Round-up | NEWS

Which? takes KBB retailers to task over ‘misleading’ discounts to ‘lure’ buyers

SOME UK kitchen and bathroom retailers are using potentially misleading discount claims to lure homeowners into rushing into a purchase of a new bathroom or kitchen, according to a Which? investigation. Using data from market intelligence agency Insight Retail Group, Which? analysed offers from March 2018 to March 2019 from B&Q, Homebase and Wickes, kitchens from Ikea, John Lewis, Magnet and Wren Kitchens, and bathrooms from Bathstore and Victoria Plum. For Better Bathrooms – which recently fell into administration and was bought by Buy It Direct – Soak and Victorian Plumbing, promotions were tracked from May 2018. Wren, Victoria Plum, Victorian Plumbing and Bathstore disputed the Which? fi ndings, Wickes declined

to respond and the other companies

named in the Which? report had not yet responded to the accusations at the time of publishing. Which? said four brands featured in the investigation ran ‘offers’ on at least 361 days out of 365. These, it said, might have persuaded some

shoppers to rush a purchase because they believed the sale price was available for a limited time. Which? said it is alerting Trading Standards to

its fi ndings and is asking for these practices to be investigated and has made a separate complaint about one of the retailers to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Refuting the allegations, Wren Kitchens told Which? that it maintained its perpetual multi-buy offer to ensure economies of scale in production and “not to entice or mislead consumers”. It told Which? that it had prepared its 2018 and 2019 promotions in conjunction with the ASA and “all relevant guidance”. Better Bathrooms, Victoria Plum and Victorian Plumbing were accused of using so-called countdown clocks to promote various time-limited promotions during January and February 2019. Which? also claimed that most of the companies investigated had at least one promotion on a lot – or even all – of the time. Victorian Plumbing said: “The Committee of Advertising Practice has reviewed the countdown

clocks on our site and they felt that customers could tell that they referred to a secondary promotion, such as free delivery or a discount code. “We’re confi dent our customers can easily discern sales information on our site at present, but we will continue to assess the clearest way to present this.” Victoria Plum told Which?: “Varied promotional and website experiences recognise that different customers have different needs. This is why we work closely with the Advertising Standards Authority to ensure all our promotions meet their guidelines.” In Bathstore’s response to Which?, it said: “Our

current offers focus on lower headline discounts and added value offers. Plus, our Trading Standards local authority has approved all our promotional campaign activity over the past six months.” Insight Retail MD Steve Collinge said: “A number

of retailers continue to use ‘smoke and mirrors’, pretending to run aggressive promotions, including ‘50% off kitchen units’, combined with a short- term end date, putting unnecessary pressure on consumers. This type of activity is unfair and often leads consumers to spend more than they have to.”

Fiesta offers small businesses alternative to ‘ineffective’ apprenticeship funding process

THE FURNITURE and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (Fiesta) has set up a new route for small employers in the furniture and KBB industries to access government funds to train apprentices. Furniture and Interiors Skills Plus is a new service that aims to offer employers access to a wide variety of funded training programmes for apprentices and staff. Fiesta said that through Skills Plus

micro and medium-sized, non-levy- paying employers will be able to access a much wider selection of funded skills training than is currently available to them.

This is because, Fiesta claimed,

of the current ineffective structure of the procurement process, resulting in more than £300 million earmarked for apprenticeships for the year to April 2018 returning to the Treasury coffers. This is despite many small non-levy

paying employers – with payrolls of less than £3m – being turned away because of insuffi cient funds. Fiesta said 90% of employers within the

furniture and interiors

sector are non-levy payers and “it is very disappointing that excellent and often specialist training providers of essential skills are having their funding allocations cut”.

Mark Dawe, chief executive at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers said: “It’s desperately disappointing to hear the Department for Education admit that such a signifi cant sum went back to the Treasury when we know that all of it could have been spent on funding apprenticeships of SME employers.”

NEW HEIGHTS: Blanco UK has sponsored the director of Northern Ireland kitchen component distributor, Lyons NI Ltd, on a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro. Joe Lyons took up the challenge to raise money for the Irish Rugby Union charitable trust. He raised around £75,000 for the charity, which supports seriously injured rugby players.


Introducing the HEX Collection. Designed to challenge traditional concepts and make the ultimate statement, the Hex range features distinctive industrial elements to coordinate effortlessly with the kitchen of today. View the full collection at

June 2019 · kbbreview


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