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NEWS | Round-up


Premier Kitchens and Bedrooms in liquidation


PREMIER KITCHENS and Bedrooms – the Peterborough- based KBB retailer – has gone into volun tary liquidation and has closed all four of its showrooms. In addition to its studio in Peter- borough, the company – which was founded by managing director Iain Forsythe (pictured) in 1992 – also had showrooms in Bedford, Northampton and Wellingborough. A statement on the Premier Kitchens and Bedrooms website said: “We are very disappointed to announce the closure of our showrooms and the voluntary liquidation of our company.”


Whirlpool to recall half-a- million washing machines


WHIRLPOOL HAS issued a safety warning on Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines and is preparing for a full recall of up to 519,000 units in January. The machines concerned were manufactured between October 2014 and February 2018 and details of affected models can be found on Whirlpool’s website. Whirlpool has identifi ed a safety issue with the door lock system on certain machines. When the heating element is activated, it says the heating element can, in ‘very rare cases’, overheat and pose a risk of fi re. The company says that no serious injuries have so far been reported. Whirlpool is advising owners wishing to avoid all risk to unplug their machines and contact its call centre on 0800 316 1442, which is open seven days a week, to check if theirs is an affected model. It added that if users do wish to continue to use their machines, they should use the 20°C cold wash program, so that the heating element is not activated, which Whirlpool says “signifi cantly reduces the risk”. Under the recall, the company is offering a free like-for-like replacement or a free repair.


The company has notifi ed the Offi ce for Product Safety (OPSS) and it has details of the recall on its website. It has also used social media to alert users, as well as writing directly to registered owners.


Jeff Noel, vice-president of Whirlpool Corporation, said in a statement: “We sincerely apologise for the incon- venience and concern this may cause to our customers, particularly over the Christmas period, but we hope people will understand that we are taking


4


action because people’s safety is our top priority. “Preparing for a recall of this scale is a complex operation and we are working tirelessly to ensure we are ready to start offering replacements or repairs from early January.” In an interview with the BBC, Noel said: “While the risk is low, we are making sure consumers understand this is a serious situation and we are encouraging them to make contact.” Noel also pointed out: “This is an


issue we inherited from buying Indesit Company, but as the new owner, it is our


responsibility to keep our


customers safe. We are recalling these products because it is the right thing to do for people’s safety and we will do whatever it takes to put the situation right for our customers. “By taking actions like this, we are bringing the company we acquired in line with Whirlpool’s industry-leading global safety and quality standards.” This, of course, is not the only issue the company “inherited”, and the recall of 800,000 faulty Creda, Hotpoint, Indesit,


Proline and Swan tumble- dryers in July this year is still ongoing.


Sales through bathroom showrooms predicted to boom from 2020 onwards


BRICKS-AND-CLICKS strategies are offering new opportunities for the bathroom market, with sales expected to rise by 14% in the next four years.


This is the prediction from the Bathroom Retailers Market Trends for 2020 report


from MTW Research,


which analysed more than £600 million worth of bathroom suppliers’ product data to compile its research. The research found that offering convenience and choice online, coupled with personalised showroom- led services, such as coordination of bathroom


design, supply and


installation, is set to boost bathroom retailers’ sales by £150 million from 2020 onwards.


MTW Research found that while the ‘Brexit effect’ has cost bathroom retailers £130m in lost sales, the bathroom market has strong underlying fundamentals for growth in 2020. Mark Waddy, MTW Research’s


director, said: “Housing stock has risen by one million in the past fi ve years and with 241,000 new homes built in 2019, this has generated demand for bathroom products.” Among the key trends, MTW has


highlighted that consumers are less willing to specify particularly bold colours because of lower levels


of


consumer confi dence at present. Waddy said: “This is set to grow the trend of ‘discreet personalisation’ in 2020, with consumers adding personal touches while not straying too far from mainstream design aesthetics, with pastel shades particularly on-trend at present. “Discrete personalisation is set to be


a key trend for 2020, complemented by


the popularity of matt black,


brushed brass and chrome fi nishes as well as timeless, pastel-shaded sanitaryware and furniture.” Sales of baths and sanitaryware through retailers are set to grow by 17% from 2020 to 2023 according to MTW, with the report identifying more than 40 key trends in this sector alone underpinning growth opportunities. The research found that just 21% of retailers active in the independent bathroom market reported growth above 10% during 2019, compared with 31% in 2018. In total, 39% of bathroom retailers reported growth in 2019 according to MTW, refl ecting this complex trading environment.


kbbreview · January 2020


The company also stated: “A skeleton staff will deal with individual requirements of our customers, we would ask that you be patient while we work on this very diffi cult situation for our customers and staff.” Premier


Kitchens and Bedrooms


predominantly sold kitchens but also had a bedroom and bathroom offering. During an interview with kbbreview in 2016, Forsythe said that it installed around 700 to 800 kitchens per year. In the same interview in 2016, Forsythe revealed that the company’s net annual turnover was between £9 million and £10m.


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