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NEWS | Round-up VIEWPOINT Reasons to expect


a bright 2021 BMA CEO Tom Reynolds explains why, even with the impact of Covid-19 and a challenging Brexit, 2021 looks like being a positive year for the KBB industry


Baumann Group fixes exchange rate for UK retailers and confirms its green credentials


IT IS not in much doubt that 2020 will go down as one of the weirdest years on record for the KBB sector. Sales were decimated in March, April and May during the first national lockdown, before picking up to a pace for the rest of the year. Across all twelve months the numbers may not look great, but this betrays an astonishing recovery.


If the


The numbers betray an astonishing recovery


industry can capitalise on the momentum, I believe we can look forward to a bright 2021. This is not blind optimism. There are good reasons to believe that consumer confidence levels are on the up. News of a vaccine rollout will boost public morale, but there is also the simple fact that the second national lockdown didn’t significantly dampen sentiment in the marketplace. There was unhelpful guidance on the status of KBB showrooms two weeks into the lockdown which forced doors to close, but I don’t believe this will be repeated if further restrictions are required because Government felt the ire of the entire construction industry over the confusion. There are downside risks, such as a disorderly UK exit from the single market and customs union. As I write this, incredibly, the negotiating teams are yet to reach a deal - they may never. New tariffs and the inevitable currency volatility won’t help us. Regardless of the negotiating


outcome, new border mechanisms are being phased in over the year which could cause varying disruption. Chaotic transition equals lower confidence levels. There are also global challenges that are already making it hard for supply to keep up with demand. Congestion in ports is leading to diversions, in turn creating ‘spikey’ lead in times. A surge in demand worldwide, unfortunately has led to profiteering in other countries most notably a quadrupling of shipping costs. My appeal to marketplace partners is for patience and understanding. Difficulties in supply are as frustrating to suppliers as they are for you. We need to take the positives from our current challenge: strong, perhaps unprecedented, demand for home improvement. I don’t see that this will just melt away this year.


The awakening that the UK cannot meet its


environmental ambitions without a major retrofit of most of our 27 million domestic properties is also good for the KBB sector. The Green Homes Grant was only the first, in what needs to be a concerted programme of initiatives to encourage whole home refurbishments in the next 30 years. Where retrofits take place, there is a role for the KBB industry. Our products can improve the overall efficiency of buildings. More than that, they are the consumer-valued uplifts that are the sweetener to more comprehensive improvement works. 2021 can be the year KBB embraces being integral to a green revolution.


6


GERMAN KITCHEN and bathroom furniture manufacturer the Baumann Group has announced that it is fixing its exchange rate to help UK retailers.


The group, which includes the Bauformat, Burger and Badea brands, said that the move means UK retailers can quote on bathrooms and kitchens, secure in the knowledge that the exchange rate they buy at will not


fluctuate, no matter what happens in the market this year.


Bob Marsden, Baumann’s country manager for the UK and Ireland, said: “All of our dealers pay in sterling and we have now set the rate for the whole calendar year, thereby protecting our retailers from any market fluctuations.” Meanwhile, Bauformat and Burger have been certified as a climate-neutral furniture manufacturer by German furniture quality association, the DGM. Both brands are taking part in the DGM’s Climate Pact for the Furniture Industry, which supports the climate goals of the German government and United Nations. In joining the pact, Bauformat and Burger are


supporting a number of projects in Africa and South America, which include reforestation in Uruguay and hydropower in Uganda and various


local


mountain forest projects in order to retain biodiversity and stabilise the ecosystem.


Baumann Group managing director Matthias Berens (pictured) commented: “Acting in an eco-conscious manner first of all means actually getting


conscious about the status quo and your own share in it. After all, the saying that ‘recognition is the first step toward improvement’ has its reason. Thanks to the climate protection consultation we underwent in the certification process, we now know how much carbon dioxide we produce and how we can minimise the emission of greenhouse gases at Bauformat and Burger.


“And we get the opportunity to make a compensating contribution with regards to the global carbon footprint and to do good in a sustainable way. This, in turn, is in keeping with our self-understanding as a future-oriented company that assumes social responsibility.”


Masterclass invests in production to support growth


MASTERCLASS KITCHENS has invested £150,000 in a new panel packaging line at its manufacturing facility in Llantrisant, South Wales. This investment is a key part of the company’s strategy to grow the business and strengthen its ongoing commitment to providing a quality service to its retail partners and their customers. In a statement Masterclass said, “the timing of the investment was crucial to ensure the correct processes and procedures are in place in order to cope with increased demand that we are


already experiencing and expect to continue throughout 2021”.


The semi-automated packaging line has been introduced to help improve the overall efficiency of the packaging process. It allows for inspection; offers enhanced packaging options for safer delivery and simplifies the packaging of bespoke panels. Managing director, Gerald Jones, added: “The facility is designed to allow for inspection, weighing and packing of all panels we produce that accompany our kitchen cabinets. “This is another step forward in ensuring we carry out essential quality checks and the products are correctly protected and delivered to the customer. We believe this investment will only further improve the quality people have come to expect from Masterclass and allow us to keep up with increasing demand.”


· January 2021


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