Category Archives: Lakes People

Lakes Extends Popular Wave Range with Hinge & In-Line Addition

Leading manufacturer of shower enclosures, Lakes Showering Spaces, has kick started 2024’s product development with the extension of its popular Wave range to include a Hinge & In-Line option.

Ideal for wider enclosed spaces, the Hinge & In-Line model builds on the success of the core range of Wave products including sliding doors, quads, bi-fold door and walk in panel.

The product includes genuine 8mm thick glass throughout and comes in a broad range of sizes from 1m up to 1.7m wide.

For installers, the usual attention to detail has been applied in order to make this as friendly to use as possible and in line with Lakes’ commitment to quality, the Wave Hinge & In-Line enclosure complies to relevant British and European standards.

It will also be available in a range of colours including silver, black and brushed brass, the latter of which was launched last November.

Mike Gahir, Managing Director at Lakes, said: “The Wave range has been a huge success for us since coming to market in the summer of 2022.

“From a practical perspective, its strong frames and quality build mean there is no compromise in the performance of the showering space, while its engineering is focused on retaining a simplicity and ease of handling for installers when carrying and manoeuvring it into position in confined spaces.

“Visually, this latest addition adds a nice stylistic compliment to the range, creating that feeling of premium elegance.

“We’re delighted to be able to continue to broaden Wave and support our customers in being able to offer solutions to a wider variety of consumer requirements and needs.”

All Lakes products are backed by a no-quibble guarantee and come with AllClear glass protection coating, which forms an invisible, microscopically smooth shield to assist with cleaning and repel water, limescale and soap.

Read more on Installer online:

Lakes Managing Director speaks to KBB Focus

Mike Gahir, Lakes Managing Director, spoke with KBB Focus journalist Nicola Hanley at the start of 2024 to discuss our products, people and plans for the future.

The article touched on everything from sustainability credentials to staff satisfaction and our recent Management Buy-Out.

Read the full piece:

Lakes secures multimillion-pound funding for growth plans

Bathroom products manufacturer Lakes Showering Spaces has received funding of £3.75 million from Praetura Commercial Finance, which it plans to use to grow its business.

Lakes was able to secure the funding to help meet rising customer demand, and also combat the fast-changing trends in the bathroom products sector. According to Lakes, the funding will help it launch a new collection of walk-in showers, as well as exploring markets outside the UK.

Praetura is a commercial finance company that funds SMEs, with the majority of companies it supports based in the north of England.

According to Lakes managing director Mike Gahir, the funding from Praetura will help the company to continue the legacy of its founder, Robin Craddock, who started the company in 1986.

(Left to right: Darren Bedford, Chris Thain, Bev Brown, Mike Gahir)

Gahir commented: “The key for us was preserving the legacy established by Robin, who sadly died seven years ago. Having an understanding and supportive funding partner in Praetura Commercial Finance will enable us to invest in the business he was so proud of.

“Lakes Showering Spaces is a family business built on family principles. We have over 130 staff across the UK and our wholly-owned subsidiary in China, and everyone is committed to growing and taking on new opportunities.”

Commercial director of Praetura Commercial Finance Stuart Bates added: “We instantly understood the vision laid out by the Lakes Showering Spaces team and their desire to continue building the brand Robin founded. Lakes is renowned for quality and innovation, so this funding facility is very much intended to keep the brand at the forefront of the bathroom sector, with new product launches and styles.”

The news follows the recent management buyout of Lakes by its board of directors, which took place in November.

The board – comprising managing director Mike Gahir, finance director Bev Brown, sales director Darren Bedford and operations director Chris Thain – acquired the entire share capital of the business from former majority shareholder, the Craddock Family Trust.

Lakes Appoint New Regional Sales Manager for South West

Lakes has strengthened its regional support for customers in the South-West area with the appointment of Luke Clifton as new Regional Sales Manager.

Bringing more than seven years of industry experience to the role, Luke will be responsible for account management across the South-West region while working with the team at Lakes to inform the company’s strategic sales planning.

Luke said: “Throughout my career I’ve been lucky enough to learn under excellent tutelage how to deliver excellent account management and I’m really excited to be bringing my experience to Lakes’ customers in the South-West.

“I’ve already began meeting customers who have informed me of the first class customer service they’ve received from Lakes over the years. It’s my job to make sure these levels remain at the highest standard possible.

“The history of Lakes as a company and the family orientated element of the business was a big appeal to me, it’s the type of environment I am used to working in and feel most at home in.

“Lakes’ upcoming products, long terms sales and growth strategy, coupled with our really talented team, means that we’re looking at a really exciting future for 2023 and beyond.”

Lakes is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of shower enclosures, walk-ins and bath screens and has recently bolstered its Board of Directors, reinforcing the company’s commitment to driving the business forward to achieve consistent and sustainable growth.

Lakes Appoint Marten Baker as Head of Product Development

Leading manufacturer of innovative showering spaces, Lakes, have welcomed Marten Baker on board as their new Head of Product Development.

In an appointment described as ‘a huge positive step’ by Lakes management, Marten will work alongside the Tewkesbury based businesses Project Engineering team and Leadership Team to look at developing its product range across the short, medium and long term.

Marten brings almost four decades of market experience and product knowledge to the table.

Lakes Managing Director, Mike Gahir, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Marten on board.

“His appointment is a huge positive step for us – the future of the market is very exciting, and Marten’s experience and skills mean is the perfect person to guide our product direction going forward.

“This is not only great news for our team, who are all excited to work alongside Marten, but for our customers too, who will benefit from his vision and expertise reflected in our product range moving forward.”

Speaking on his appointment, Marten said: “It’s been an incredible time for me settling in at Lakes, the people here are so wonderful, helpful, and knowledgeable.

“The role and company culture tick all the boxes for me at this stage of my career.

“Lakes has a fantastic reputation and has done for some time now. I am confident of helping build on that and look forward to working alongside the whole team to do just that.”

Lakes’ comments in BMBI Q2 2021

Mick Evans, Operations Director Lakes Showering Spaces and BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering comments in the BMBI Q2 2021 report:

“Half-way through 2021, there are many reasons to be optimistic for internal trades.

Consumer research points to the home improvement trend gathering pace for internal trades. A report on Insight DIY suggests that two thirds of UK homeowners are planning home makeovers in the next year, with a new bathroom the top choice for 32%. People want more and better spaces in their homes and this is driving the RMI trend.

The Bank of England says households have accumulated £260bn in their savings accounts since the start of the pandemic. According to the research commissioned for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles two thirds of homeowners are planning to spend up to £135bn of this next year on improving their home. Savings and intentions to spend are distributed unequally though as the pandemic has increased the divide between the Haves who are driving a growing market for premium products and high quality improvements, and the Have Nots, homeowners whose outgoings leave little room for such spending.

However, meeting strong demand for bathroom installations still comes with its challenges. According to the BIKBBI, almost half of installers (47%) have had to cancel jobs due to being pinged by the NHS Covid app. The August changes to self-isolation rules should put an end to the ‘ping-demic’ and those unexpected losses, as order books for the remainder of the year are looking healthy.

Shipping problems are still prevalent. A world economy synchronised by Covid is expanding, driving demand – and shortages – for home improvement and construction products worldwide. Components coming from China or the Far East are affected by port congestion at both ends of the journey, and by container shortages and increased freight prices. Delays and extra costs are likely to cast a shadow over the industry’s recovery well into the Autumn.

With the relaxation of stamp duty, more people are likely to choose to improve not move in the second half of the year. These customers will be researching online before they buy, so it’s important to have a strong digital presence, and a personable showroom experience to ensure homeowners get the products they want.”

BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table videos, visit


The Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI)

The BMBI is a brand of the BMF. The BMBI report, which is produced and managed by MRA Research, uses GfK’s Builders Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data which analyses sales out data from over 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales across Great Britain. The full report is on


Lakes appoints new National Sales Manager

Lakes, the leading manufacturer of innovative showering spaces, welcomes a new National Sales Manager to support and grow sales across the business. Based at Lakes head office in Tewkesbury, Darren Bedford joins the existing team of Area Sales Managers and will focus on supporting them in growing relationships with merchant customers and helping them build sales of showering spaces.

With almost 20 years of experience in the industry, Darren will be a valuable asset to the team and has a positive outlook on the coming months. He says: “I’m excited to be joining the Lakes team at such a pivotal time in the industry. There are fantastic opportunities for us to grow sales even further through our merchants network and by helping them to embrace the additional scope in a post-lockdown world through Lakes Online Showrooms, together we can achieve great things.”

Lakes’ Managing Director Bev Brown adds: “Our sales team is key in nurturing our strong merchants network and Darren will be a great addition to Lakes’ team. We have worked hard to develop a reputation for experienced and knowledgeable staff as well as first-class customer service, and Darren brings a wealth of  experience to further enhance our offering. With his drive and track record, and a really exciting pipeline of new products for this year, I can’t wait to see the results from Darren and the rest of the sales team.”

Lakes’ comments in BMBI Q1 2021

Mick Evans, Operations Director Lakes Showering Spaces and BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering comments in the BMBI Q1 2021 report:

“In a market used to thinking of 2-3% up or down as significant, it’s been an extraordinary 18 months. Total sales for March were 47% above March 2020 but sales were also 23% ahead of March 2019! Kitchen & Bathroom sales are currently 18.7% ahead of March 2020 but -1.0% below March 2019, as lockdown restrictions hit internal trades harder than external.

“However with restrictions being relaxed, homeowners are feeling more confident about letting tradespeople back into their homes. With pent-up demand and, according to the BoE, an accumulated £200bn in consumer savings, RMI activity is already fizzing.

“A year at home, in homes that weren’t designed for staying in or working from home, has persuaded many to invest more in their homes, so they’re ‘designed for life’. The housing market is frenetic, and home improvements show no signs of slowing. Better bathrooms and new bathrooms have become a higher priority.

“There is also growing demand for more attractive multigenerational products. For example, non-slip stone shower trays, stylishly secure seating, and grab rails which make showering safer for the older and less secure-footed.

“As the host of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, there is real emphasis for the UK to lead from the front and inspire action ahead of November. There are many aspects to sustainability and saving CO2 in practice, and Lakes is proud to have been the first in our sector to be awarded Carbon Neutral Plus certification for our UK operations, for continued commitment to reducing our impact on the environment. We invested significantly in packaging design, and closing the loop for recycling, and reducing carbon miles. Equally, sustainability can apply to delivering high quality products which are designed to last longer, making for happier customers and less waste of materials and resources.

“Looking ahead, polls show working from home is unlikely to see a big reversal, and RMI is forecast to grow strongly in the medium to long term. Omnichannel sales are growing strongly, and we expect this to continue. But homeowners often need help, and only know what they want when they’re shown it and have it explained by an expert. Are stockists and retailers ready?”

BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table videos, visit


The Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI)

The BMBI is a brand of the BMF. The BMBI report, which is produced and managed by MRA Research, uses GfK’s Builders Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data which analyses sales out data from over 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales across Great Britain. The full report is on


Kitchens & Bathrooms sales surge in Q3

Sales to builders by Britain’s builders’ merchants surged in September, with sales up 8.3% compared with September 2019, according to the latest Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) report. Landscaping was the strongest category over the period (+31.2%), albeit with one extra trading day.


Total value sales in Q3 2020 (July-September) were significantly up on the previous quarter (+63.2%) when many merchants were closed. All product categories reported growth with Kitchens & Bathrooms seeing the strongest quarter-on-quarter recovery (+131%), closely followed by Tools (+130%).


Total Builders Merchants value sales in Q3 2020 increased by 1% compared to Q3 2019. Landscaping sales were up 24.2% – the highest level since the index was set up in 2015. While Kitchens & Bathrooms sales recovered strongly quarter-on-quarter, compared to the same three months of 2019, sales were down -7.1%.


Sales across all product categories were up in September compared to August, with Total Builders Merchants up 13.7%. Kitchens & Bathrooms sales were up 10.4% over the same period.


August’s BMBI index was 124.6. Landscaping (175.5) was strongest, followed by Timber & Joinery Products (133.4). For Kitchens & Bathrooms it was 111.6.


Lakes Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam and BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering comments: “Q3 sales of bathroom products were boosted as homeowners, who saw money accumulate in their bank accounts faster in lockdown than they could spend it, chose to improve their bathrooms. We expect another boost to bathroom products sales in Lockdown 2.0.

“The market is up on the same period last year. Plumbers and installers are busy, with full order books into Q1 2021. That’s despite the inconsistent messaging coming out of national and regional governments and assemblies. The UK government though has been clear: construction is essential, and installers can continue to work safely in the home.

“On the supply side, there’s port congestion in China, with high volumes being shipped to the recovering world economy. Worse, companies are importing extra ahead of the Chinese New Year, when virtually the whole of February is lost from the extended break. And they’re importing extra to beat increased tariffs from a hard Brexit. There’s a shortage of large containers, so importers are having to accept smaller containers, which adds to the problem in the UK. Felixstowe and Southampton are clogged with empty containers. So, ships are getting bounced to other ports. Haulage companies and drivers are unable to provide delivery slots, and companies are waiting over two weeks for deliveries from Felixstowe in particular.

“Each link in the supply chain is only as strong as the one next to it: if one link breaks the whole chain fails. With Brexit looming, successful supply chains will be those who work closest together, sharing information about stocks and expected sales. Supply ‘chains’ that try to maximise the interests of individual links will fail first and suffer most.

“One important effect of post-Brexit change is the new trademark that comes into effect from January 2021 – UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed). By the 31st December 2021, all products sold in our sector will require this mark, rather than the previous European CE mark. After 1st January 2022 products showing only CE marks entering the general marketplace will not conform to standard. The new UKCA is currently not recognized in Europe as a legal standard. Products that are sold in both the EU (including Eire) and UK can be dual marked.”

BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table videos, visit

Lakes strengthens board with new Director

Lakes, a carbon neutral company and leading manufacturer of showering spaces, has appointed Mike Gahir as a Director. Mike joined the family-owned business in October to help accelerate Lakes’ long-term strategy.

Mike’s experience includes Finance Director for a steel processing business, and most recently a Director in the Corporate Finance function of a global accountancy firm. With real strengths in driving strategy, finance, organisational change, and a focus on culture and values, Mike will be concentrating on key projects to help Lakes take advantage of growth opportunities in the post-COVID environment.

An MBA graduate from Warwick Business School, Mike also gives his time to help others through various University based mentoring schemes, supporting young people on the start of their career journeys. In addition, he is Chair of the Board of Trustees for a £15m turnover Walsall-based charity. His work here contributed to Mike being selected as a finalist of the 2020 Institute of Directors Awards for West Midlands Director of the Year in the Non-Executive Director category.

Lakes Managing Director Bev Brown comments: “I’m delighted to welcome Mike to our board. We’ve achieved so much since re-launching our brand two years ago, including introducing new products and developing new selling opportunities for our customers. Whereas many businesses may have stayed away from making investment decisions in recent months given the effects of COVID-19, Mike’s appointment underlines Lakes’ commitment to the market. This next phase of our growth is hugely exciting, and we hope to be in a position to outline the positive results of our plans in the near future.”

Thinking outside the box to create a more sustainable future

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity, and we all have a part to play in making our tomorrow a little greener, says our Sales & Marketing Director and BMBI Expert Mike Tattam.

You don’t have to visit Antarctica to witness the devastating consequences of climate change – it’s all around us. Extremes of weather, rising sea levels, carbon emissions at their highest since records began and wildlife driven to extinction, all as a result of human activity.

While the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreements have prompted most countries to create and implement policies to reduce their environmental impact, it has yet to have the desired effect and we are fast approaching the point of no return. The global temperature is rising and if it goes beyond two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the impact is likely to be severe, widespread and irreversible.

In our industry, climate change has been a hot topic for some time particularly with regards to energy efficiency in buildings and low carbon products. The shift to green has encouraged merchants and their suppliers to consider the sustainability of their operations and this will become more widespread if the Government’s proposed Environmental Bill is passed later this year.

Originally tabled in 2019, the first Environmental Bill was shelved due to the election but it’s back for 2020 and, if passed into legislation, it will impact us all.

The draft bill requires the Government to set at least one target in four key areas: air quality, biodiversity, water, and resource efficiency and waste reduction. There will also be a target for the reduction of fine particulate matter (tiny particles which are inhaled). While the exact targets will not be confirmed until after the Bill is passed, it is likely that the resource efficiency and waste production requirements will be particularly pertinent to builders’ merchants and their suppliers.

Polluter pays
The Environmental Bill’s Resources & Waste strategy includes initiatives such as a tax on plastic packaging which uses less than 30% recycled plastic and minimum requirements to encourage resource-efficient design. The big one, however, will be the invoking of the ‘polluter pays’ principle.

While in office, Theresa May’s Government signed up to the EU’s ‘circular economy’ directive. The idea of a circular economy is that we move away from a linear approach (make, use, dispose) and use resources more sustainably through re-use and recycling. The European directive required producers to pay 80% of the costs to dispose of their goods’ packaging. In the Resources & Waste strategy, the ‘polluter pays’ principle would see manufacturers taking responsibility for the full costs of disposing of the packaging they place in the market.

This tough stance on packaging is understandable. How many times have you opened a delivery and wondered why such a small item is wrapped up in so much packaging, or stopped to consider why your fruit and vegetables need to be shrink-wrapped? Packaging is key to achieving the UK’s overall environmental targets – both in domestic and commercial arenas – and it’s especially important for reducing plastic waste.

Sustainable packaging
For builders’ merchants, packaging is a big deal too. Too much packaging means more material to recycle on-site, while insufficient or ineffective packaging means damaged goods, returns and unhappy customers. So if suppliers need to find more sustainable packaging designs to meet future regulatory requirements, they will need to carefully balance their responsibility to the environment with the needs of their stockist customers.

Recognising the growing importance of resource-efficient packaging, Lakes recently invested significantly in redeveloping its packaging to minimise the amount of waste going to landfill. Our old packaging used internal polystyrene packing to prevent movement, plastic banding to keep the product secure, and stapling and plastic tape to secure the cardboard carton. With 150,000 products manufactured every year, there was significant cost and waste attached to this approach.

It also negatively affected our business. We discovered that the plastic banding was being used to pick up and move the boxes – a practice which was unsafe and also risked cutting the cartons and damaging the product.

So in March 2019, we became the first in the sector to introduce 100% recyclable packaging. We removed the plastic banding, stapling, plastic tape and polystyrene to reduce our waste to landfill by 75%. We added in handling slots to make the products more manoeuvrable. The new packaging has halved the number of damaged returns and improved transportation and stockholding, thanks to the smaller box sizes – all in addition to being kinder to the environment.

But best practice must be followed downstream if the packaging is to be truly sustainable. If our stockists and installer customers don’t have access to the facilities needed to recycle our boxes, we are exploring how we can close the circle by taking empty packaging returns – via a merchant – so we can recycle them ourselves.

We all need to act to make a difference, in our own lives and in our business activities, to ensure the world’s natural resources are protected for future generations. Lakes is a certified carbon neutral company and uses offsetting – such as the planting of trees – to balance the carbon emissions we generate through the course of manufacturing and transporting our products. The Environmental Bill will hopefully have more businesses thinking about what they can do to make small or big changes to their operations.

Sustainability is now as important as profitability, and the two can go hand-in-hand when environmental issues are considered as part of wider business objectives.

Rethink, Recover, Rebuild

While COVID-19 disrupted many businesses, the pandemic has created a unique opportunity for builders’ merchants to emerge with a more flexible approach to selling, says our Sales & Marketing Director and BMBI Expert Mike Tattam.

The builders’ merchant sector is bouncing back stronger than any of us could have forecasted, or hoped, and the Government’s ‘Build Back Better’ mantra is kickstarting construction. It’s giving everyone in the supply chain a much-needed boost.


The green shoots of recovery?

After the precipitous drop in revenue in April, with many branches closed or partially closed because of lockdown, the easing of restrictions in May set sales and confidence on an upward trajectory. By June, branches operating on skeleton staff were rushed off their feet and most of our merchant customers had returned to full capacity to cope with the uplift in demand from the building trade.

Home improvements buoyed merchant sales as a range of projects around the home proved popular among households with extra disposable income. But it would be naïve to think we are out of the woods and there is an air of caution as we head towards the final quarter. The Pulse report from July, produced by MRA Research, found that while merchants were generally upbeat, half of the merchants surveyed were less confident than in June, unsure whether the surge in sales was indicative of a V-shaped recovery or just the clearing of a backlog of orders which built up while branches were closed or semi-operational.

It’s difficult for us to see the full picture, particular for showering spaces as they are large, difficult to store items that builders normally order job-by-job. This lag skews the true pipeline of orders for suppliers and merchants.


Rebuilding resilience

Realistically, there could be more challenges in store for the sector. Regional lockdowns, like those in Leicester and Blackburn, could severely impact individual branches, while the end of the furlough scheme (anticipated in the Autumn) is expected to result in widespread redundancies which will impact consumer spending and overall market confidence. And this is all before we reach Brexit at the end of the year!

It’s impossible to predict how all these factors will affect the industry, which makes future proofing and planning even more of a challenge. It’s at times like these that merchants and suppliers need to pull together.

We’re all experiencing the pain of supply chain issues and meeting customer demands while adhering to safe working practices. Clear communication, a collaborative mindset to tackle the problems and a little understanding all go a long way.


Rethinking online

If anything positive has come out of this pandemic it’s the push for innovative solutions, which will change the builders’ merchant marketplace for the better.

During lockdown, we all immersed ourselves in online and digital ways to live and communicate – from Teams calls with colleagues, and Zoom pub quizzes with friends, to unprecedented levels of online shopping and ordering in.

Merchants were quick to jump on the increase in online shopping, switching their traditional business models to establish themselves as click and collect or transactional sites.

In July, Lakes launched a pioneering online showroom concept, which gives installer and homeowner customers a showroom experience from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The showroom is hosted within the merchant’s own website, so all the leads and enquiries go to them to close the deal.

The industry response has been overwhelmingly positive because – after two years in development – it’s landed at just the right time. But while purchasing behaviours are changing, and at a pace accelerated by lockdown, there is still a firm place for physical showrooms in the post-COVID world.

Our online showroom provides a way for merchants to warm up casual browsers into warm leads for showroom staff to covert. It’s a space for customers to research products and get in touch with our stockists directly. Realistically website visitors are not going to commit to buying a big-ticket item without seeing it first. They still need to visit a merchant showroom to touch and test the product for themselves, feel the quality and speak to informed and friendly staff about whether its right for them.

We hear from our merchant customers that their showrooms are increasingly busy, which is encouraging. And as post-lockdown customers now visit showrooms on an appointment basis, they come with more serious intentions to buy.

The future of merchant selling is not only online. The steps and sequence of the customer journey have changed, but we mustn’t underestimate the value of human interactions in that journey. The future of showrooms is omnichannel, incorporating the best in online and offline selling, to deliver a holistic and safe customer experience. That’s the ‘new normal’ and it’s here now.

Builders’ Merchants’ Q1 sales hit by Coronavirus restrictions

Builders’ Merchants’ sales in the first quarter of 2020 were knocked by the COVID-19 pandemic and Government measures to contain the virus.


Total value sales in Q1 2020 (unadjusted for trading days) fell -6.7% compared with the same period in 2019, with all core product categories affected. Adjusted for trading days, total builders’ merchants’ value sales dropped -8.2%.

Tools (-12.7%) and Timber & Joinery Products (-11.1%) reported the biggest falls on an unadjusted basis. Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-7.4%), Heavy Building Materials (-6.5%), Decorating (-5.1%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-4.1%) were also down. Perhaps not surprisingly, the one outstanding performance was in Workwear and Safetywear up +24.2%.


Total value sales dropped marginally by -0.8% in Q1 2020 compared with Q4 2019. Most product categories reported lower value sales over the period, including Kitchens & Bathrooms (-2.4%). The exceptions were seasonal category landscaping (+7.6%), Workwear and Safetywear (+9.5%) and Renewables & Water Saving (+15.9%).


The quarterly BMBI index for Total Builders Merchants was 105.6, with Workwear & Safetywear ahead of all categories at 129.1. The Index for Kitchens & Bathroom was 111.9.


Mike Tattam, Sales & Marketing Director and BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, comments:

Many bathroom and showering products are manufactured in China. While our factory in China is fully open and our UK stocks are high, as a result of the disruption many containers and ships along the global supply chain are in the wrong place, unable to unload or load, and extending the normal 6-8 weeks lead time. Stocks are arriving in the UK, but the lockdown here means many products are sitting in UK docks or on ships with nowhere to go.

“The sudden mass closure of builders’ merchants, partly driven by media and social media pressure, meant that installers and homeowners were driven to the internet, taking advantage of easy online ordering and direct delivery. Once government eases restrictions and encourages the reopening of showrooms, merchants will have to work hard to win back a customer base that may have become more used to online buying. Making sure your staff are experts in their field, so they add value with advice and support (while adhering to social distancing guidelines), has never been more important.

“Construction sites are returning to work, but it will be slower for the RMI market as the general public will be wary of inviting tradespeople into their home. Ensuring that they have full personal protective equipment (PPE) and can demonstrate they are operating to clear safety guidelines is fundamental in getting this sector of the market moving. Tradespeople who behave safely in PPE are more likely to be accepted than those who don’t.

“It’s not all gloom. Some merchants report homeowners have been using their time at home to plan future building work. Cramped bathrooms, showering spaces that are a hazard for some of the family, or lack of an ensuite, become extremely important when you’re locked in for weeks on end. Holiday budgets that can’t be enjoyed abroad, may be spent on improving the home. The ‘bounce back’ may not be immediate but may be sooner than economists would have us believe.”

Each quarter, BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table debate videos, visit

Lakes is a finalist for two categories in BMJ Industry Awards!

Lakes is once again a finalist in two categories for the BMJ Industry Awards 2020: ‘Best Bathroom Manufacturer’ and ‘Supplier Account Manager of the Year’, with our Area Sales Manager (ASM) Tom Williams making the top list.

Lakes was nominated for ‘Best Bathroom Manufacturer’ in 2018 and 2019 and we won in both years. In 2019 our ASM Leon Varrier also picked up the Highly Commended award for ‘Best Sales Representative’. To make the finalist list again this year is a superb achievement and great recognition for our work with customers.

Reaching the finals is based on the number of votes received from professionals across the industry. Votes are independently verified before finalists are announced.

Mike Tattam, Sales and Marketing Director, says: “To be nominated for the BMJ Industry Awards for the third-year running is a great honour, and to reach the finals across two categories is fantastic. Thank you to everyone who voted for Lakes and Tom and we hope it’s third time lucky for us! We wish all finalists the best of luck!”

2019: A year most of us won’t forget!

2019 will go down as one of those years we won’t forget. Brexit dominated the headlines and created uncertainty across all spheres of business in the UK, including the builders’ merchant and retail stockist sectors. The year also reminded us the effect weather and long periods of rain can have on business and sales.


Total Builders’ Merchant value sales in Q4 2019 were -4.0% down compared with the same quarter in 2018. Adjusted for trading days, average sales a day dropped -2.4%.

Tools (-8.5%) and Timber & Joinery (-6.7%) were particularly affected, closely followed by Heavy Building Materials (-4.6%). Kitchens & Bathrooms was among the three product sectors to report an increase over the period (+3.0%). The other two were Renewables & Water Saving (+6.4%) and Workwear & Safetywear (+5.8%).


Quarter four 2019 did not end well, with total value sales dropping -13.9% compared with Q3 2019. The drop was less marked when adjusted for trading days (-5.2%).

Most product categories reported lower value sales over the period, with sales of the seasonal category landscaping down the most, by -33.2%, followed by Heavy Building Materials (-14.8%) and Timber & Joinery Products (-13.1%). Quarter-on-quarter value sales for Kitchens & Bathrooms fell by -6.4%. The only two categories to report growth over the period were Workwear & Safetywear (+11.2%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+3.8%).


The total BMBI index for Q4 2019 was 106.4, a significant drop from 123.6 in Q3 2019. The index for Kitchens & Bathrooms was higher than the total at 114.6 for Q4 2019, but had fallen from the previous quarter (122.3).

Our Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam and BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, comments:

Looking back, 2019 was a year on hold. The first quarter started promisingly, but the RMI replacement and improvement market for shower enclosures and bathroom products was weakened by constant negativity in parliament and the press over Brexit. Different channels and different regions were affected in different ways, but some stockists reported sales down by up to 10%. The final three months were particularly weak.

“However, December’s General Election appears to have been a pivotal moment. The public and business responded with relief to the prospect of clarity and stability from a big-majority Government, and the constant carping in the media has eased.

“GfK’s Consumer Confidence index rose strongly in December, by 3 points, followed by a further 2 points in January. January also saw a strong 1.9% rise in house prices, according to Nationwide. Consumer spending grew 3.9% in January, according to Barclaycard, up from a lacklustre 1% growth in December. This has yet to translate into business across all sectors, but it sets the scene for better news for the home improvement market in 2020. We expect homeowners will have the confidence to spend on their property, including investing in a new or improved bathroom.

“One of the key factors driving such investments is the increasing trend to multi-generational living. Recent research quotes a 46% increase in multi-generational living in less than a decade. Older family members are moving into their children’s homes, and the number of households with 20-34-year olds living in their parental home increased from 2.6 million in 2007 to 3.4 million in 2017.

“More people under one roof means the bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the house. Bathroom furniture and showering spaces therefore need to be robust, low maintenance, easy to clean, safe and adaptable to different needs. For example, the less mobile require low thresholds so they can get in and out of the shower without tripping, and grandparents may need a shower seat and grab rail so they can shower safely and comfortably. But these improvements do not need to be ugly or utilitarian. There’s a new generation of ‘multi-generational’ products that are smart and stylish, well matched to the spa-like modern bathrooms that have become so popular.”

Each quarter, BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table debate videos, visit

Team Lakes welcomes new ASM

Lakes, the leading manufacturer of innovative showering spaces, welcomes new Area Sales Manager (ASM) for the Midlands, Rebecca Bennett, to its external sales team.

Having worked in the bathroom sector for nearly 25 years, Rebecca is well-known and comes with strong experience in building and strengthening customer relationships. Her industry knowledge will be integral to supporting Lakes’ journey and development in 2020.

Rebecca comments on her new role: “Lakes really stood out to me. The importance it puts on manufacturing excellence and customer service is clearly demonstrated in the strong partnership Lakes shares with its merchants and stockist customers. I look forward to developing new accounts for the business as well as continuing to foster good relationships with existing clients.”

Lakes’ Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Tattam, adds: “Rebecca is a great addition to our team. Her experience will be invaluable as we continue to introduce exciting changes to our business this year.”

For more information or to speak to a member of our sales team, call 01684 853 870.

Lakes debates crunch-time issues and industry trends in 4th BMBI Round Table

Our Sales & Marketing Director and BMBI Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, Mike Tattam, recently took part in the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) fourth Round Table Debate. The debate took place in December 2019, hosted at Geberit HQ in Warwick.

The BMBI is a brand of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) and the annual debate is organised for BMBI Experts to discuss topical issues, and the implications for our industry. Neil Lawrence, COO of Jewson, represented builders’ merchants and Mike Rigby, CEO of MRA Marketing (creators of BMBI) joined the BMBI Experts. The debate was chaired by Jennie Ward on behalf of Builders’ Merchants News (BMN).

Five main topics were covered:

  1. The climate change agenda & environmental legislation
  2. Economic confidence & Politics!
  3. Changes in buyer behaviour and how we sell
  4. Changing Regulations, changing building practices, changing priorities
  5. Merchants and distribution – where next?

The debate will be reported in the January, February and March issues of BMN. It was videoed in full and each video topic will be uploaded to the BMBI website from February 2020.

Other BMBI Experts that took part included: Andy Simpson, Packed Products Director Hanson Cement; Derrick McFarland, Managing Director Keystone Lintels; John Duffin, Managing Director Keylite Roof Windows; Malcolm Gough, Group Sales & Marketing Director Talasey Group; Mike Beard, Merchant Development Director Encon Insulation; Nigel Cox, Managing Director Timbmet; John Coe, Commercial Director Alumasc Water Management Solutions (AWMS); Steven Heath, Technical & Strategy Director Knauf Insulation; Simon Taylor, Director of Sales Ibstock Brick and Jeff House, Head of External Affairs, Baxi Heating UK.

The BMBI is a reliable and up-to-date measure of Britain’s Repair Maintenance & Improvement (RMI) activity. The quarterly and monthly reports use GfK’s Builders Merchant Point of Sales Tracking Data, which analyses sales-out data from over 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales across Great Britain.

The Experts speak exclusively for their markets, adding perspective and context to the data while also explaining trends, issues and opportunities.

Visit to download the latest BMBI reports or learn more about each Expert. Follow @TheBMBI on Twitter.

Lakes on ‘Shaping the showroom experience’

During the inaugural Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) Kitchen & Bathroom Forum, our Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Tattam, presented on the importance of the showroom experience.

Focusing on what influences buyer behaviours, Mike confirmed showrooms are more important today than ever: “The internet has changed how most of us buy and influenced our expectations of service,” says Mike. “It’s easy and convenient to now buy most of what we need online, putting a strain on many bricks and mortar retailers. People thought online shopping would reduce the need for showrooms too. But when it comes to high ticket home improvement items like bathrooms, clicks haven’t replaced bricks.

“Consumers may start by researching online but before they decide they look for where they can go to see and touch the products, explore the options and have their questions answered by knowledgeable staff.”

In Mike’s view, showrooms give customers the confidence to buy and they will make their decision based on the whole experience: “It’s where merchants and stockists have a distinct competitive advantage so think about the showroom holistically so every feature enhances the experience and makes it easy for customers to decide,” empahsised Mike, “And think about solutions too. Customers will want to learn about a range of options that will suit their bathroom space, style and lives.”

Mike’s presentation also covered the how our senses – consciously or not – influence buyer behaviour: “Without instruction sight, sound, smell and touch will kick in as soon as we enter a showroom so first impressions count.”

Mike’s tips for creating a memorable and impactful showroom experience were to consider the following:

  • Is your showroom clean & tidy?
  • Does it have good lighting?
  • Is it welcoming from the outside?
  • Are the displays stimulating and well kept?
  • Is the literature up-to-date and accessible?
  • Do you offer seating and refreshments?

And when it comes to showering spaces specifically:

  • Is the hardware polished and damage-free?
  • Do the handles feel secure and comfortable in the hand?
  • Do the doors close smoothly and quietly?
  • Is the glass smear and scratch free?
  • And not forgetting the floor! Is the tray robust? Anti-slip? Low threshold?
  • Are accessibility products included?

Mike concluded: “Stockists who blow customers away with stunning displays, expert knowledge, and a great customer experience will be the winners in today’s omnichannel world.”

For information on how Lakes can help support your showroom sales, call 01684 853870

Lakes hosts FORTIS buying group at HQ

Lakes recently hosted FORTIS merchant buying group at its HQ in Tewkesbury for its annual board meeting. The visit included a tour of Lakes’ newly refurbished showroom, which now displays Lakes’ new Bay series and Lakes Stone shower trays launched earlier this year. The revamped showroom also reflects Lakes’ new branding, look and messaging for a sharp and contemporary finish.

Lakes’ internal sales team demonstrated the new products to the FORTIS board in the spacious area, answered questions and held a discussion.

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam comments: “It was a pleasure to host FORTIS at our HQ. We have a strong relationship with its members and the board. It was a good opportunity to introduce them to more of our team and demonstrate our range and innovations in a relaxed environment. Our office includes spacious meeting and showroom facilities, which are open to our merchant and stockist customers by prior arrangement.”

If customers would like to visit Lakes’ new showroom or find out more about booking our board room for group meetings, call our sales team on 01684 853870 or speak to your Area Sales Manager.. For more information on our range visit here.

Lakes expands customer and sales support team

Lakes has welcomed new members of staff to their customer service team and sales support. Based at Lakes head office in Tewkesbury, Olga Bloore joins as the new Sales Admin Manager, while Angela Bruton takes on the role of Customer Services Administrator. Craig Smith, an existing member of staff, has moved to a new position of Customer Service Assistant. Craig worked in Lakes’ warehouse for 10 years before switching roles.

With experience in developing teams and people management Olga will be overseeing the sales team: “I’m really proud to be part of a company that values their customers’ opinion,” says Olga. “This has resulted in Lakes’ excellent reputation for customer service and support such as its no-quibble lifetime guarantee as standard. Lakes’ personal touch and attention to detail on everything really makes the company stand out.”

Craig comments on his progression in the business: “Working in the warehouse helped me develop strong product knowledge, which is particularly useful in my new customer service role when talking to our stockists. And because I was responsible for deliveries too, I met many customers along the way. This has proven very beneficial due to the relationships I formed.”

Lakes’ Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam adds: “Our business is renowned for our excellent and reliable service, and this is thanks to the skills, expertise and commitment of our staff. Both Olga and Angela are great assets to Lakes’ team and we’re also very lucky to have many dedicated employees like Craig. His experience from working in different areas of the business is invaluable. I’m confident they will all do extremely well in their new roles.”

For more information or to speak to a member of our team, call 01684 853 870.

Lakes praised for outstanding customer service

In National Customer Service week, we thought it would be a great opportunity to highlight Lakes’ lead in service and support.

Our business is renowned for excellent and reliable service and it’s fantastic to have this recognised by our customers. Lakes’ unique ‘no quibble’ lifetime guarantee gives customers total reassurance on their purchase. The guarantee is also transferrable, which means your showering space remains covered even if you didn’t originally purchase it.

The skill, expertise and commitment of Lakes’ customer service team ensure any queries are resolved quickly and efficiently, and customers benefit from the experience of our dedicated staff.

“I write to compliment you on the excellent service provided by your customer services team to a recent request.

“Firstly, they responded promptly to my call on Monday, and I was further pleased that you stocked a range of spare / replacement parts.

“The part needed was identified, and delivered the next day!

“I shall recommend Lakes.”

John Harrison

“I phoned on Monday to ask if I could get some new door seals, I was very pleased when I was told that I could and was even more pleased when I was told they were free of change under the warranty.

“I was more impressed when they arrived on Tuesday. I have just fitted them and all is now fine.

“Can I finish by saying I am very impressed with your excellent service, something that is not always the case these days.”

Tony Cropley

“I phoned your customer service team yesterday about a broken shower doorstop – and this morning replacements arrived and are now fitted. I just wanted to say thank you for your great customer service and care.”

Wyn Edwards

“I received my replacement seals and still can’t believe they are free. Thanks to you and your company.”

John Silversides

“I contacted Lakes and  they were very helpful.

“I want to highlight Kevin Boyle in particular who dealt with my issue and even sent the part free of charge.

“I could not have asked for any better service.”

Iain Lochhead

“Many thanks to you for sending a replacement bath screen seal which I have received this morning in perfect condition.

“Your customer after-sales service is first class and I would not hesitate to buy from your company again.”

Norman Carr

“I am just writing to say how impressed and thankful we are to Lakes for the work done to overcome the problem we have had following installation by a local contractor of a Levanzo shower panel and bypass panel.

“On 30 October your engineers called and diagnosed the cause of the problem and promptly agreed that replacing the panels would be the best solution. The same two engineers returned to carry out the replacement work.

“Please thank them very much from us for the way they handled our problem and their excellent customer service and manner. Unfortunately we were not at home at the time they finished their work this morning which is a pity as we had wanted to thank them personally.

“Lakes customer service commitment has done us proud and for that we are very grateful.

“We had selected your products anyway as our first choice for our bath to walk in shower conversion, and now your commitment to customer service has reinforced our view that yours is a company we will wholeheartedly recommend given the opportunity.”

Bob and Jill Shearing

“I am writing to express my appreciation and thanks for the service and attention provided by a specific member of your staff, Stuart McGhee.

“The seal/hinge in our three year-old 700 bi-fold shower door split top to bottom last Friday. I posted a warranty enquiry on your website that day at 11.15.  Less than an hour later, Stuart replied to say that he was sending me two alternative replacements (because he could not tell me from my description exactly which one applied), post-paid and free of charge. He also sent me directions on how to fit it.

“The seals arrived on the Monday following.

“I had a little difficulty fitting the replacement and Stuart once again responded to my plea for advice within an hour with some helpful suggestions (in the end our plumber completed the job in minutes!)

“If you can find some way to reward Stuart for the very positive impression of your company that he has left with us, I would urge you to do so.”

Barry Hazelwood

“Thank you for sending out one of your engineers to view and carry out remedial work on our shower. The unit is now properly sealed and working well.

“This is just a short email to say how pleased we are with the service you provided as a company, but particularly the engineer who called. He carried out the work very professionally, answered our questions and gave us valuable advice on maintenance and care of the shower unit.

“We would be grateful if you could pass on our thanks to him. Again your service is appreciated.”

Geraint and Lydia

“To all at Lakes Showering Spaces

“Just to say well done and a big thank you.

“I rang up on Monday to see if I could order some new shower door seals and a replacement cover for the roller on the door that had cracked. I expected to pay for the door seals as they were only discoloured, the shower is now 4 years old.

“From phone call to delivery you gave excellent customer service and the parts were delivered a day earlier than I was advised.

“Once again I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone at Lakes.

“WELL DONE!!!!!!”

Michael Lakic

Lakes donates shower seats to Headway UK

Headway UK, based in Worcester, is a charity that aims to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provide information, support and services to survivors, their families and carers. The charity provides guidance to a network of locally-run groups and branches across the UK and Channel Islands. Services include brain injury rehabilitation programmes, carer support, social re-integration, community outreach and respite care.

Lakes actively supports local charities and it was a privilege to visit Headway recently and experience their good work. Part of the visit included donating shower seats to the centre, that will hopefully go some way towards supporting care for those in need during their rehabilitation.

The donation was made by Lakes Sales Admin Manager Olga Bloor to Headway’s Fundraising and Marketing Manager Mandie Fitzgerald.

For more information about Headway and how you can support the charity, visit

Slowdown in merchant Q2 sales of kitchen and bathroom products

Following a strong start to the year, Total Builders’ Merchants’ value sales were down -1.2% in Q2 2019 against the same period last year. However, the adjusted figure, which takes into account trading day differences, was marginally positive at +0.4%.

Most product categories recorded a negative performance, heavily influenced by poor trading towards the end of the period (June). Heavy Building Materials, the largest category, declined by -1.6% year-on-year. Bathrooms & Kitchens value sales were down by -1.3% over the same period. Landscaping was the best performing category, rising by +1.2%.

Quarter-on-quarter, however, the picture is more positive. Total Builders’ Merchants’ sales in Q2 2019 increased by +8.9% compared with Q1, and average sales a day (which takes into account the difference in trading days) were up +12.5% over the same period.

Month-on-month, sales in June were down by -9.4% on one less trading day compared to May. Merchant sales of bathrooms and kitchen products fared better, down -3.2%.

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam, and BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, said: “Three years of negative headlines with politicians changing position and pretending they haven’t, has taken its toll on public trust. It’s making people ask if they should buy products such as bathrooms and showering spaces now or wait until the fog clears and there’s less to worry about.

“Consumers are concerned about the wider economy, but while real incomes are rising, they’re much happier with their own finances and prospects. However, they’re holding back on big ticket sales like cars, bathrooms and showering products. Lakes, our own brand, is doing better than the market but we estimate that shower enclosures and associated products are down around 9% in the first six months. Unlike boilers, showers are not distress purchases, they’re planned in advance and can be delayed.

“Brexit concerns are also weighing on the pound with suppliers absorbing increased costs, but now that’s not sustainable in the long term particularly if sterling falls further.

“The public recognises Brexit as businesses’ biggest challenge, but 49% of consumers see online shopping leading to the decline in the high street as the second biggest. Helping stockists respond to it is the next challenge. Stockists want support from their suppliers who need to give a clear indication of their strategy and trading route so customers can make decisions on their own future requirements.”

BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table videos, visit

One thing you can’t get online 

One thing you can’t get online 

In his refreshingly honest opinion piece in the June issue of KBB Review, Paul Crow wrote about how Ripples’ showrooms have changed to offer an inspirational shopping experience. We would certainly agree that stimulating displays, relaxing facilities and somewhere where you can talk to experts are all essential for capturing today’s discerning homeowner.

People thought for a while that online shopping might undermine the need for showrooms. Certainly, the high street has taken a hammering as consumers change the way they shop. But clicks haven’t replaced the need for bricks – in fact showrooms have become more important than ever. A homeowner looking for a new bathroom will most likely gather inspiration from a variety of places, ask friends’ advice, and then research different options online. But anyone who is about to spend thousands of pounds on a bathroom is going to want to experience how the products look and feel ‘in the flesh’.

Consumers want to check the tangible attributes of a product before committing to buy, including the size, material, and colour (which don’t always render well on screen). There is one other crucial reason too. No matter how good the photography or how compelling the descriptions, there is one thing about a product that’s virtually impossible to convey on a web page: quality. And today’s homeowner places a lot of emphasis on quality. They want to enhance their homes with stylish decor and accessories that look great and will last.

Quality is particularly important when it comes to showers because showering is about so much more than just getting clean – it’s a place to unwind and refresh, a time and space for you, a sanctuary from the world. It’s a holistic experience and every aspect of the environment has to be right. Attention is often drawn to the fixtures and fittings of a shower because the shiny hardware is eye-catching – but it’s the things you don’t immediately notice that make the difference in quality. For example, what is the shower tray like? Does it feel reassuringly solid or does it flex as you get in? Does the door wobble or clang when shut? Quality is a feeling, and it’s a feeling you only get from the whole experience.

A showering space is often made up of mostly glass, so how the glass looks is important. Homeowners may not have noticed that most glass has a greenish tinge to it, which affects the colour of tiles and paint, and how the rest of the bathroom looks through it. However, when they see a low-iron glass like Lakes’ PureVueHD the difference is startling – and being able to see their bathroom in its true colours is another indication of quality.

Equally, the sense of sanctuary and wellbeing of a shower shouldn’t be marred by glass that is scratched or smeared with limescale or soap scum. That’s why Lakes Glass comes with AllClear® as standard – a scratch resistant, stay-clean long-life coating technology that ensures water, limescale and soap scum slide off the glass – a simple wipe with a damp cloth keeps it looking beautiful. The design of our shower doors help with cleaning even further, as they can be unclipped from their runners to allow easy access to the whole space.

Even the simple act of stepping into the shower should exude a sense of luxury. The way a shower feels under foot has a bigger impact than you might expect on how we perceive the whole experience. Lakes’ stone resin shower trays for example are low profile, anti-slip, and anti-bacterial. They feel solid, safe, and look great. They have a natural quality look and feel, adding to the spa-at-home experience customers love.

When you have an appreciation of how important these factors are, it’s important to realise, as Mr Crow has, that the way products are presented can make the difference between making a sale or not. Is the glass and hardware clean? Scratch and damage-free? Are the designers knowledgeable? And do they engage in a two-way conversation so they know exactly what the buyers need?

From walking into the showroom, the setting, lighting and surrounding space, to reaching for the handle and opening the door, stepping onto the shower tray, and looking at or through the glass – the whole experience must feel quality. Do your showering spaces look right in the display space? Are they lit well? Your eyes are drawn to quality hardware and your hands instinctively reach for the handle. If it’s comfortable and solid in their hand with a pleasing shape it says quality. Make sure handles are fitted correctly so they feel sturdy. Check that doors close smoothly and quietly. If anything feels loose or ill-fitting, the customer may not say anything, but they’ll question the quality, whatever the price.

Think about the showering space holistically. Make sure every feature enhances the experience, and you’ll communicate the quality assurance today’s customers demand.

To find out how Lakes can help you make the most of your displays and showrooms and maximise sales, arrange a meeting with one of our Area Sales Managers. Find their details here.

Lakes supports IPG’s ‘Orbit the Moon’ event – raising money for Missing People

We were pleased to support the independent plumbing buying group IPG in its efforts to raise money for Missing People. The charity offers a lifeline to the 180,000 people who run away and go missing each year in the UK.

The ‘Orbit the Moon’ event took place between 22nd and 26th July. Over the course of the week, a group of IPG merchant members from across the country aimed to cycle the circumference of the moon – a whopping 10,921km! Lakes supported the event, sponsoring ASE Plumbing & Heating Supplies, in Shropshire. The team cycled over 700 miles during one of the hottest weeks in Britain, raising over £300 and counting! Well done to everyone involved – a great achievement!

Find out more about the charity at Follow on Twitter @missingpeople

#GetInvolved #FindEveryChild

Mike Tattam on the importance of the Builders’ Merchants Awards for Excellence

During the Builders’ Merchants Awards for Excellence 2018 our Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Tattam, commented on the importance of recognising the efforts of everyone in the industry throughout the year.

Hear more from Mike and others in the industry in the short video below.

Nominations are now open for the Builders’ Merchants Awards for Excellence 2019, including the award for Kitchen & Bathroom Showroom of the Year, a category we are delighted to sponsor.

You have until the 30th August to place your nomination here. Winners will be announced at the London Hilton on Park Lane, on Friday 22 November 2019.

BMBI reports Strong Q1 for Kitchens & Bathrooms

Total Builders’ Merchants value sales to builders, contractors, and kitchen and bathroom installers were up 5.9% in the first quarter of 2019, compared with Q1 2018. Product categories that grew strongly included Timber & Joinery, up 6.6%, Heavy Building Materials, up 6.8%, and Landscaping, which saw value growth of 15.6% as the year got off to a better start than 2018 with the milder weather. Bathrooms & Kitchens sales were up 1.1% year-on-year.

Compared with Q4 2018, Total Builders Merchants’ sales in Q1 2019 increased by 1.9%, but average sales a day (which takes into account the difference in trading days) were 3.0% lower over the same period. Sales in the Kitchens & Bathrooms category were up 4.7% on the previous quarter, achieving a higher growth rate than many other categories.

Total sales in March 2019 were up 8.3%, with the milder weather impacting positively compared to the same period last year. Kitchens & Bathrooms sales were up by 2.1%. Product categories that displayed the highest growth year-on-year were those related to external work. Timber & Joinery was up by 9.2% and Heavy Building Materials by 9.4%, while landscaping saw an even greater increase at 25.6% in March.

Mike Tattam, Lakes Sales & Marketing Director and BMBI Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, comments:

“Much as we’d like to, it’s hard to block out the effects of Brexit on our lives and businesses. Businesses are frustrated by having to divert their time and focus from helping customers compete more effectively and grow, to focusing on minimising the potential disruption and delays from one of these outcomes so they can compete at all.

“Whether shower enclosure companies have their products made for them, or they manufacture as Lakes does in its own factory, most companies import, mostly from China. So, all brands have to factor in shipping, long lead times, port access, currency movements – and road haulage for the final leg of the journey – so customers can sell without disruption.

“There have been fewer delays caused by ships being diverted from UK ports, but it can take 48 hours getting through French ports as customs officials start flexing their muscles. The Road Haulage Association says there are not enough HGV drivers in the UK, and many EU nationals are returning home because their markets are good, wages are improving and there’s plenty of work.

“Many companies built up their stocks in Q1 to unprecedented levels to ensure continuity of supply in time for an unruly EU exit on 29th March. But carrying and funding up to five and half months’ stock in the short term is quite different from carrying it through to October 31st, the postponed exit date or beyond.”

BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table videos, visit

Winners again at the BMJ Industry Awards!

At the recent BMJ Industry Awards, Lakes won ‘Best Bathroom Brand’ for the second year in a row! The ceremony called for a double celebration as our ASM for North East England, Leon Varrier, won Highly Commended for Best Sales Representative.

Reaching the finals and winning is based on the number of votes received from professionals across the industry. All votes are independently verified before winners are announced.

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam says: “We’re absolutely delighted to have won such a prestigious award for the second year running and for a member of our team to be independently recognised too. The last six months have been a whirlwind for Lakes with the development of a new brand and look, the implementation of a new strategy and focus and the launch of new products. To be recognised at industry events like these is a great honour and a positive reflection of our achievements in the market. It’s exciting times!”

The unforgettable ceremony was held at The Brewery in London, hosted by leading UK broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky OBE

Vacancy: Trainee Customer Service Administrator

A position has become available as a trainee customer service administrator, initially a 12 month contract working for Lakes at Tewkesbury Head Office. Full training will be provided.The position would suit someone taking their first step of a career in customer service.

Monday to Friday, 25 days holidays plus Statutory Bank Holidays.

Salary, £12,000 – £15000.

The role:

  • Have a confident telephone manner
  • Identify spares required
  • Taking credit card payments over the telephone
  • Filing
  • Data input

Key attributes:

  • Keen to learn
  • Reliable
  • Enjoy resolving customers requirements
  • Able to communicate with customers and colleagues
  • Some experience in Microsoft products
  • This is a new role and therefore the correct candidate needs to be flexible as the role evolves.

Please send applications to by 1st January 2019.

No agencies please.

Meet the Lakes Sales Team

Our team of 7 Area Sales Managers led by Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam, is the public face of Lakes. The vital link between our supplier network and the rest of the workforce back here at our Headquarters in Tewkesbury.

Say hello to the Lakes sales team…

Mike Tattam – Sales & Marketing Director

Mike leads a team of 16 (sales managers and internal sales administrators), with responsibility for revenue from UK and Ireland.     

Mike ‘the bits you won’t find on his work profile’

If you need to contact Mike, you can call him on 07725240912, email or alternatively, connect on LinkedIn.

Paul Harris – Sales Manager (North West England)

Paul ‘the bits you won’t find on his work profile’

  • Paul enjoys watching Rugby League and follows Liverpool FC
  • His movie favourites are always Horrors
  • And, if you’re asking, he’ll always have a cuppa ☕

If you need to contact Paul, you can call him on 07740 800663, email or alternatively, connect on LinkedIn.

Barry Clark – Sales Manager (South West)

Barry ‘the bits you won’t find on his work profile’

  • Would rather be in the Maldives
  • Loves a musical (and isn’t ashamed to say so) 🎭
  • Would choose to read minds if he could choose a superpower (but would soon figure out we’re all thinking ‘he really does look like Kenneth Branagh’)

If you need to contact Barry, you can call him on 07921759673, email or alternatively, connect on LinkedIn.

Tom Williams – Sales Manager (West London & Counties)

Tom ‘the bits you won’t find on his work profile’

  • Favourite Lakes products are Cannes and Levanzo
  • Looks like Joe Pasquale
  • Enjoys a spot of yoga
  • Supports Fulham FC and his tipple of choice would be beer 🍺
  • Would choose teleportation if he could choose a superpower (if only he could teleport Fulham FC up a league 🤣)

If you need to contact Tom, you can call him on 07977 473842, email or alternatively, connect on LinkedIn.

Leon Varrier – Sales Manager (North East England)

Leon ‘the bits you won’t find on his work profile’

  • He was the only one that chose a ‘rich friend’ when asked if he’d prefer a rich friend or a loyal friend 😳
  • Enjoys countryside walks and spending time with his family 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
  • Loves an action/adventure movie
  • Drink of choice is always a cider
  • Would choose flying as a superpower

If you need to contact Leon, you can call him on 07740 800662, email or alternatively, connect on LinkedIn.

Alita Gregg – Sales Manager (Scotland)

Alita ‘the bits you won’t find on her work profile’

  • Outside work most of her time is taken up with family life, be that going along to swimming or football lessons
  • Alita’s four children are all competitive Irish dancers!

If you need to contact Alita, you can call her on 07725 240421, email or alternatively, connect on LinkedIn. 

Steve Spencer – Sales Manager (South East England)

Steve ‘the bits you won’t find on his work profile’

  • Steve and his wife are keen supporters of their son Andy who is pursuing a career in Motorsport.
  • Enjoys long walks with his wife and Lewis the mad Springer spaniel
  • Favourite Lakes products are Cannes and Levanzo
  • Out of whiskey or vodka he’d always choose beer
  • Enjoys films and music as long as it includes The Beatles

If you need to contact Steve, you can call him on 07725 240423, or alternatively email him.

Simon Bailey – Sales Manager (East Anglia)

Simon ‘the bits you won’t find on his work profile’

  • Photography and golf are a great interests for Simon, declaring himself a big sports fan
  • A real passion for Simon is travelling and has backpacked around the world twice!
  • During time living overseas, including in Australia for a year, Simon worked in a bathroom showroom

If you need to contact Simon, you can call him on 07785 461232, or alternatively email him.

If you’re not sure who your area’s Sales Manager is, you can look-up your Sales Manager here.

Lakes makes the shortlist for BMJ Industry Awards!

Lakes makes the shortlist for BMJ Industry Awards!

The finalists have been announced for the BMJ Industry Awards 2019 and Lakes is shortlisted in two categories: ‘Best Bathroom Brand’ and ‘Best Sales Representative’ with ASM Leon Varrier.

Lakes was nominated for the first time in 2018 and won the ‘Best Bathroom Brand’ award. This year Lakes was nominated in two categories, and based on number of votes, have made the shortlist for both!

Mike Tattam, Sales and Marketing Director, says: “To be nominated for this award for the second-year running, and across two categories, is a great honour, and to reach the finals is a superb achievement. We are extremely pleased and wish all finalists the best of luck!”

The awards ceremony is taking place on Friday 17th May in London, hosted by leading UK broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky OBE.

Alita Gregg joins Lakes’ sales team

Alita Gregg joins Lakes’ sales team

Lakes, the leading manufacturer of innovative showering spaces, appoints Alita Gregg as the new Area Sales Manager for Scotland. Alita joins with 15 years sales experience in the KBB sector. Her career includes working with large distributors and market leading brands such as Astracast and Ideal Standard. She has also worked independently as a sales agent.

Alita explains: “KBB is a fantastic industry. I’ve always worked in this sector and enjoy meeting people and establishing strong customer relationships. I was attracted to the opportunity of working with Lakes because the company has an excellent reputation and is well respected. Lakes is particularly known for its glass innovations such as PureVueHD and its superb customer service. I’m extremely pleased and proud to be part of such a great business!”

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam adds: “Strengthening and building our teams has been an important part of Lakes’ journey since we rebranded last year, and it will continue to be a key focus for us. We’re very pleased to welcome Alita to our sales team. I’m confident her experience, knowledge and strong customer focus will prove invaluable in growing our sales and brand presence in Scotland.”

For more information or to speak to a member of our sales team, call 01684 853 870.

Merchants’ mixed performance in Q4 2018

Total Builders Merchants fourth quarter sales were a respectable 3.1% higher than in Q4 2017 but look closer and things were less encouraging. The quarter started well, with October sales up 6.8% year-on-year. However November only grew by 0.8% and, as this latest report shows, December was only 1.0% higher than December 2017. Factor in inflation and volumes will have been lower.

The economy is losing momentum, with 2018 growing at its slowest annual rate for six years (ONS). Contributory factors were lower factory output, car production and weaker construction.  NHBC new home registrations in 2018 were broadly flat, whilst numbers moving house have fallen. Fewer movers impacts on RMI, with a consequent fall in replacement kitchens, bathrooms, windows, re-decoration and refurbishment work.

The elephant in the room is, of course, Brexit. Nearly two years after Article 50 was triggered and a little over a month to go before the UK’s departure date we remain in a state of limbo. It’s hardly surprising that investment by businesses and home-owners has slowed.

Our Sales & Marketing Director and BMBI Expert, Mike Tattam, comments:

The BMBI figures tell us that the Kitchens & Bathrooms sector underperformed the total merchant market in the last six months of 2018 but performed better than the total market in the previous 18 months.

They also show broad signs of seasonality over the last three years, with Kitchen & Bathroom sales tracking the total merchant market in the winter and spring, underperforming the market in the summer months, then overtaking the total market in the autumn and peaking in November.

But extreme weather can disrupt these patterns. Last years’ winter season was unusually cold, keeping builders and installers indoors which contributed to the Kitchens & Bathrooms category outperforming total builders’ merchants’ sales from November 2017 to March 2018. The hotter than average summer may have encouraged more homeowners and installers to find reasons to be outside. A small fall in housing transactions in Q2 and Q3 2018 will also have reduced the number of projects.

Long-term trends in the bathroom sector also influence these sales statistics to varying degrees. The pressure on living space in new homes, as housebuilders maximise the number and value of the houses they build on the land available, favours showering spaces instead of baths. Housebuilders also add value with ensuite ‘bathrooms’ and wet rooms.

The political turmoil and economic uncertainty created by an imminent Brexit is weakening consumer confidence and is probably having the greatest effect on larger improvement projects. There is abundant anecdotal evidence of projects being postponed or just not progressed.

Without a clear voice from Government, it’s near impossible to be certain what Brexit we should plan for. However, Lakes has prepared as best we can to supply our stockist partners with the minimum of disruption, whatever form Brexit takes.

In the aftermath to Brexit, the ‘Have’s, particularly the over 55-year old homeowners who have become the biggest drivers of higher-end home improvement sales, will be relatively unaffected. Even in the most disruptive scenarios, where house prices lose a large part of their value, they remain house-wealthy with their savings and pensions, still keen to improve their lives and properties.

To download the latest report, view Expert comments or watch the Round Table videos, visit 

Lakes is nominated twice for BMJ Industry Awards!  

Lakes has been nominated for ‘Best Bathroom Brand’ and ‘Best Sales Representative’ in the BMJ Industry Awards 2019. We were nominated for the first time in 2018 and won the ‘Best Bathroom Brand’ award! This year our ASM Leon Varrier is also nominated for the ‘Best Sales Representative’ category.

Mike Tattam, Sales and Marketing Director, comments: “To be nominated for this award for the second-year running, and across two categories, is fantastic. We work hard to maintain our strong reputation for quality, first-class customer service and innovative solutions. So to be recognised in industry awards is a superb achievement.”

Please vote for Lakes and Leon at

Voting closes on the 22nd March and the winners will be announced on Friday 17th May at The Brewery, London.

Lakes introduces new Area Sales Manager

Lakes, the leading manufacturer of innovative showering spaces, appoints Area Sales Manager Steve Spencer to join its external sales team, covering the South East. His longstanding experience in the bathroom and shower industry will greatly support Lakes’ new direction and focus.

Steve has worked with leading industry brands for nearly 40 years, including Novellini and Kudos, and joins Lakes at an exciting time. He explains what attracted him to the role: “I have always seen Lakes as a quality brand. They have a strong mix of merchant and retail stockists, as well as a wide range of products.

“In my view, Lakes stands out from competing brands because it is well-respected. Customers hold the business in high regard for products, service and deliveries, which underpin Lakes’ commitment and reputation in these areas. I look forward to contributing to the business and driving sales in my area to support Lakes’ future plans.”

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam adds: “We’re delighted to welcome Steve to our team. He brings fantastic experience and market knowledge, which will prove invaluable when working with customers and helping them to make the most of new market opportunities.”

For more information or to speak to a member of our sales team, call 01684 853 870.

Winners of #LoveLakesIsland announced!

Lakes, the leading showering space manufacturer, celebrates the success of its #LoveLakesIsland campaign. To mark the success and first anniversary of its premium range of showering spaces – the Island Collection – Lakes launched a campaign for stockists and installers to share their Island success stories. Following fantastic feedback and engagement the winners of the luxury hampers are Flame Bathrooms in Durham and Recreate Bathrooms for their expert installation of the Barbados showering space with hinged door.

Mike Tattam, Lakes’ Sales and Marketing Director, comments: “We had excellent feedback on our Island Collection. Considering we only launched this Collection a year ago, it was fantastic to see so much activity on our social media channels. Thank you to everyone who took part in sharing the campaign and encouraging people to join in!

“We’re delighted to present the luxury hampers to bathroom stockist Flame Bathrooms in Durham and installer Recreate Bathrooms. The winning installation showed the impact an excellent showering space can make in whatever space available!”

Look out for more exciting campaigns in the New Year!

Donation to Tewkesbury Food Bank

For the second year running we are supporting our local business Tewkesbury Food Bank. Throughout the year the food bank, part of The Trussell Trust, provides emergency food and support to local people who are referred to them in crisis. By donating £2,000 to the charity we hope to support families and individuals in need.


Our MD, Bev Brown, presented the cheque to Voluntary Project Manager, Marian Badham. Bev comments: “We are proud to support our local charity. Seeing the fantastic work they do encouraged us to donate again. We hope it will go some way to providing food and everyday essentials to those facing crisis or hardship in their lives.”


You can find out more about the charity and make a donation on their website

‘Movers and shakers’ at Lakes

Craig Smith has moved from the Warehouse to join the Customer Service team, replacing Natasha Piff who joins our growing sales team as Sales Administrator.

Mike Tattam, Sales and Marketing Director, comments: “We’re very lucky to have such dedicated and long-serving employees, so it’s important we keep investing in them. Our business is renowned for our excellent and reliable service, and this is thanks to the skills, expertise and commitment of our staff.

“We encourage career progression from within, and I’m pleased to see this with Craig and Natasha. Both are progressing well in their roles.”

For more information or to speak to a member of our team, call 01684 853 870.

Join the #LoveLakesIsland campaign

Lakes, the leading manufacturer of showering spaces, is running a #LoveLakesIsland campaign to mark the success and first anniversary of its premium range of showering spaces – Island Collection. Stockists and installers are encouraged to share their Island success stories across social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram – and the campaign is calling for installers to post up their best Island installation. All photos posted with the hashtag #LoveLakesIsland will be entered into a prize draw to win a luxurious hamper for the best installation. A hamper will be presented by Lakes to both the installer and its stockist.

The carefree spirit of the Caribbean was the inspiration behind Island. Its sleek, frameless design, smoothly operating hinged doors, and crystal-clear glass makes it an ideal choice for contemporary showering spaces.

The competition will run during November and the winner will be announced in December. Mike Tattam, Lakes’ Sales and Marketing Director, comments: “Island has been very successful since we introduced it to our range last year so we wanted to mark its first anniversary with something a little different. We achieve great engagement with customers across our social channels so it made sense to use these platforms to show off the many fantastic installations as well as generate a bit of fun along the way.”

To find out more about Lakes’ Island Collection visit or download our new ‘Designed for Life’ brochure at Look out for updates across Lakes’ social media.

Builders Merchants’ sales enjoy Q2 bounce

Builders Merchants’ sales enjoy Q2 bounce

Sales through UK builders’ merchants bounced back in Q2 2018, with the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reporting 7.2% growth in sales value over Q2 2017.  There was one more trading day during Q2 this year, adjusting for this the average daily sales growth year on year was 5.5%. The strong performance in Q2 contrasts markedly to a weather-hindered performance in the first quarter of the year.

The cold weather in quarter 1 seemed to stimulate growth in Quarter 2 within the Plumbing, Heating and Electrical category as people looked to upgrade old or failing equipment. The category had exceptional year on year growth up 13.3%, with April growing at 22.5% year on year driven by Boilers and Lighting.

Mike Tattam, Lakes Sales & Marketing Director and BMBI Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, comments:

“Home improvement retailers struggled with the weather and a less confident retail market this year. But, RMI continues to perform. This BMBI report shows that kitchen and bathroom Q2 sales were 6.1% up in value on the same quarter last year, and the past 12 months were 6.1% up compared to the previous twelve, making it the second best performing BMBI category.

“It’s been a relatively flat start to the year for shower enclosures though, with signs of improvement from this quarter. Merchant and stockist showrooms reported less foot traffic in June and July, coinciding with the World Cup and extremely warm weather.

“Compared to other ‘bathroom’ products, people spend less time thinking about shower enclosures: they look through the glass at the shower head, fittings, or tiles before they see the enclosure. That’s because enclosure brands have left it to others to promote showering spaces, and not explained why or how the showering space is important. However, emerging trends are shaping the market, providing opportunities for strong growth.

“Eight out of ten people now prefer to shower than take a bath. New build homes are shrinking, so housebuilders favour stand-up showers instead of baths, and lifestyles are changing with an increase in multigenerational households having an impact too. The bathroom is increasingly becoming a personal sanctuary and it’s an important space with enclosures at the heart of good showering.

“The most significant trend is the development of ‘The Haves’, driven by the rising value of homes, housing wealth and demographics. This group of generally older homeowners, especially the over 55s, own much of Britain’s housing wealth. They account for most of the UK’s savings, and they’re becoming more numerous. They have the money, and with rising house prices paying for the purchase, why wouldn’t they invest in their home? This powerful trend is driving most home improvement markets, not just bathrooms and showers. Watch this trend grow in importance.”

BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table videos, visit

Lakes Bathrooms appoints new Operations Director to its board

Mick joins the business with 25 years’ experience across construction, manufacturing and distribution. His previous roles include General Manager at Haulotte UK Ltd – a global manufacturer and distributor of access equipment to the construction industry; and senior positions at Arco Ltd. and Ford Motor Company.

In his new role, Mick is responsible for coordinating Lakes’ manufacturing and UK logistics as well as leading its customer support services. Working closely with Managing Director Bev Brown and Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam, his focus will be on delivering customer value through innovation and service. Mick’s appointment is timely with the launch of Lakes Bathrooms’ new Island collection of luxury and frameless shower enclosures.

Mick comments: “Lakes Bathrooms has all the values and qualities I’d expect of a family-owned business. It has been very successful over many years – with huge potential to develop further. There is a great team in place and I’m excited to be part of its future success and what it will bring for our staff and customers.”

Managing Director Bev Brown adds: “We’re delighted to welcome Mick to the board and look forward to his contribution in helping to drive our business forward. A key focus for Lakes this year is innovation so that our customers continue to benefit from the best products and the best support. We’re adding new people to the team and strengthening our board so we can deliver on our objectives and goals.”

Lakes Bathrooms supplies shower enclosures, doors and bath screens to builders’ and plumbers’ merchants and is renowned for its first-class customer service, speed of delivery, and supplying innovative solutions. Its products range from timeless classic to contemporary designs to cater for all market requirements. Innovations include Lakes’ optically superior PureVueHD for clearer, lighter and brighter glass; and AllClear® protective coating applied to the glass so enclosures stay looking great, for longer and with minimal effort.

For more information call 01684 853 870.

Follow @LakesBathrooms on Twitter.

The Running Man

It seems a long time ago now but back in June at the Industry Conference in Budapest I made a bold announcement, ‘I going to run the 2018 London Marathon!’.

It all came about in May when I was sitting with Simon Lawson of Lawsons builders’ merchants, at the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants Masters weekend in Birmingham. During a chat over a cup of tea, yes it was definitely tea not alcohol, so I have no excuse, we got talking about running and how Simon had run the London Marathon before. I’ve always wanted to do it and had tried twice before to get in, but never managed to. Simon then mentioned about running for a charity to guarantee a place. He said he’d run for Child Rescue Nepal and that he was sure he’d be able to get me a place. This was now starting to get serious!

Over the next couple of weeks I thought about the offer and then we went to the Conference. Simon and I started talking again and he asked if I’d thought any more about it, I said yes but I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to do it, then came the incentive. Simon very kindly offered Lawsons support for my sponsorship so I no longer had an excuse and said yes! And before you ask this time alcohol was involved! So there and then I announced on Twitter and the world that I would run the 2018 London Marathon for Child Rescue Nepal.

When I got back from Conference things moved at a pace, unlike my running. The team at Child Rescue Nepal sent me the details and before I knew it I was registered to run the marathon on April 22nd 2018. Now came the hard part, the training! I must admit I do a little bit of running, about 30 miles per month, but this is a different league – I have to run 26 miles and 385 yards – suddenly came the feeling of panic – what had I done!

My training started well and I quickly improved my monthly mileage so I signed up for the Stroud Half marathon which was on Sunday 22nd October, exactly 6 months before the big one. Now anyone who runs knows that as soon as you think things are going well that’s the moment something bad happens, and it did. Five weeks before the Half Marathon I hurt my knee and like most runners tried to ‘run it off’ – that was a bad idea. Six sessions of physio and a week before the half marathon and I’m thinking of pulling out. My running coach, sounds posh but it’s my brother in law who is a coach at Bedford Harriers running club, said just do it and we’ll see what happens.

There I am on the start line, 13 miles, 192.5 yards to go thinking why am I doing this and hoping to get round in under 2 hours and 20 minutes. Well it all started very well, mile one, 9 minutes and 18 seconds, mile two 9.25, then I got carried away and forgot to look at my running watch, but I was really enjoying it. There were people supporting along the way and even a band at 10 miles, all taking my mind off what I was doing. In the distance I could see the 2 hour pace maker and I decided to try and catch them up, which by some miracle I did. I’m feeling good, really good and I go past them, wow what’s happening to me? Then comes the last mile and if I can hang in there I could go under 2 hours. With lots of puffing and wheezing I cross the line in 1 hour, 59 minutes. I came 137th place in my age group, and was 904 out of 1,400 runners but I don’t care, I felt like Mo Farrah. Then realisation sets in, oh no this is only half of what I’ll have to do in six months’ time!

So two weeks off to rest the knee and now back in training. It’s going to be tough and there will be times I don’t want to go out but I’m doing it for an excellent cause and gratefully supported by Simon Lawson – a big thanks to Lawsons for helping me to fulfil a long-term ambition.

I’ll be posting regular blogs – thanks to editor Fiona who has offered to cover my training and the actual day of the Marathon. Now comes your part, please go to my ‘Just Giving’ website and dig deep into those pockets to support a very worthy cause.

Thank you and watch out for my next blog!


Lakes Bathrooms appoints new Sales & Marketing Director

Leading shower enclosure specialist Lakes Bathrooms has appointed Mike Tattam to join its board as the new Sales & Marketing Director.

Tattam joins Lakes Bathrooms from Timbmet Ltd, where he worked as Sales & Marketing Director and more latterly Commercial Director. Prior to that he held senior positions at both Russell Timber Technology and Jablite Ltd.

In his new role at Lakes Bathrooms, Tattam will manage a team of 16 and will be responsible for growing and developing the sales force. He has more than 25 years’ experience in the construction industry, working with distributors, contractors and specifiers.

Working with Managing Director Bev Brown, Tattam will be instrumental in repositioning and raising awareness of the Lakes Bathrooms brand and the services that it offers. His appointment comes hot on the heels of the launch of Lakes Bathrooms’ new Island collection of entirely frameless, luxury shower enclosures.

Tattam, who officially started in his new role on 2nd October, says: “I am thrilled to have joined Lakes Bathrooms at such an exciting time. I am looking forward to building on its excellent reputation and product offering, growing the brand and opening up fresh opportunities for even greater growth.”
Lakes Bathrooms’ managing director Bev Brown adds: “We’re delighted to welcome Mike to the board as our new Sales & Marketing Director. His vast operational and commercial experience, in addition to his extensive knowledge and understanding of the supply chain and proven track record of achieving strong sales growth in his various roles, make him the perfect addition to our team.”

Lakes Bathrooms announces appointment of Bev Brown as managing director

Shower enclosure specialist, Lakes Bathrooms, has announced the appointment of its finance director, Bev Brown, to the role of managing director.

Bev, who joined Lakes at the beginning of 2012, is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and previously held a financial board level role within the logistics sector. She has helped to drive the company’s strategy for the past five years, with the business enjoying year-on-year growth.

This promotion sees Robin Craddock become chairman. In this role he succeeds his father Alan, with whom he created the business 30 years ago. This anniversary has prompted him to embrace semi-retirement and to devote more time to his family and other passions. Supporting Bev in steering the business is sales director, Steve Bates, who has worked for Lakes Bathrooms for 17 years and was promoted to the board earlier this year.

Commenting on the appointment, Robin Craddock said, “Bev has been a great asset since she joined Lakes Bathrooms and her understanding of the business makes her the ideal choice to lead the company into the future. I am delighted that we have someone of her quality and integrity to step into the position and I am confident that she will continue to drive innovation, whilst maintaining the family values that make our service so special.”

Bev will be based at the company’s headquarters in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, with regular travel to oversee its wholly-owned manufacturing subsidiary in Ningbo, China. She leads a team of 150 staff across the businesses’ two UK sites and China.

In accepting the new role, she said, “Lakes Bathrooms is a refreshingly dynamic company. Since its inception, it has enjoyed inspired and progressive leadership from Alan and Robin Craddock, who have always embraced positive change. Over the past five years it has been my privilege to support its continued expansion and I intend to lead the business forward in the ‘Craddock style’, which has created such long-term success.”