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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
1st July 2011


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

International News

KitchenAid launches new built-in coffee machine

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With around 730 Starbucks and 930 Costa coffee shops enticing us through their doors, Britain's cafe culture is growing all the time. So it is no great surprise that a new generation of coffee connoisseurs are now eager to transfer the magical atmosphere of their local coffee shops to their own homes.

Improve - don't move!

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With the UK set to spend £50 billion on home improvements over the next 12 months, MHS Radiators is helping homeowners improve and renew their bathrooms with its cost-effective and extensive range of towel rails and bathroom radiators.

EU closes in on contract law for consumers and SMEs

A common European contract law came one step closer to reality last week after MEPs backed proposals by the European Commission to establish an optional EU-wide system. But consumer groups warned that such a scheme would do little to boost cross-border trade and only add to the confusion faced by businesses and shoppers alike.

Atag's new gas hobs have digital timers

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Atag, the Dutch company famous for its technologically advanced built-in kitchen appliances exclusively available to the kitchen specialist, presents the latest additions to its superior product portfolio; two gas-on-glass hobs with digital timers...

Terence Ball kitchens launches six new ranges

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Building on the successful 2010 launch of TBK rigid built kitchens, six new ranges are now introduced.

FIRA-CMA expands testing capacity

Following unprecedented demand, FIRA's Hong Kong testing facility - FIRA-CMA Testing Services, has expanded its capacity for furniture testing.

Build-a-bed online with The Sleep Room

Brand new to The Sleep Room is its 'build-a-bed' service - designed to give you even more choice when buying your bed online. With just two easy steps it couldn't be easier to create your perfect bed.

Welcome to the

The industry has taken a bit of a knock over the past few weeks, hasn't it? While Sharps has achieved some continuity with its acquisition by a group with a previous interest in the company, the future is not looking so bright for Kitchens Direct, Moben and Dolphin and many customers have been told that they will lose the money they have already spent on goods purchased but not delivered.

Now consumers are concerned about their fridge freezers. When it's one brand that has been found to have produced some appliances that have a fault, we can cope, but when other brands exhibit a similar fault, consumers owning all the other manufacturers' products with the same 'benefit' - in this case a clever device that prevents the need for that laborious and hated manual defrost - are likely to be concerned too.

 I expect some probing questions to be asked by buyers and specifiers of appliances in the near future, as well as a good number of worried telephone calls from appliance owners to manufacturers whose products have not been at fault, but who will now become suspect anyway!

A safety warning issued by the London Fire Brigade on Tuesday, after it emerged that certain Beko fridge freezers had been linked to a number of fires in London since 2008, led to Beko receiving so many calls that its customer care line couldn't cope. As a result the company has thoughtfully increased its call centre capacity by 20 times and is keeping it open on Saturday and Sunday. 

The company points out that only a small number of fridge freezers have failed out of the thousands it has sold and stresses that all its products are independently tested before being placed on the market and that they meet all UK and European safety standards,. It has obtained a list of customers who have purchased appliances from the batches affected and is now contacting them to arrange a free modification. In the meantime, it is urging customers to check their model on-line to see if it is affected before calling the Customer Careline (0800 009 4837). 

Consumers have also been warned about the discontinued white Lec TF2304W, manufactured between January 2004 and October 2006, as it features the same faulty defrost timer as the affected Beko models. Lec's parent company GDHA is asking customers with this appliance to arrange for a repairer to carry out a free modification by ringing 0800 110 5728 between 08.00 and 18.00, Monday to Friday.

It's encouraging to see companies handle such problems in a responsible way and I hope that consumer confidence in the many great advances made by this industry over recent years, is quickly rebuilt.





Jan Hobbs


This Week's News

Moben, Kitchens Direct, Dolphin and Sharps owner to enter administration

Homeform, which owns the Moben, Kitchens Direct, Dolphin Bathrooms and the Sharps Bedrooms brands, has announced that it is to go into administration.

Earlier this week the company said that it was close to securing a deal that would "safeguard the future" of Sharps and Kitchens Direct, but we understand that the Kitchens Direct deal has now fallen through.

Volatile market heightens need to address consumer confidence

The news that high street names such as Moben, Dolphin, Sharps and Habitat have gone into administration is a stark reminder of the need to promote the confidence afforded by KBSA membership, says KBSA CEO Graham Ball.

"It is always unfortunate to hear of company failures that leave consumers out of pocket and facing turmoil as they try and recover what they have paid for," he says. "Sadly the slowdown in the recovery of the economy means it is likely that we will see more retailers fail.

A world first in Cloud technology for the KBB sector

Smart-Systems.jpgSmart Systems has been developing business solutions for the KBB Industry since 2001 and by end of the KBB 2011 Exhibition had notched up just shy of its 2,000th KBB  retailer either using the Smart System or the revolutionary KBBConnect. Add to that the fact that the majority of KBB manufacturers and distributors' price lists are supported in one or both of its brands, it becomes apparent that this company can justifiably vie for the accolade of being a market leader in the field of business solutions for this sector.

But it is not just about numbers... Successful software development companies need always to keep their eye on developing technology; if that technology can be harnessed to the greater benefit of the customer, it needs to be embraced wholeheartedly.

Quintessentially Abode - a KBB winner!

* Abode-Q-Bayenne.jpgThe new classic Abode ranges launched at KBB London last month have proved yet another winner for the design company with all its targeted distributors agreeing to stock the ranges from October... Proof again that the Abode designers can create products that will sit neatly within any design genre, blending curvaceous shapes and designs to sit perfectly within contemporary and classically styled kitchens.

The new portfolio of brassware is inspired by, but not living in, the past. The inspiration for Quintessentially comes from the classic era of British design and manufacture - refined and distinct.

An eco first for Glen Dimplex Home Appliances

* GDHA-BlackWhiteGlossRoomset.jpgUK kitchen appliance manufacturer, Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, has proudly announced that it has become the first company to be approved and recommended by the Energy Saving Trust Recommended scheme across all three of its freestanding, built-in and range cooking categories.

Leading the way in the production of energy saving appliances, almost one hundred products across all three of GDHA's cooking brands, Stoves, Belling and New World, have undergone hours of testing against strict Energy Saving Trust Recommended criteria, set by an independent panel. They have been judged to be amongst some of the most energy efficient on the market, with reduced carbon emissions and reduced running costs for consumers.

Wentworth Kitchens Banbury - a breath of fresh air

* Mereway-lan-Vickers_Clive-Sephton.jpgWentworth Kitchens in Banbury opened its doors this month - a breath of fresh air for the area as the showroom has been taken on by new owner Clive Sephton and now hosts brand new displays.

Working closely in partnership with kitchen furniture manufacturer Mereway Kitchens, the two companies have created a stunning showroom to wow the locals, and celebrated with an open day event allowing customers to come along and take a tour of the studio.

Polypipe launches Silavent low energy fans

Polypipe Ventilation, has launched the first new addition to the Silavent range following its acquisition of the brand last year: a new range of low Watt centrifugal bathroom extract fans.

The new, competitively priced Silavent low Watt fansare said to use an incredible 70% lesspower than conventional fans, dramatically reducing operating costs and helping
to reduce overall building energy consumption, an issue which remains high on the political agenda. In fact, changes to Part L of the Building Regulations require the Specific Fan Power (SFP) to be no higher than 0.5 Watts per litre per second (W/l/s); Polypipe's range of low Watt fans outperform this minimum standard.

HiB brings cabinets alive with LED

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Austin, Colorado and Minnesota, each very individual designs, are LED back-lit cabinets with the illumination within the cabinet door. While Austin (single door) and Colorado (double door) are designed to go against a flat wall, Minnesota is for hanging in a corner.

With all three cabinets the lights stay on when the door is open and the high gloss white interior contains adjustable glass shelves. The doors are fitted with soft close hinges and, being LED, operation of the cabinets is low energy and eco-efficient.

CP Group expands its Specification Division with appointment of Allan Dixon

Tile manufacturer and distributor, CP Group, has expanded its Specification Division with the appointment of Allan Dixon as National Specification Manager.

Allan joins CP Group after 30 years in the building products sector, most recently with Porcelanosa as Commercial Account Manager. He will lead a new and growing specification team at CP Group, and will be responsible for driving forward CP's presence in the specification sector on a national scale.

'Complete the look' - with the Kutchenhaus furniture range

* K_Furniture_Comp.jpgThe king of the German kitchen world Kutchenhaus, has announced that it will now design and manufacture any type of high quality furniture to further enhance its vast kitchen portfolio. Sparked by the trend for open-plan living, Kutchenhaus will now manufacture items like work spaces, media centres, dining room tables, drinks bars and dressers to accompany all its kitchen ranges, to ensure that the company can 'complete the look' for its customers.

Open-plan living is now one of the most sought-after concepts for UK homes, so Kutchenhaus wants to ensure that it offers customers a complete design solution and not just a kitchen. When a number of rooms suddenly become one, the furniture is just as important as the kitchen in creating a finished room which exudes style.

'Don't forget to remember' you're our new ambassador, SBID tells Robin Gibb, CBE

* SBID-Robin-Gibb.jpgThe Society of British Interior Design has announced that Robin Gibb, CBE, has accepted its invitation to become an ambassador.

Of course, Robin needs no introduction as one of the most successful songwriters of all time. Immediately the endless list of hits enjoyed by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb come to mind. When the list of legendary acts who have enjoyed success with their compositions is added - such as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton, Diana Ross and Celine Dion, along with those who have covered Bee Gees songs to chart topping success such as Take That, Destiny's Child and Boyzone, it becomes clear that the unique achievement is unlikely to be ever matched. No other writers in British or US chart history have achieved No1 hits in five consecutive

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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

Property & Construction Sector to be hit with £50m increase in finance cost

The property and construction sector will be hit with an increase of £50m in finance costs, equivalent to 1.5% of total profits, due to the revised IAS19 which will take effect for accounting periods beginning on or after 1st January 2013, according to a survey of property and construction companies in the FTSE350, conducted by Barnett Waddingham, the independent firm of actuaries and consultants.

Ellis Furniture supports Cancer Research UK

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As part of its ongoing commitment to support the charity Cancer Research UK, British manufacturer Ellis Furniture is donating £30,000 during the next three years to continue its funding of work carried out by Cancer Research UK Leeds Centre, taking the total amount pledged over the years by generations of the Ellis family to more than £100,000.

Appliance recycling firm fined after worker injured

A worker was injured by a falling stack of cookers and washing machines at one of the UK's largest electrical equipment recycle firms, which has been fined as a result.

Appliance recycling firm fined after worker injured

A worker was injured by a falling stack of cookers and washing machines at one of the UK's largest electrical equipment recycle firms.


Methven gives Deva brand a makeover and launches 50 new products

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Methven UK has given the popular Deva brand a makeover to coincide with the launch of 50 new Deva products and the publication of a new trade catalogue and a new retail brochure. Featuring a modern, fluid logo and fresh, vibrant corporate colours, the new-look branding is already a hit with Deva customers.


Imperial unveils new design guide for the discerning

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British manufacturer, Imperial Bathrooms, has unveiled a new Design Guide that provides an inspirational insight into its comprehensive range of luxurious bathroom products for the discerning.

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