Category Archives: Why Lakes?

Lakes goes above and beyond to achieve Carbon Neutral Plus status

We have been awarded Carbon Neutral Plus certification for our UK operations in recognition of our continued commitment to reducing our impact on the environment.

Lakes was awarded the Carbon Footprint Standard in March 2019. Since then, we have gone above and beyond to reduce our carbon emissions even further, offsetting more CO2 emissions in 2019 than our UK operations generated.

More than half of the CO2 emissions offset by Lakes in 2019 were attributed to tree planting schemes in Kenya and in the UK, including the planting of over 200 trees at a local school in Gloucester. Lakes is also supporting projects to protect the Amazon rainforest, provide water purifiers for Cambodia, and improve boreholes in Uganda to provide clean drinking water.

As well at its focus on UK and global environmental projects to offset its carbon emissions, we have been working to be more resource responsible, and leads the industry in our commitment to reducing waste. Last year, we introduced 100% recyclable packaging to remove approximately 2,000 kilometres of banding and nearly two million pieces of polystyrene a year from landfill. It also committed to 100% recycling all of its product waste (primarily glass and aluminium) and all recyclable site and office waste. Thanks to these proactive steps, we have already saved 298 trees from paper and cardboard production through the recycling of 76% of its waste this year1.

Mick Evans, our Operations Director, says: “We are absolutely thrilled to be certified as Carbon Neutral Plus. The sustainability of our business has been a significant focus over the last 18 months and one that we will remain strongly committed to. We’ve introduced big changes in our packaging and processes to reduce waste, and invested in projects which improve the environment in the UK and further afield. There is no planet B, and we all have to go above and beyond to make a difference and lessen the environmental impact we make, while still delivering the high quality products and first class service our customers and partners expect from us.”

Zoe Booth, Environmental Consultant at Carbon Footprint Ltd adds: “Lakes has taken leading and responsible steps to mitigate the current climate emergency, going above and beyond to offset more CO2 than their UK operations produced.”


1 Year to date, up to and including October

Lakes shortlisted for two Construction Marketing Awards

We have been shortlisted for two awards in the 2020 Construction Marketing Awards (CMAs): ‘Best use of Advertising’ and ‘Best Stakeholder/Internal Communications’ working with MRA Marketing.

Our advertising campaign reflects our new marketing and business strategy, with a firm focus on changing the showering landscape and influencing how builders’ merchants and retail stockists sell showering spaces. The adverts convey our premium products, precision engineering and attention to detail in the context of today’s lifestyles. A grid layout allows the flexibility to combine imagery and messaging in an impactful and memorably way, while building a recognisable platform for Lakes’ brand.

Making the showering space the hero is an important of the advertising message. Enclosures are more than just glass cubicles in the corner of a room. It’s a holistic experience that includes glass, hardware, frame and tray. So it’s important customers and homeowners notice the space and understand why it matters. Working to a plan and media schedule, the adverts have been strategically placed across target publications for consistent exposure.

For the ‘Best Stakeholder/Internal Communications’ award, we are shortlisted for our ‘Safe Working in the Home’ guides, an industry-wide campaign developed by MRA Marketing to help get the bathroom industry working again after lockdown. The aim was to give installers the confidence to go into people’s homes, and homeowners the reassurance it was safe to have bathroom fitters working in their home.

When UK lockdown eased, merchants reopened and sales started to recover, but bathrooms lagged other categories. Installers didn’t know if they should or could work safely in customers’ homes and didn’t know if customers would want them to. Homeowners didn’t know the protocols for safe working. Everyone was waiting for guidance.

So to get the bathroom sector working again, MRA suggested that we take the lead with introducing two guides – one for installers and one for homeowners – with all the latest Government and industry advice in clear simple language. The guides, endorsed by the Bathroom Manufacturers Association and supported by the Builders Merchants Federation, are available as downloadable PDFs and hard copies. A campaign logo is available too, with stickers produced for showrooms, online, vehicles and merchant branches.

The guides are promoted by us and others, and have been widely welcomed and credited with helping the industry get back to work. Bathroom sales picked up strongly in August and September.

Our Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Tattam comments: “To be shortlisted for two CMAs is fantastic. It’s been a challenging and worrying year for everyone so we’re particularly pleased to see our efforts recognised for supporting the industry with our ‘Safe Working’ guides, helping businesses get back to work in a ‘new normal’. We’re looking forward to the virtual event at the end of November and keeping our fingers firmly crossed!”

The CMAs are a national measure of excellence in construction marketing and business development, including research and strategy. Winners will be announced at an online prize giving on 26th November. For more details visit

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.

New standout POS helps Lakes Partners sell

We have introduced a new suite of point of sale material to help Lakes Partners create stand-out showrooms and displays. The new range, presented in a striking brochure, makes it easy for customers to browse and order what they like. There are bespoke options for Lakes Platinum Partners.

Since 2018 we have been on a journey to introduce new ideas and solutions to help customers make the most of an exciting market. Our strong commitment to showrooms and showroom support has influenced the development of the new-look POS portfolio.

The revamped brochure showcases a wide range of eye-catching material including banner boards, posters, backboards, stickers and more. Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam explains: “Showrooms are a pivotal part of the decision-making process for a new bathroom or shower design. In today’s Covid world where showrooms visits are by appointment only, homeowners only visit with serious intentions. So it’s vital, when competing for their business, that merchants and stockists invest in their displays and create an inviting buying space for customers to look around and learn.

“We’ve revamped, updated and added to our POS suite as part of our ongoing commitment to building longstanding and mutually beneficial partnerships with our customers,” continues Mike. “Markets have changed, and they’ve changed more this year than any of the last ten. We aim to constantly look for ways we can help customers sell and help their customers buy in today’s changed new normal.”

The new POS brochure can be downloaded here. If you’d like hard copies, call our team on 01684 853 870 or speak to your Area Sales Manager.

Lakes’ virtual showroom ushers in a new era for sales, says Fayers

Fayers is the first independent merchant to launch Lakes innovative online showroom platform to its trade customers, and the first retailer to present the new shopping experience to consumers through the Just Add Water website.

We launched our virtual showroom concept in July as a pioneering selling tool for merchant and retail stockists and their installer and homeowner customers.

The online platform allows Lakes products to be viewed and favourited, helping merchant sales and showroom staff turn leads into orders, and upsell complementary products such as taps, showers, grab rails and shower seats. Accessed through the stockist’s own website, visitors to the Lakes showroom can also download joint-branded brochures and ask questions directly to the stockists’ staff via chat and email.

Fayers, a member of the Fortis buying group, was keen to include the Lakes virtual showroom platform on both its trade and Just Add Water consumer websites. Managing Director, and Fortis Category Director, Ken Beney says: “As a merchant and retailer, we often feature links to our trade partners and suppliers on our website, but these usually direct customers off our site and they don’t always come back to us to make a purchase. With the Lakes virtual showroom, we can offer our customers more product and technical information while keeping them within our site and hopefully securing the sale.

“As well as keeping traffic within our website and driving sales, the Lakes online showroom makes life easier for our staff as they can access it from our website – there’s no need to waste time logging in and out of websites. It’s a really exciting concept.”

After two years in development, the Lakes virtual showroom has been launched at just the right time, as online shopping has surged while access to physical showrooms has been restricted.

Lakes Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Tattam, adds: “With the current physical restrictions on visits to showrooms, stockists are keen to capitalise on the growing online trend – and that’s where our online showroom platform can help our customers grow their business. By offering an enriched virtual shop window, that integrates with stockists’ existing facilities and staff and doesn’t substitute them, our stockists can engage with more potential buyers and help their sales and showroom staff turn interest into orders.”

The online showroom platform was developed by MRA Marketing. Managing Director Lucia Di Stazio says: “We created this showroom platform to enable merchants and manufacturers to offer a personalised online experience to their trade customers, and for end user customers. Lakes has raised the bar on what manufacturers can do to help their trade partners sell. Our virtual showroom delivers an engaging, interactive online shop window to attract more visitors while providing the selling tools required to convert online traffic into orders.”

Lakes Online Showroom is at and To find out how your business can benefit, call Lakes on 01684 853 870.

Lakes and BMA campaign to get bathroom installers back to work safely

Lakes has produced two free ‘Safe Working in the Home’ guides – one for bathroom installers and one for homeowners. Lakes produced the two guides to get the bathroom industry working fully again by helping installers and homeowners navigate safely the challenges of fitting bathroom products in the ‘new normal’.

Endorsed by the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA), the two new guides bring together all the latest Government and industry advice in two concise and easy to read leaflets, available as hard copies or downloadable PDFs.

“Many home improvement projects were put on hold during lockdown, but with restrictions now easing, homeowners and installers are keen to pick up where they left off while minimising any potential risks”, says Mike Tattam, Lakes Sales & Marketing Director. “We’ve created these simple guides to help everyone get back to ‘normal’ as safely as possible.”

The installer ‘Safe Working in the Home’ guide provides advice on how to prepare for a new project, best practice guidelines for working in a customer’s home and what to do after the job is completed to ensure the showering space is left spotlessly clean and hygienic as well as giving the customer a wow factor.

The homeowner ‘Safe Working in the Home’ guide provides simple tips and friendly advice to reassure customers that steps are being taken to protect their health and wellbeing, and to explain how they can play their part in protecting the installation team and themselves from exposure to the virus.

The guides are part of an industry campaign with a ‘Safe Selling, Safe Working’ logo, created for stockists and installers to display, to show that they are helping their customers get back to work safely. The logo can be used on websites, social media, and branch signage, vehicle livery and POS and other promotional material to show they are following best practice guidelines and to encourage installers to work confidently and safely in the home.

Mike Tattam added: “Staying safe is everyone’s responsibility and that includes suppliers. It’s in all our interests to get the industry back to work selling bathroom products and installing with confidence in a safe way.”

Tom Reynolds, Chief Executive Officer for the Bathroom Manufacturers Association said: “Over the last few months, during the Covid-19 lockdown, people have spent a lot of time looking at their homes and thinking how they could be improved. Now homeowners are finally able to put their plans and ideas into practice, it is important they have full confidence that the work can be carried out safely. BMA is supporting all efforts by our members and partners to provide consumers with that confidence. These guides admirably provide practical advice for stockists, installers and homeowners. I recommend them wholeheartedly to you.”

The ‘Safe Working in the Home’ guides are available now from the Lakes here and at Hard copies will be distributed to Lakes’ customers.

Further reading about safe working practices is available from the CLC and Government endorsed Trustmark’s Work Safe, Safe Work campaign at For more information, call Lakes on 01684 853 870.

Lakes awarded Best Bathroom Manufacturer three years running!

At the BMJ Industry Awards on Friday 17th July Lakes won the prestigious ‘Best Bathroom Manufacturer’ award for the third year running! The annual award ceremony, which was due to take place in May at The Brewery in London, was rescheduled as a virtual presentation due to COVID restrictions. The event was hosted by the well known ‘Voice of the Balls’ on the National Lottery, BBC presenter Alan Dedicoat.

Reaching the finals and winning is based on the number of votes received from professionals across the industry. It was a competitive year with 130 finalists across 24 categories, and with all votes independently verified before winners are announced.


Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam says: “We’re absolutely delighted to have won such a significant award for three years in a row. This level of recognition is a great honour and a positive reflection of our ongoing achievements in the market. It’s been a challenging year for many businesses, with COVID causing major disruption for suppliers and merchants alike. But our industry is riding the storm and as we move into – hopefully – calmer waters, we are resuming key projects to help our customers sell and continuing our programme of product development.

“A huge congratulations to all other finalists and winners too”, continues Mike. “It was a shame we were unable to celebrate in the usual way but it was ‘virtually the same’ with many people across the sector tuning in and toasting to the many successes!”

BMJ Editor-in-Chief Fiona Russell-Horne adds: “Congratulations to the team at Lakes for their win. The standard of all the entries to the category was, as usual, incredibly high. So it’s clear that, by winning for the third year in a row, Lakes is doing something right and that its customers all recognise that.”

To watch the video from the virtual awards, visit

Lakes’ new online showroom is an industry first, says Graham

Lakes has launched an innovative new online platform to give its trade and end user customers a personalised showroom experience – without leaving the comfort and safety of their own homes.

The online showroom concept is a pioneering selling tool for Lakes’ merchant and retail stockists and their installer and homeowner customers. It allows its showering space products to be viewed and favourited so merchant sales and showroom staff can turn them into orders. Accessed through the stockists own website, visitors to Lakes showroom can download joint-branded brochures and ask questions directly to the stockists’ staff via chat and email.

Earlier this week, Graham became the first merchant to go live with the online showroom on both its trade and consumer websites. Ian Kenny, Marketing Director for Graham said: “In an industry where real innovation can be hard to come by, the Lakes online showroom is a genuinely different proposition, and we’re extremely proud to be the first to adopt it.

“It’s more than just a campaign or a gimmick for us, it’s a whole new way of working. We haven’t done anything like this before with a supply partner, but it has proved to be a fantastic opportunity not only to work closer with Lakes and to reciprocate their commitment and loyalty to us but also to help deliver something really dynamic and interesting – an industry first!”

As well as driving product awareness and engagement, Lakes’ virtual showroom collects data which can be shared with merchants and stockists to help them close more sales and upsell complementary products such as taps, showers, grab rails and shower seats.

Mike Tattam, Lakes Sales and Marketing Director adds: “We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to support our customers and help them grow their businesses. The online showroom is an original sales tool developed by MRA Marketing, which has landed at a time when online shopping has surged and access to physical showrooms has been restricted. Our partners are eager to capitalise on the opportunity by offering an enriched virtual shop window so they can engage with potential buyers for sales and showroom staff to turn into orders. The online showroom really delivers that, and we are excited to help our customers sell.”

MRA Marketing MD Lucia Di Stazio says: “After two years of development our online showroom product has come at just the right time for Lakes’ customers. More people than ever are using the internet for product research to help them make purchasing decisions, and fewer people are willing to travel to merchant showrooms to see products in person. The online shop window attracts visitors and turns browsers into hot leads. It’s a new and exciting era in online selling and Lakes has raised the bar on what manufacturers can do to help their trade partners sell.”

Lakes Online Showroom is at and To find out more and how your business can benefit, call Lakes on 01684 853 870.

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’ journey

Over the COVID-19 lockdown we’ve been reflecting on our journey since we introduced a new look Lakes.

We proudly launched our new look in October 2018 as part of an overhaul of our brand and business. Since then, we’ve been busy rolling it out in the market. We’ve refurbished our showroom at our HQ in Tewkesbury, and are supporting our trade partners with stunning new products, POS and signage.

This latest video reflects on the journey we’ve embarked on, highlighting the changes we’ve made to make selling easier for our customers.

As the lockdown eases, we hope to re-fuel our journey and continue helping our customers make the most of new selling opportunities. Watch out for our next phase! #LakesNew


Lakes’ wins Highly Commended WCoBM Environment Award

Lakes, a carbon neutral company and a leading manufacturer of showering spaces, has won a Highly Commended ‘Caring for the Environment’ award at the annual Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants (WCoBM) City & Awards.

Presented to Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam by WCoBM’s Master Fiona Woolf DBE DL at the prestigious Haberdashers Hall in the City of London, the award recognises the significant steps Lakes has taken to improve its impact on the environment. Lakes is the first in its sector to introduce fully recyclable packaging which significantly reduces waste to landfill, and is the first to achieve the Carbon Neutral Standard based on an assessment of carbon emissions for its UK operation. The award also recognises the impact the packaging has on improving efficiencies in handling and distribution.

WCoBM is a Livery Company that supports training and education in the sector through its charitable fund. The ‘Caring for the Environment’ award was introduced to Livery members this year as part of the Company’s #BuildACareerWithoutLimits campaign. The campaign is an initiative that encourages young people, apprentices and students to consider working with a builders’ merchant or a building materials’ manufacturer.

With pressure to improve our carbon footprint and adopt sustainable practices at home and in business, young people are looking at industries and organisations that set the standard. The new award gives our sector the opportunity to promote sustainability, resource efficiency and environmental best practice to young talent our industry needs for the future.

Mike comments: “This annual event is a fantastic occasion and it was a pleasure to be one of the first supplier members to be recognised for this award. The increasing threat of climate change is a daily reminder that we need to change how we operate as businesses. We are continually looking at ways to offset our carbon emissions and improve our environmental impact.

“We are focusing on recycling all product waste, primarily glass and aluminium, and testing the most fuel-efficient models for our distribution fleet,” continues Mike. “Recently we held a tree planting event at a local school, planting 200 trees as part of our offsetting programme. It’s an exciting journey and one that requires combined effort. So, we’re encouraging other manufacturers in our sector to follow our lead.”

For more information visit call 01684 853870.

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.

Showroom success for Lakes with Jewson

National builders’ merchant Jewson has recently updated its showroom in Flitwick to include Lakes’ new Bay Series and premium stone resin trays, Lakes Stone. The branch has five Lakes’ displays, which now include the Bay Slider and Lakes Stone in Cotswold Grey.

Lakes is a preferred supplier for showering spaces to Jewson. Its Flitwick branch in Bedfordshire has been supplying Lakes’ products for approximately six years and displaying its Island, Coastline and Classic Collections since the branch revamped its showroom three years ago.

Showroom Manager Paul Roccotiello comments: “Lakes stands out from their competitors as they offer a high-end product at a good price. They also have great selling features such as PureVueHD low iron glass, range of glass thickness, and good roller mechanisms. The products arrive undamaged and with no missing parts and the service is excellent. Our ASM Simon always responds quickly if we have any queries.

“The Lakes Stone shower tray is brilliant too,” adds Paul. “It’s solid and the colour is on-trend. It doesn’t flex and can be built into the ground so it’s ideal for wet rooms. It’s early days but feedback so far has been positive so we are confident it will sell well.”

Bay Series and Lakes Stone were introduced last summer to help merchants and stockists stand out and sell more. Bay, part of Lakes’ Coastline Collection, balances best-in-class functionality and great looks. The distinguished features of this series include softly closing doors, refined hardware, unique interlocking cover caps, concealed covers and a sleek aluminium finish.

The contemporary stone resin trays are available in a choice of three stylish colours and four sizes, designed to suit rectangular showering spaces across all of Lakes’ Collections. The 30mm low profile trays are also anti-slip and anti-bacterial.

Lakes Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam says: “Building strong partnerships with our customers, like we have with Jewson, is very important to us. Showrooms are integral to the showering space market so our focus is on product developments that help our customers create stunning displays and achieve the utmost impact.

“It’s easy to focus on just one or two elements of a showering space,” continues Mike, “but the ultimate showering experience comes from a combination of glass, hardware, frame and the floor. So our priority is on delivering high-quality solutions in all these areas so our customers can maximise their sales opportunities.”

For more information on Jewson visit

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.

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.

It’s not a battle between online or offline

It’s not a battle between online or offline

The internet has changed how most of us buy and has influenced our expectations of service, but it’s not the greatest challenge for the bathroom and kitchen supply chain.

Whether we planned it or not, we’re all going on an omnichannel journey. Debates about online buying are often seen as a battle between buying cheap online or buying quality through a traditional outlet or showroom. That may be true of many consumer goods but it’s a misleading picture of big-ticket home improvement markets. It’s not a battle between cheap online or expensive bricks-and-mortar showrooms, it’s about combining them seamlessly to provide an effective omnichannel experience along the whole customer journey. Excitingly, it’s a journey where retailers have a distinct competitive advantage, if they choose to work closely with like-minded supplier partners.

We’ve all come across websites that seriously reduce prices to the point you wonder if they can be making a profit at all. Many consumers automatically research online for the best price, but then it varies by sector. With commodity products and products where we don’t need advice, we might buy online. However when it comes to big-ticket home improvement items it’s about the experience. Consumers may start with researching online, but then they will usually want to speak to an expert to give them the confidence to buy, and find a retailer nearby so they can go and see the product. This is particularly important.

Often the final step in buying higher-value items is about setting our mind at rest by touching the products, asking questions and listening to advice. A showroom gives retailers the chance to do that and show products as they need to be shown, which you can’t do with a website or brochure. That’s a huge competitive advantage, if you use it.

For example, a good display enables you to demonstrate the handles on the shower door are sturdy; that the doors close smoothly and quietly; and that the shower tray doesn’t dip or creak when you stand on it. Customers can also explore the different styles of showering spaces; and check they will fit and suit their bathroom space. You can only do these things effectively in a showroom where you can feel the quality of the product and check out the practical benefits too. Customers will then be ready to buy, in a way that’s convenient to them.

The challenge for brands and retailers is to make this a seamless end-to-end experience which is easy for homeowners. It’s important that customers, however they start their journey, get the same benefits, service and support. Most people use a mix of on and offline, and wherever they began most will buy offline, usually where they find great displays, can touch and see what they’re buying, and benefit from the knowledge and advice of experienced staff to put them at their ease.

The industry may obsess about it but consumers aren’t really thinking about – or interested in – the channel or mix. They’re focused on their journey and they want it to be as smooth and effortless as possible. If we can do that, homeowners will respond enthusiastically and tell their friends who will also try and buy.

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.

Lakes introduces 100% recyclable packaging

Lakes introduces 100% recyclable packaging

Lakes, the leading manufacturer of innovative showering spaces, is the first to introduce new fully-recyclable packaging, designed to reduce its impact on the environment. After months of research and development Lakes’ new product packaging is now 100% eco-friendly.

Lakes’ commitment and focus to improving its impact on the environment is also extending to 100% recycling of all product waste, primarily glass and aluminium, and of all recyclable site and office waste.

The improved packaging alone will remove approximately 2,000 kilometres of banding a year from landfill, and nearly two million pieces of polystyrene.

Lakes’ announcement is timely, following the concerning statistics in the January 2019 Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) report, which reported that 44.3% of plastic consumption in the UK is used in packaging – the main recyclable material in the bathroom industry. Packaging is at the heart of how we can reduce plastic waste, or ensure it is recycled responsibly. Considering that 82% of paper or cardboard is currently recycled, we have some way to go to ensure plastic waste catches up! Lakes is proud to be the first in taking the right step forward.

Mick Evans, Lakes Operations Director, says: “The increasing threat of climate change is a daily reminder that we need to change how we operate as businesses and consumers. We are extremely pleased with this outcome following many months of research and development to improve our packaging in a practical sense, for easier safe handling, and very importantly in reducing the impact on the environment. We hope other manufacturers follow our lead with this.

“We are also working to significantly reduce our overall carbon footprint in 2019 by supporting UK carbon offset projects and Carbon Trust initiatives. It’s an exciting journey in more ways than one, so look out for more updates soon!”



Say hello to the clearly brilliant future of Lakes Bathrooms – Introducing PureVueHD

The wait is finally over.

If all our hints haven’t helped you work it out yet, PureVueHD is a high-quality, optically superior, ‘low-iron’ glass. Before we get into the clear advantages of this new product evolution, we know many of you will have seen low-iron glass before – what you won’t have seen, and what’s going to set the industry alight is the fact the we will be applying PureVueHD glass across our range of enclosures, walk-ins and bathscreens* as standard.

Low-iron glass is available from some manufacturers as an optional upgrade that you could expect to cost you up to 50% more than standard glass. At Lakes we intend to be true to our promise of ‘Superior as standard’ and bring you all the additional clarity that comes with PureVueHD with none of the additional cost.

What makes PureVueHD clearly better?

The standard glass used for all shower enclosures has an iron-oxide content that shows itself as a green tinge that’s most apparent when you view the edge of the glass, tinting everything viewed through it.


PureVueHD Glass

image to show how light is transmitted through low iron glass

Standard Float Glass

image to show how light is transmitted through normal glass

**Figures based on typical standard float glass of 10mm thickness

The tint free nature of PureVueHD lets a person’s design choices in the bathroom shine through, with natural colours, sharpness and enhanced clarity. If by this point you’re still not sold on the clear benefits and exceptional value that PureVueHD provides the best way we can describe it is if you walked into Curry’s and were asked to choose between a standard television or a top of the range HDTV for the same price! The choice is obvious; why wouldn’t you want everything in life to be clearer?

To see your bathroom in its true colours, find out more about PureVueHD

*excludes Mirror and Italia collections

The pursuit of perfection is about to get one big step closer

The bathroom and showering experience is one that has evolved and changed more in style than it has functionality.

The processes and products associated with showering – on the surface – aren’t completely alien from those we recognise from 100 years ago. We say ‘on the surface’ because in actual fact, if you look at the Lakes Bathrooms range, the choice in intelligently designed functionality and materials has advanced to provide a much more bespoke showering experience.

In the last few years’ you would’ve seen advances in new shapes, new door mechanics, increasingly minimal profiles, precision engineered design elements, higher performance materials, AllClear coatings as standard, and even mirror finishes on panels; this year we announce an advancement that we think will make a lasting mark on industry standards.

Hopefully you can tell we are genuinely excited about what we have up our sleeve. Before any wild speculation begins, this announcement isn’t some wildly futuristic heads-up-display on the glass or duel-purpose transforming enclosures (YET!), but it is a push forward that’ll provide consumers with an irresistible design consideration and will force other manufacturers to question their ranges.

Be amongst the first to find out how we are about to improve everyone’s showering experience. Register your interest at

Keeping your showers AllClear

Whenever you’re looking through glossy magazines, catalogues or even checking out peoples bathrooms on film and TV, the shower cubicles always have that impossibly gleaming, fresh out of the showroom shine.

We all know spaces look their best when kept clean and clear, and this is never truer than in bath and shower rooms. Unfortunately this is not always the easiest of undertakings in a space with multiple users.

At Lakes we believe your shower time should be lavished on you, not be spent scrubbing the enclosure, which is why this blog post is about how to achieve that classy showroom shine without the Cinderella style elbow grease.

The combination of our strong dislike of cleaning, our absolute love of luxurious showering experiences and our ability to innovate has led to the AllClear product.

How does it work?

If you looked at an apparently flat sheet of glass under a microscope you would see that standard glass actually has an extremely uneven pitted surface to which water, lime scale and soap scum cling. With every shower this residue builds up becoming more ingrained and this is when the illusion of your glisteningly clean shower becomes a distant memory.

Inspired by nature, the AllClear coating forms an invisible, microscopically smooth shield to prevent this build up of grime.

AllClear’s hydrophobic properties cause water to run off freely, washing away residue and dirt as it goes.


It’s an amazing effect, which has to be seen to be believed.

To witness the full extent of AllClear’s genius check out the little video we produced…

What’s makes it clearly different?

Some manufacturers charge in excess of £100 to apply similar coatings as an optional extra. At Lakes our Classic and Coastline Collections give you the extra benefits of AllClear protection on both sides of the glass at NO EXTRA COST. AllClear is guaranteed to outperform untreated glass for 3 years so you’re free to enjoy every refreshing minute of showering without popping on the marigolds.


When you’re talking about a clean cubicle it’s important to remember it’s not just about financial cost but the cost to the environment. The AllClear coating is truly eco–friendly because it negates the need for the use of harsh chemicals used in cleaning. So to say AllClear is clearly better, would be true even if it was based simply on financial cost or eco impact; with the addition of the fact that AllClear outperforms other coatings on the market, greatly enhancing impact and abrasion resistance, and provides 20% more brilliance, the difference is clear.

Find out more about the AllClear product.