which? gaining the best score in the category of 78%.

The 6th Sense combi steam and grill microwave oven achieved one of the highest overall ratings of the 126 microwaves reviewed by the Which? panel of judges.

Market conditions prompt insurance cover changes

The insurance companies that provide the ConsumerCare  and ConsumerCare plus insurance products to the Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedroom Specialists Association has reviewed its offer in light of market conditions and a new policy has been issued to all members effective from 19th October.

"The insurance market is a very different place from when we first improved our insurance cover from deposit protection only to CCP in 2006," reports KBSA CEO Graham Ball.

New legislation will hit US KBB renovators

The US National Kitchen & Bath Association membership will feel the impact of recent industry legislation. As of October 1st, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency's Renovation, Repair & Painting Rule addressing the presence and removal of lead-based paint in target housing and child-occupied facilities reached its date of enforcement.

The EPA regulation requires the use of a Certified Renovator and the incorporation of lead safe work practices in most pre-1978 residences and child-occupied properties. 

Staffordshire ceramics firm set to unlock potential of South Korea

A Staffordshire ceramics company plans to explore new business opportunities in South Korea, thanks to UK Trade & Investment.

Johnson Tiles, of Stoke-on-Trent, has won an Overseas Market Introduction Service from UKTI after taking part in research to find out companies' future export plans and potential.

The KBzine Archive Search

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News in Brief

Renowned fashion designer Jeff Banks says he took inspiration for his latest collection for UK-based window blinds manufacturer Sunway Blinds, from his latest ladies fashion line. T: 0161 442 9500.

Renowned for its French inspired bedroom furniture, family-run UK manufacturer, Newtons, has given its gorgeous Louis Rattan and Louis Padded collections a makeover. T: 01494 793501

Aspace has launched its Autumn/Winter collection of children’s beds and accessories. T: 0845 872 2400

Congratulations to Whirlpool whose Glamour range of appliances won a gold award for Kitchen Innovation of the Year at the Design Awards (T: 0208 649 5000).

Congratulations too, to Karim Rashid who also received the gold award for his Touch of Light design for Gorenje. T: 0208 247 3980


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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