Archives

Lakes Launches ‘Game-Changing’ Modular Walk-In Collection

Lakes Showering Spaces is shaking up the modular shower enclosure market with the launch of a walk-in collection – offering the ultimate in bathroom personalisation across 28 configuration options, six colour finishes and a comprehensive range of 8mm and 10mm glass panel and hardware options.

As the appetite for modular products across construction and in the bathroom sector continues to grow, Lakes’ introduction to the market represents an elevation for our product portfolio.

The modular walk-in range comes in a range of six colour finishes – initially covering silver, matt black, gun metal, brushed nickel and brushed brass, with brushed bronze to follow in the near future.

The versatility of the collection – which we believe offers one of the most customisable options in its field on the market – means it is suitable for recess/alcove, corner and flat wall installations and can be installed onto a shower tray or flush fit directly to a tiled wet room floor, providing accessibility for the specific needs of consumers.

The scope for personalisation offered by a modular range is infinite, with consumers able to choose their glass panels, bracing and stabilising preferences, glass connecting and deflector options and of course, colour finish. 

Lakes Managing Director, Mike Gahir, said: “This is a real game-changing launch for Lakes, we’re incredibly proud to be bringing our reputation for high quality, stylish and installer friendly products into the walk-in market.

“Demand for products that offer personalisation for the consumer while making the lives of bathroom retailers, designers, and specifiers easier is growing all the time and we’re confident that now is the right time for our modular walk-in range to launch.

“Whatever your showering space demand, style need, scale or budget, our intelligent designs and market leading engineering mean there’s a solution for everyone.”

The launch of Lakes modular walk-in collection comes after more than a year in Research & Development and market testing, representing the culmination of a collaborative effort between Lakes’ UK based design and development team and the engineering team at the company’s wholly owned factory.

The range conforms to the most exacting and required UK and European safety and quality standards to offer complete peace of mind, alongside Lake’s lifetime guarantee.

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: https://www.installeronline.co.uk/lakes-extends-wave-range-with-hinge-and-in-line-addition/

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:

https://kbbfocus.com/news/3581-interview-mike-gahir-were-re-establishing-lakes-as-a-market-leader-feature

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.

A Buyer’s Guide to Shower Enclosures

Choosing the right shower enclosure can significantly impact the aesthetics and functionality of your bathroom. With a myriad of options available, selecting the right one for your bathroom requires careful consideration. In this buyer’s guide, Mike Gahir, Lakes Showering Spaces, explores the factors you should keep in mind when choosing the perfect enclosure to suit your bathroom space and personal style.

  1. Consider the space available: Is the shower enclosure for an ensuite or the main family bathroom? This can influence the type of enclosure that’s right for your requirements. It’s also important to take accurate measurements of your bathrooms before you decide which enclosure to choose. You will need to consider all dimensions including ceiling height. You will also need to think carefully about where the enclosure will be installed in the room as this will affect which type you choose. Will it be in the corner of a room or in a central position against the wall?
  1. Budget considerations: Your budget is a crucial factor in the decision-making process. Remember that while premium materials and features can enhance the overall appeal, there are also budget-friendly options available that still offer durability and style.
  1. Style and Aesthetics: The style of your shower enclosure should complement the overall design of your bathroom. Whether you prefer a sleek and modern look or a classic and timeless feel, there’s an enclosure to match your taste. The most common types of enclosures include:

 

Sliding Door: Ideal for smaller bathrooms, sliding doors save space and offer easy access.

 

Quadrant: Quadrants are designed to fit perfectly in the corner of a bathroom or ensuite, making the most of all the space available. They normally come with sliding curved shower doors.

 

Pivot Door: Pivot doors rotate on a pin mechanism at the top and bottom of the door frame. The door opens outwards into the bathroom, but because the far edge of the door swings backwards into the shower, they need less clearance than a hinged door.

 

Hinged Door: A hinged shower door opens into the room – something to consider when planning the layout of your bathroom. Best for spacious bathrooms, hinged doors offer wide access to the shower.

 

Bifold Door: Bi-folds consist of two or more glass panels. Generally, one glass panel is fixed to the shower surround, while the other panels fold in on its hinges. These are a great option when space is at a premium, as the door folds completely into the enclosure.

 

Side Panel: Shower glass side panels are individual glass panels that can be used to create unique shower enclosures. Side panels joined with a door to create a bespoke shower enclosure perfect for your bathroom.

 

Walk-In: The popularity of walk-in and walk-through showers have grown significantly, driven by a desire to achieve a wet room look without the expense of tanking the floor and walls. Comprising a simple glass panel teamed with a low-profile or concealed underfloor shower tray, one end is left open allowing you to ‘walk-in’, or both ends are left open to ‘walk-through.’

 

Frameless: These provide a modern and sleek look with minimal hardware. Planes of clear glass create the illusion of more space with clean lines that flow right the way through.

 

Semi-Frameless: These combine the best of both worlds. A semi-frameless enclosure has framing on each side of the larger piece, but not around the door panel.

  1. Functionality and Accessibility: The functionality of your shower enclosure is paramount. Consider factors such as ease of access, especially if you have family members with mobility concerns. Sliding or pivot doors are great for compact spaces, while walk-in enclosures provide a barrier-free entry. Additionally, think about the cleaning and maintenance requirements of different enclosure types. Frameless enclosures, for example, are not only stylish but also easier to clean due to fewer nooks and crannies.
  1. Maintenance and Cleaning: Shower enclosures are subjected to water and soap residue daily, so ease of cleaning is a vital consideration. Additionally, choosing glass with protective coatings can help prevent water spots and mineral build up, making your cleaning routine more manageable. All Lakes glass enclosures come with AllClear protective coating as standard.
  1. Professional Installation: Unless you’re experienced in DIY projects, it’s recommended that your shower enclosure is professionally installed. Proper installation ensures the enclosure is stable, safe to use and won’t leak.

With the exception of the Prospect Range, which has a 10-year guarantee, all Lakes own manufactured products are back by a unique no-quibble guarantee. Download the brochure www.lakesshoweringspaces.com

Top-Of-The-Range Black Finish Option Added To Lakes ‘Popular’ Wave Collection

Lakes, the leading manufacturer of innovative showering spaces, has updated its popular Wave Collection to include a top-of-the-range high spec black finish option.

The Wave Collection, which was launched in June 2022, is precision engineered to the highest standards, with great attention to detail throughout and has previously been in a contemporary stunning silver finish as standard.

Now, the Lakes team has updated the range to reflect the growing popularity of the use of black in showering spaces – loved by many for its enveloping feel and timeless, sophisticated aesthetic.

The Wave Collection focusses on the use of 8mm glass for a great balance between strength and lightness.

The versatile collection includes most showering space styles and features hinged, quadrant, slider, and bi-fold door options as well as a side panel which can be combined with the hinged, slider and bifold doors.

 

Reassuringly sturdy, while minimising weight to save resources, the strong frames mean there is no compromise in the quality or performance of the showering space, while retaining simplicity and ease of handling for installers when carrying and manoeuvring it into position in confined spaces.

The process of introducing the Wave Black range – which is now stocked by Lakes and available to order – wasn’t simply a case of putting a lick of paint on its current Wave stock.

In line with Lakes’ commitment to quality, the colouration was a focused and detailed operation built around creating a durable finish that would stand the test of time.

Managing Director Bev Brown says: “The ever-changing landscape of bathroom trends is always so exciting to observe and be a part of, but some styles are just timeless.

“Over the last couple of years, it has become clear that black is here to stay; it has transformed from a trend to a staple.

“With that in mind, we wanted to update the Wave range to reflect this, providing an alternative with the highest quality black finish available.

“Attention to detail is important for many homeowners, which is why our Wave Collection design has been developed with precision engineering, allowing customers to achieve the perfect balance of functionality and style.

“The option of Wave in matt black gives customers even more choice and freedom to design their dream showering space.

“This new collection will help refresh showrooms and drive sales for national merchants and stockists.”

All Lakes products are backed by a unique no-quibble guarantee.

To add Lakes’ new Wave Collection to your display, call 01684 853 870.

Download the Wave Collection Here..

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.

‘How To’ Choose the Perfect Shower Enclosure

In order to contribute to a tranquil and relaxing sanctuary environment, a shower enclosure needs to be a number of different things; stylish, practical, built to last and so much more.

Bathroom shapes, sizes and styles can be as unique as the individual customer. This understanding has always underpinned our design process at Lakes, helping to create showering spaces that reflect a varied range of bathrooms and lifestyles through beautifully designed and precision-engineered products that help give ultimate showering experience.

A perfect blend of design and performance is required from all products in the bathroom and a shower enclosure is no different.

Both elements are evolving all of the time, with new styles and trends complemented by fresh innovation to assist with installation and versatility.

The installation process is something manufacturers are always focusing on, to help us better supply you with easy-to-install high quality products. We are also keenly aware of what we can learn from your experiences using our products, which influence our development going forward.

So, how do you choose the perfect shower enclosure for your customer?

First, let’s start with space.

Starting out by focusing on choosing an enclosure suited to the amount of available space you are working with is probably the most crucial piece of advice that we can offer.

Whether you’re working with a large space or are hard pushed for it, making the right decision is helpfully made a lot easier by the range of choices at your disposal.

If you’re hard pushed for space, an over-bath shower and bath screen combination may be the answer, or perhaps a bi-fold door.

The more space you have to play with, the more you are likely to start going down the route of walk-in showers or full wet rooms, where panelling and minimalism are all important.

Once you’ve assessed your space and know which direction you’re going to take, it’s time to start thinking of materials and aesthetics.

Particularly with those smaller, ensuite or awkward spaces, consumers are looking at shower enclosures featuring increased glass and reduced metal to maximise the space they’re working with.

An alternative is to focus on the simplicity of mirrored glass, gives you the added benefit of having a full-length mirror without giving up the space required for one and reflects available light sources naturally to create the illusion of a larger space.

One way to ensure a shower enclosure looks sleek and prestige is choosing the right glass within an enclosure to give a clean and crisp appearance. Lakes’ Ambient and Wave ranges are ideal for this scenario.

Again, it’s important to always focus on the balance of design and performance.

It’s also becoming more and more important to consider multi-Generational options when designing a bathroom space.

There are now around 1.8 million households that span two or more generations, so the number of multigenerational homes is also on the rise.

A wet room is often an ideal solution for all members of the family, whatever their age or capabilities. Maximising the available space in the bathroom, a wet room tends to offer a much larger showering space than a traditional enclosure and has no shower tray threshold to manoeuvre around, avoiding trip hazards for all users.

However, if this isn’t possible due to plumbing restrictions, then a low-profile shower tray that sits at approximately 45mm high could be used instead, providing a more accessible shower entrance than standard height trays.

Low threshold trays make it easy for both young and old users to access the shower, while non-slip trays are a much safer option for vulnerable age groups.

The sustainability of a bathroom design project is another key issue. As installers, it is more than likely that you will be educating consumers on the sustainable credentials of their products – if you want to understand this better for yourself, you can always speak with your merchant.

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 Introduces Wave Brushed Brass Range

Lakes, the leading manufacturer of innovative showering spaces, has expanded its popular Wave Collection to include a high spec brushed brass finish.

After the successful launch of Wave Black earlier in 2023, the popular range’s brushed brass offering is now available, reflecting the growing popularity of the trend amongst designers and homeowners.

The Wave Collection was launched in June 2022 and features hinged, quadrant, slider, and bi-fold door options as well as a side panel which can be combined with the hinged, slider and bifold doors. 

It was initially launched in a contemporary stunning silver finish as standard, with black and now brushed brass offered.

Reassuringly sturdy, while minimising weight to save resources, the Wave collection’s strong frames mean there is no compromise in the quality or performance of the showering space, while retaining simplicity and ease of handling for installers when carrying and manoeuvring it into position in confined spaces. 

The Brushed Brass colouration process was built around creating a durable finish that would stand the test of time, in line with Lakes’ wider commitment to quality.

Managing Director Mike Gahir says: “The Wave collection is precision engineered to the highest standards, with great attention to detail throughout to offer the perfect balance of functionality and style.

“The addition of a brushed brass option to the range is one we are particularly excited about as it is such a sought-after style right now.

“Its popularity has grown consistently over the past few years and it’s here to stay now, so we’re delighted to support our customers across the UK by introducing it to our Wave range.

“We’re looking forward to seeing Wave brushed brass in showrooms across the UK and seeing the final results when installed in homes.”

All Lakes products are backed by a unique no-quibble guarantee. 

To learn more about Wave Brushed Brass, visit lakesshoweringspaces.com/collection/wave/

or call 01684 853 870. 

Lakes Launches ‘Wave Wins Prizes’ Campaign

Merchants and retailers could win major prizes – including a holiday – as part of a new campaign from leading shower enclosure manufacturer Lakes.

To mark the new showroom exclusive Wave Black and Silver range, Lakes is launching its ‘Wave Wins Prizes’ programme for displaying customers, with installers or consumers purchasing either enclosure also in with a chance of winning.

A monthly prize draw from September will see three invoices drawn from Wave sales paid in that month, with winning merchants and retailers able to claim up to £500 of Lakes product and buyers gifted with up to £500 of vouchers for electrical retailer AO.com.

Each purchase of a complete Wave enclosure equals one entry, meaning that merchants and retailers completing multiple purchases will have multiple chances to win.

In addition, a further draw will be held twice a year for all invoiced merchant or retailer sales covering the previous six month period, with a holiday up to the value of £3000 going to a randomly selected winner.

Darren Bedford, Sales Director at Lakes, said: “We’re excited to launch Wave Wins Prizes, which we think is a great way to support Lakes customers and launch our showroom exclusive Wave range with a bang!

“Not only is it a chance to really add an extra layer of excitement to purchasing from our Wave range, it is going to allow us to build a greater connection with customers, which is crucial in everything we do.”

The Wave collection, which was launched in striking matt black earlier this year, strikes a perfect balance between function and stylish design. The collection includes quadrants, hinged doors, slider doors, side panels and bi-fold doors.

The range is set to expand further with the inclusion of a brushed brass option for customers launching in Q3 of 2023.

Lakes’ Operations Director comments feature in Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) Q2 2021 report

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 www.bmbi.co.uk

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.

Lakes and Heinz UK: Why should baths have all the fun?

With Comic Relief once again set to raise much-needed funds for charitable causes, there will be the usual range of weird and whacky fundraising ideas happening across the country. One of the most iconic, is the eponymous sitting in a bath of Heinz baked beans. But this year, Lakes Showering Spaces and Heinz UK are asking why should baths have all the fun in the name of charity?

The debate between baths and showers has raged for years, and won’t be settled anytime, soon, but with a fantastic walk-in showering space called the Cannes, Lakes spotted their chance, and have taken it, aiming to raise funds for Comic Relief in the process.

This March, anyone who tweets Lakes (@LakesForLife) using #CannesOfBeanz and guessing how many cans of Heinz beans fit into their Cannes walk-in shower (pictured) will generate a £10 donation from Lakes to Comic Relief.

Lakes have mocked up what the Cannes enclosure would look like using the 1,200mm panel and the showering space’s maximum depth of 1,000mm. With a 2m height, the question in how many standard tins of Heinz Baked Beanz would fit inside the showering space?

Managing Director, Bev Brown, says: “Lakes loves to raise money for good causes, and this year we thought we’d do something a bit different. Everyone has had a hard couple of years, and sometimes doing something a bit silly to raise awareness of good causes and much-needed donations is just what is needed.

“We’d like to thank Heinz UK for working with us on this campaign, and we hope that all our media partners, merchants, retailers and colleagues across the sector will join in the fun for a good cause and let us know how many cans they think would fit inside the Cannes walk-in.

“It’s a fantastic cause, so get tweeting and let us know you’re supporting Comic Relief too.”

Any tweets tagging Lakes and Heinz UK (@HeinzUK) using the hashtag #CannesOfBeanz will trigger a donation of £10 to Comic Relief.

Lakes sponsors PHG charity cycle ride

Lakes has a strong tradition of helping out good causes, and when PHG Plumbing and Heating Group asked us to sponsor the PHG Revolution 150 Charity Cycle Ride, it was an easy decision.

The 150 mile cycle ride took place in early October and raised vital funds for Surfers Against Sewage and The Woodland Trust charities – two great causes which help the war on plastic pollution and the carbon crisis, causes that Lakes has long been fighting for.

In total more than 70 riders took part and between them raised £124,000, which will give a significant boost to these charities and help their fantastic work going forward.

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 www.bmbi.co.uk

 

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 www.bmbi.co.uk.

 

Driving down emissions

As a company, Lakes has been on a mission to strengthen its green credentials: reducing the quantity of packaging and improving the recyclability of what we still use; supporting the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and, for some time, we have been working with Carbon Footprint Ltd to offset the carbon emissions we produce, all of which we are proud to say gives us Carbon Neutral Plus status.

The latest move we’ve taken to reduce CO2 emissions involves switching company vehicles from internal combustion to battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Board Director, Mike Gahir, and new National Sales Manager, Darren Bedford, have both opted for BEVs as their company cars. Mike chose a Tesla Model 3 long range, while Darren recently took delivery of a Polestar 2.

The Tesla is best-in-class with an impressive 360 miles of range on a full charge, making it incredibly practical. Polestar meanwhile is a company owned by Volvo, that, like Tesla, only makes BEVs. The Polestar 2 is the latest model from the Swedish company and while the range is marginally lower than the Tesla, at up to 335 miles, both will get you from Lakes’ Tewkesbury office to Glasgow on a single charge!

We have also installed fast charging points for staff and visitors at the Tewkesbury offices, meaning we’re always fully charged and ready to go.

While we’ve done more than some, we’re still striving to do more and have big plans for the future, but more news of that will come in the following months.

For now, we can share that we will continue to maintain our Carbon Neutral Plus status, thus continuing to offset more CO2 emissions than we generate in a bid to try to redress some of the damage that emissions cause.

It’s a small step, but a significant one, and one that we hope our partners and customers will follow.

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 www.bmbi.co.uk

 

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 www.bmbi.co.uk.

 

Extraordinary recovery for builders’ merchants’ sales

In the latest Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) report published in May, Britain’s Builders’ Merchants continued to report strong growth in Q1 2021, with total value sales up 8.6% compared to the previous quarter and 15.1% up on Q1 2020. Removing the effects of Covid, results are still positive, with merchants reporting an increase of 6.0% in Q1 2021 on Q1 2019.

Growth was fuelled by a bumper March, with total sales up 47.4% on March 2020 and by a no less extraordinary 23.0% compared to the same month in 2019. Sales for Kitchens & Bathrooms were up 18.7% on March 2020 but down slightly by 1% on March 2019.

Outdoor categories, particularly Landscaping and Timber & Joinery products, experienced exceptional first quarter growth. Landscaping sales were 41.4% up on Q1 2020 and an astonishing 32.3% up on Q1 2019. Over the same periods, Timber & Joinery Products was up 30.5% and 15.8% respectively.

However, for indoor trades like Kitchens & Bathrooms, where Covid restrictions has impacted the rate of recovery in these sectors, sales were down -1.8% on Q1 2020. Month-on-month, however, it was a positive picture, with sales up 12.3% in March compared to February.

Index

The BMBI index for Q1 2021 was 120.7. Timber & Joinery Products and Landscaping were the strongest categories, each at 141.5. For Kitchens & Bathrooms the Q1 index was 107.5.

Download the BMBI Q1 report here.

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 www.bmbi.co.uk.

 

Covid-19 Company Update: December 2020

From 2nd December 2020, the new tiered guidelines for England still state that those that can, should work from home.  Therefore, branch visits by our Area Sales Managers will be by appointment only and for specific requirements. They will otherwise be working from home and remain available by phone, email or Zoom, whichever suits you best.

As part of the manufacturing and construction sectors, our office and warehouse at Tewkesbury HQ remain fully open with safety measures in place. We will continue to fulfil orders in the usual way and deliver nationwide. Our service engineers remain available too.

To place an order or for any enquiries, call our team on 01684 853870 or email info@lakesshoweringspaces.com.

Stay Alert. Stay Safe.

Bev Brown, Managing Director

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

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.

Quarter-on-quarter

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%).

Year-on-year

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%.

Month-on-month

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.

Index

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 www.bmbi.co.uk

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.”

Lakes & Graham draw support for The Nelson Trust

We recently joined forces with national merchant Graham to arrange the supply and installation of new showering facilities at a women’s centre in Gloucester. The Nelson Trust is a safe haven for vulnerable women affected by abuse, addiction and trauma, with four centres across the South West. The centres are a lifeline for many women as well as providing basic comforts such showering and washing amenities.

We initiated the support with the donation of a showering space and tray and turned to Graham for help with the installation. Using its in-house team of designers and Elite installer network, Graham arranged for all the design, plumbing and fitting. But it didn’t stop there. Graham then approached other suppliers too and support for the Trust grew with donations of furniture and sanitaryware from Roper Rhodes, Bluetooth ceiling light, grab rails and shower seat from HiB Ltd, wall panelling and flooring from International Decorative Surfaces (IDS) and additional consumables, including a towel warmer, from Graham’s Evesham branch.

Lisa Newman from The Nelson Trust comments: “We were kindly approached by Mike Tattam from Lakes when he heard about our need for a new shower in our Gloucester Women’s centre. Mike took time out to show us around Lakes showroom in Tewkesbury and explain the benefits of each showering space so we could choose one that would best support the need of our clients. Accessibility, safety and maintenance were key criteria so it was really helpful to see the range of options.

“Offering showers at our centres is one of our basic support services but it’s also quite often an entry point into someone starting to care about themselves more, and an opportunity for us to show them other ways in which the centre can help them. It’s easy to take showers for granted, but for many women who visit our centre a shower is a luxury. I can’t tell you just how much of a gift all of this is to us and all our clients. A huge thanks from us all.”

Our Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Tattam, adds: “It’s an honour to support the Nelson Trust and to highlight the efforts of smaller charities, who do a tremendous job in supporting local communities. It’s challenging times for everyone at the moment, so it’s more important than ever that people feel there are safe places they can turn to in their hour of need. Our combined efforts and charitable giving is testament to the great industry we work in. An industry that cares and always goes the extra mile to deliver.”

Find out more about The Nelson Trust at www.nelsontrust.com. If you’d like to support the Trust visit www.justgiving.com/thenelsontrust.

Define the showering space with new Lakes Definitions

We have launched Lakes Definitions – a new colour range of shower door handles and profile caps. The contemporary suite meets a growing demand from homeowners to personalise their bathroom or showering space with complementary accessories.

Lakes Definitions was developed for our new showroom exclusive Antigua and Aruba showering spaces, from our premium Island Collection. The high quality cast handles and stylish caps are available in four on-trend colour options – gold, rose gold, nickel and matt black. They can also be fitted retrospectively, making it easy to change colours at any point to match new bathroom furniture.

 

Our Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam, comments: “This latest development is part of our ongoing strategy to help drive new high margin opportunities for our merchant and stockist customers. Colour is increasingly important for home improvements and Lakes Definitions allows homeowners to personalise their complete showering space to suit their bathroom style. Making the new handle and caps easy to change at any point was important too, providing a flexible choice for bathroom renovations.

“Small touches can often make a big difference,” adds Mike. “We’re very excited about this latest development and early indications show that our customers love it too, with many adding it to their showroom displays straight away. Rose gold and matt black appear to be particular favourites!”

For more information on Lakes Definitions visit here or call our sales team on 01684 853 870.

Covid-19 Update: 3rd November 2020

As from the 5th November 2020, new lockdown rules for England means all branch visits by our Area Sales Managers will be suspended for the duration of the lockdown period and until new guidance is issued. Our external sales team will be working from home and available by phone, email or Zoom. They look forward to talking to customers in whichever way suits you best. Contact details for all our ASMs can be found here.

With manufacturing and construction work allowed to continue over this period, our office and warehouse at Tewkesbury HQ remain fully open with safety measures in place. This ensures we can still provide for our stockist customers and their customer projects. We will continue to fulfil orders in the usual way and deliver nationwide. Our showroom is closed to the public.

Building work in people’s home can also continue, so our service engineers remain available and will be working in accordance to Government advice as detailed in our ‘Safe Working in the Home’ guides, ensuring their safety and that of homeowners, available to download here.

Like many businesses, we are doing our very best to maintain our excellent service levels while managing an evolving situation. We will continue to review the situation daily and keep you updated on further developments as they occur.

To place an order or for any enquiries, call our team on 01684 853870 or email info@lakesshoweringspaces.com.

If you have any questions, please contact me in the normal way.

Thank you for your continued support and stay safe.
Bev Brown, Managing Director

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 http://www.cmawards.co.uk/

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.

Team Lakes joins the Wednesday Wave!

The Wednesday Wave is a new initiative launched in October by Vamos Theatre in Worcester aimed at lifting the spirits of those in care homes and or those feeling isolated in their homes during the covid-19 pandemic.

Taking place every Wednesday at 3pm, the national campaign encourages people to wave to those who have placed a Wednesday Wave poster in their window.

Lakes is proud to support the campaign, knowing that each wave will go a long way to helping people know they are not alone.

Find out more about the initiative here and join in.

 

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.

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.

Lakes endorses BMF’s support on Green Homes Grant Scheme

Sustainability is high on most people’s agenda and this includes improving the thermal efficiency of our homes and buildings.

As a carbon neutral organisation we’re pleased to see the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) working in partnership with Trustmark to support the new Green Homes Grant Scheme.

The scheme will see the government give over 600,000 homeowners in England a voucher that covers two-thirds of the cost of qualifying energy efficiency or low carbon heating improvements to their home. The voucher is worth up to £5,000 for most, and £10,000 for some. The following insulation measures, that could help families save up to £600 a year on their energy bills, are covered by the voucher:

  • solid wall
  • under floor
  • cavity wall
  • loft
  • flat roof
  • room in roof
  • insulating a park home

The Government is urging tradespeople to sign up for TrustMark accreditation in a drive to support 100,000 new jobs to fulfil the new energy efficiency scheme, and to ensure that homeowners can be confident of the quality of both the materials and the workmanship of projects completed under the new scheme.

Find out more here.

Lakes launches stunning ‘showroom exclusive’ showering spaces

We have added two stunning ‘showroom exclusive’ showering spaces – Antigua and Aruba – to our premium Island Collection. The exciting new products are designed to help stockist customers maximise sales and create real wow in their displays as they reopen their showrooms.

The Antigua is an elegant 2-metre high slider with high specification design, while the Aruba has all the features of the Antigua with the addition of a side panel.

The Antigua Slider has got it all: an easy-glide door that closes effortlessly at the touch of a finger to a near-silent stop; concealed wheels for easy cleaning and a cooler look; a low threshold for easy and safe access, and a solid cast handle with smooth, rounded edges for supreme elegance. There’s an ultra slim gap between the fixed panel and sliding door, and a discreet Quick Release mechanism for the best in practical and aesthetic appeal. With its side panel, the Aruba adds the flexibility of a stylish showering space that’s ideal for corner settings. Both products have Lakes Glass – PureVueHD low-iron glass for superior clarity and AllClear® advanced glass coating for long-life looks. Glass thickness is 8mm.

Antigua and Aruba are designed with Lakes Definitions, the exclusive perfect finishing touch. Lakes Definitions is a new range of handle colours with matching profile caps, available in stunning rose gold, gold, nickel and matt black, with chrome as standard.

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam says: “Attention to detail is a strong focus of our new product development and the Antigua and Aruba combine the best in performance and design. With a surge in home improvement activity and a shift to multi-generational households, we’re confident these new ‘showroom exclusive’ products will achieve maximum impact in showrooms and give our stockists more opportunities to sell showering spaces for today’s lifestyles.”

All of Lakes products are backed by a unique lifetime guarantee. To add Lakes’ new Antigua and Aruba to your display, call 01684 853 870. Download the brochure here.

Builders’ Merchants’ Q2 sales: A tale of resilience and recovery

The BMBI results for Quarter 2 show the phenomenal resilience of the sector in action. April, May and June couldn’t have been more different. April, in almost full lockdown, fell -76.5% year-on-year, May recovered to -39.9% as restrictions started to ease, and June grew +2.2%, helped by two more trading days this year, more relaxed restrictions and a booming Landscaping category.

Year-on-year

Total Builders Merchants value sales in Q2 2020 (unadjusted for trading days) fell -38.6% compared with the same period in 2019.

Landscaping the strongest performer, was down -13.3% over the same period. Tools was weakest (-58.6%), followed by Kitchens & Bathrooms (-57.9%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-53.1%).

Quarter-on-quarter

Total value sales dropped by -27.2% in Q2 2020 compared with the previous quarter. All categories declined except for Landscaping (+38.7%). Kitchens & Bathrooms was down -55.8%.

Month-on-month

June improved with total value sales +2.2% up on May. Landscaping showed the biggest category surge over this period, up a blistering +50.3%. Sales were still negative in most categories, but returning, with Kitchens & Bathroom sales recovering to -22.5%.

Index

The quarterly BMBI index for Total Builders Merchants was 76.4, with Landscaping ahead of all categories at 138.8. The index for Kitchens & Bathrooms was 48.4.

Mike Tattam, Sales & Marketing Director Lakes and BMBI Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, comments: “Lockdown had a dramatic effect on all areas of construction. But after the initial shock in April, the recovery has been faster than forecast. The industry is positive, however the market is understandably cautious. Is this a V-shaped recovery driven by pent-up demand or the W-recovery predicted by economists who expect lots of downward pulls from regional lockdowns, mass unemployment, consumers switching to save not spend, and a still up-in-the-air Brexit throwing a spanner in the works?

“We’ve all learned the value of strong supply partnerships in this pandemic, with manufacturers working hard with merchants to overcome supply chain constraints, while working safely and communicating clearly.

“Merchants are adapting quickly to this new normal, converting traditional call and collect business models into click and collect, and setting up transactional sites as quickly as they can. Our personal purchasing behaviours changed almost overnight during lockdown, and since then many merchants and manufacturers have looked more closely at including online in the mix.

“Yet online selling doesn’t work as well for higher-ticket or complicated products where people don’t always know the questions they need to ask and need expert assistance to guide them. They want to see how products work and want to feel the differences between different qualities and price, and they like the reassurance of proximity for the confidence and convenience of an accessible after sales service.

“Not all merchants have the deep pockets to invest in the right retail technology and the scale to succeed, but an omnichannel strategy with online and offline combined is very effective in playing to merchants’ local strengths.

“The steps and sequence of the customer journey may have changed, but we mustn’t underestimate the value of human interactions in that journey. The future of showrooms is 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.”

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

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 www.fayers.co.uk/products and www.justaddwater.co.uk/products. To find out how your business can benefit, call Lakes on 01684 853 870.

COVID-19 Update: September 2020

Working to government guidelines, our office at Tewkesbury HQ is now fully open with safety measures in place. This includes our showroom, which is open by appointment to trade customers only.

We’re also pleased to welcome back our Area Sales Managers, who have lots of exciting news to share with customers to help them maximise sales in a post-Covid world. These include Lakes Partners, Online Showrooms and our latest collection of Showroom Exclusive products. Our team is happy to make appointments to meet customers, but we also understand that as we continue to adjust to a new normal, customers may prefer a call or Zoom meeting instead. Whether by call, email or virtual, our ASMs look forward to catching up whichever way suits you best. You can find their contact details here: lakesshoweringspaces.com/news/meet-the-lakes-sales-team

We will continue to review the situation daily and keep you updated on further developments as they occur.

To place an order or for any enquiries, call our team on 01684 853870 or email info@lakesshoweringspaces.com.

If you have any questions, please contact me in the normal way.

Thank you for your continued support.

Bev Brown

Managing Director

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 bathroom-association.org. 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 www.worksafesafework.info. 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 www.bmjindustryawards.co.uk

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 grahamdirect.co.uk and bathroom-showrooms.co.uk. To find out more and how your business can benefit, call Lakes on 01684 853 870.

COVID-19 Update: June 2020

With the lockdown easing and new safety measures in place, our office at Tewkesbury HQ has now reopened, with additional support teams continuing to work from home. Our showroom has also reopened by appointment to trade customers only. We are currently unable to offer customer collections. We will continue to review the situation daily and keep you updated on further developments as they occur.

Our business has remained operational during lockdown with office staff working from home to ensure we could still provide for customers and projects that needed us. Like many businesses, we are doing our very best to maintain our excellent service levels while managing a developing situation. We continue to fulfil orders for our stockists and deliver nationwide.

To place an order or for any enquiries, call our team on 01684 853870 or email info@lakesshoweringspaces.com.

If you have any questions, please contact me in the normal way.

Thank you for your continued support.

 

Bev Brown

Managing Director

A large profitable market you may be overlooking

With multi-generational living on the rise, we expect greater demand for housing that reflects this strong trend. Displaying showering spaces that cater for different needs within the same household will be increasingly important, says Sales & Marketing Director and BMBI Expert Mike Tattam.

Recent research for the NHBC Foundation[1] by the Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research (CCHPR) finds that 1.8 million UK households now include two or more adult generations. That’s 38% up since 2009. Drivers include providing support for older family members, a lack of affordable retirement homes, as well as sons and daughters returning to live with their parents, and the high cost of housing.

The demographics of an ageing population will have an increasing impact. According to the ONS, there are currently 11.8 million over 65s in the UK. They are forecast to rise to 18.5 million by 2040. The return of millennials to live with their parents is a big driver too. The Resolution Foundation says about 20% of 25-34-year-olds live with their parents, compared with 16% in 1991. With a shortage of new homes being built, worsening affordability, and rising rentals, it’s clear why young people are returning to live with parents.

When social distancing measures for Covid-19 are relaxed and normal life resumes, these factors will still be in the driving seat. Multigenerational living is baked into the next 20 years and will be a strong driver for many home improvement sectors. The number of homes being converted to adapt to multigenerational living is currently around 125,000 a year[2]. Loft or basement conversions, extensions and separate living annexes improve your living space, and allows for greater privacy and independence.

The bathroom is one of the most used rooms in a house. With more people living under one roof and sharing bathroom spaces, it’s more important that showering spaces and bathroom furniture are robust, low maintenance, easy to clean, safe and adaptable for different needs from young children to the less mobile, or ageing parents.

Two key considerations for a multigenerational bathroom are improved accessibility, without compromising on style, and maintenance.

Accessibility with style

Multi-generational houses need practical solutions to ensure older parents or people with access or agility problems enjoy a safe and invigorating shower. Typically these adaptations are clunky or utilitarian white, glossy plastic without refinement. But they don’t need to be, and it’s not what this new market is looking for. A new generation of multi-generational products are smart, stylish and unobtrusive, well matched to the popular spa-like modern bathrooms.

Walk-ins with a low threshold tray are increasingly popular, creating an open, stylish space to reduce slips, trips and falls. There’s a growing trend for premium, stone-resin trays that are non-slip and feel great under your feet – ideal for wet rooms where the bath is removed for ultimate accessibility. An integrated shower seat provides a seamless finish to a comfortable and safe showering experience, or a discreet, foldaway shower seat and grab rail attached to the wall for a perfect uncluttered look.

Sparkle & shine

Showering spaces are mainly glass, and with Covid-19 making us more conscious about keeping our hands and surfaces clean, the last thing you want to be doing is spending a lot of time wiping away the build-up of scum and scale after every shower, and for every shower in the house. ‘Hard work’ showering spaces quickly lose their appeal.

Innovations like AllClear® from Lakes Glass – an advanced nano-coated glass coating on both sides of the glass – ensures that water, limescale and soap scum slide off the glass rather than sticking to it with a simple wipe using a damp cloth. AllClear® is also 10 times more scratch resistant than normal glass, so it can handle whatever families throws at it.

Quality sliding shower doors also have a ‘quick release’ function at the base to make it easy to clean around the hard to reach areas. Many homeowners are unaware of this, and while not revolutionary, it’s an appreciated benefit when it’s pointed out.

Selling style & practicality

Multi-generational living is not a specialist market: it’s a big and growing trend, which affects everybody. Engaging with it, asking questions about lifestyle, and getting to know what people want and need gives merchants a competitive edge. These consumers are not looking for ‘cheap and cheerful’ solutions. Grandparents moving in with children generally have the money and time to shop for products with the convenience and practicality they need, and the higher-end style they expect.

As the COVID-19 lockdown eases and showrooms slowly reopen, make sure yours are ready with designs for multi-generational living to encourage conversation and new selling opportunities.

Discover Lakes Additions here, our growing range of additional options for showering spaces to suit today’s lifestyles, or Walk-Ins for flexible solutions without compromising on style or design.

For more information or to take advantage of our range in your showrooms, call our sales team on 01684 853870.

 

[1] www.cchpr.landecon.cam.ac.uk/Research/Start-Year/2015/Multi-generational-living-potential-opportunities-for-house-building-sector/OutputTemplate/multigenerational_living_final_report

[2] www.cbre.co.uk/research-and-reports/our-cities/multi-generational-housing

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.

Year-on-year

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%.

Quarter-on-quarter

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%).

Index

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 www.bmbi.co.uk.

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’ delivers for Covid-19 hospital

Lakes was proud to support the NHS with the delivery of bi-fold showering spaces to the Royal London Hospital. Supplied by bathrooms and washrooms specialists Neville Lumb, Lakes showering spaces contributed to a project to turn two out-of-use floors at the hospital into nearly 180 beds for Covid-19 patients.

The project, led by main contractor Wates, is being delivered in another record time of less than five weeks after it began. Up to 600 people have been working 24 hours a day, in two 12-hour shifts patterns to get the job done that would normally have taken 12 months to complete. The two floors also includes 117 clinical support rooms.

Lakes Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam comments: “It’s without doubt a very challenging time for many people and businesses across all sectors. No-one could have foreseen the extent of impact this pandemic would have on families and industries. But I’m extremely proud to be part of a sector that has truly risen to the occasion. Across our supply chains we have seen immense effort from manufacturers through to distributors and contractors, working hard to deliver on essential projects in order to protect our NHS and give patients affected by Covid the best possible care.

“It’s an absolute honour to have played a part in this industry-wide effort,” ends Mike.

In a short video to the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA), Mike summarises Lakes’ involvement in this project. Watch the video here.

Image courtesy of Creative Commons license

Top bathroom trends to watch!

Although some bathroom projects may have gone on hold during the Covid-19 lockdown, it’s important to stay ahead of key bathroom trends for when showrooms are back open and your customers are eager to get their home improvement projects started again…

There’s no doubt buying habits have changed and the lockdown may influence further changes, but showrooms will remain important for high-ticket purchases. Customers will start with researching products and styles online, but then when they’re ready, they will want to experience how the products look and feel ‘in the flesh’ and they will want the advice of an expert to put their minds at rest before they buy.

Helping customers choose the the right showering space for their bathroom, styles and lives requires a two-way conversation to find out their priorities and suggest solutions.

We have identified 5 bathroom trends to watch this year to make sure you and your displays can make the most of new selling opportunities #OnceThingsGetBackToNormal.

Trend 1: Rise of the luxury shower

Increasingly, people prefer a shower to a bath. Showers suit busy lives and they’re quicker and more efficient. Showering is also replacing bathing as a time to relax, refresh and renew, away from the stresses of the day or noisy kids.

Homeowners are looking for a spa-like experience where relaxation is almost as important as getting clean. When you get into your showering space, you don’t want to experience juddering or slamming shower doors, uncomfortable, hard to operate handles or a slippery tray. Small finishing touches make a big difference and we see softly closing doors and sleek, solid handles as strong upcoming trends – as well as affordable luxurious elements such as anti-slip stone resin trays.

Take a look at our precision-engineered Bay Series as an example. The distinguished features of this range include whisper-quiet doors, refined hardware, unique interlocking cover caps and a sleek aluminium finish.

Lakes Stone, our premium quality stone resin trays, are low-threshold, anti-slip and anti-bacterial. A non-porous surface prevents mould or bacteria forming in the joints or beneath the surface – a quick wipe is all that is required to keep the trays clean and looking good. These trays are available in three on-trend colours.

Once you accept that people look for ‘me time’ in their showers, then the whole experience matters. Showering Spaces need to look beautiful and suit the space and lifestyles of the people that use them.

Trend 2: Showering Spaces for multi-generational living 

For many years now, kitchens have been designed around family lifestyles, and this trend is gaining momentum in bathrooms.

NHBC reports that 1.8 million UK households now include two or more adult generations. That’s 38% up since 2009. And according to the ONS, there are currently 11.8 million over 65s in the UK. They are forecast to rise to 18.5 million by 2040. The return of millennials to live with their parents is a big driver too. With a shortage of new homes being built, worsening affordability, and rising rentals, it’s clear why young people are returning to live with parents.

The number of homes being converted to adapt to multigenerational living is currently around 125,000 a year. When social distancing measures for Covid-19 are relaxed and normal life resumes, this trend will still be in the driving seat.

More people under one roof means the bathroom will be one of the most used rooms in the house. Bathroom furniture and products therefore need to be robust, low maintenance, easy to clean, safe and adaptable to different needs.

A new generation of ‘multi-generational’ products are smart, elegant and unobtrusive, fitting with the spa-like modern bathroom that both parents and kids look for.

For example…

  • Grandparents may require a shower seat attached to the wall so they can shower safely and comfortably, but then it folds away for an uncluttered look.
  • A showering space with an integrated shower seat provides the perfect blend in seamless design and practicality so customers can enjoy that much sought relaxing shower.
  • For the ultimate in accessibility and style is a low-threshold walk-in with a non-slip premium stone resin tray, creating an open space to suit the whole family. View our Collection of Walk-In showering spaces.

 

Trend 3: Environmentally friendly 

Homeowners are now more likely to buy and pay more for products that are demonstrably eco-friendly. That’s one reason Lakes invested in becoming a certified carbon neutral company. It’s the right thing to do, but homeowners also want to be comfortable buying from companies who are demonstrably considerate of the environment.

Make sure your environmental credentials and those of your suppliers are clearly displayed in your showrooms and POS.

Trend 4: Low maintenance glass

With limited hours in a day, homeowners look for products that are durable and low maintenance. Showering spaces are mainly glass, and the last thing you want to be doing is wiping away the build of scum and scale after every shower. ‘Hard work’ showering spaces lose their appeal when you have to keep the glass clean and looking good.

Innovations like AllClear® advanced nano-coating from Lakes Glass ensure water, limescale and soap scum slide off the glass rather than sticking to it. This advanced technology creates a more hygienic Showering Space as the coating forms an invisible, microscopically smooth shield to prevent the build-up of grime – a simple wipe using a damp cloth is all that’s needed.

Uniquely, AllClear from Lakes Glass is applied to both sides of the glass as standard.

Watch our video and learn about the science and magic of AllClear.

Trend 5: Smart living 

It’s early days, but smart homes are fast becoming a reality and we’re seeing showers and bathrooms part of this revolution. Weary travellers who have battled the traffic and tube and sweated their way home in standing-room-only crowded trains dream of walking straight through the front door, peeling their clothes off in the bathroom and stepping into the calmness of their showering space and under a hot running shower.

Changing lifestyles and buying habits are great sales opportunities for bathroom stockists to blow customers away with on-trend displays and expert knowledge. So #OnceThingsGetBackToNormal give our team a call to find out how we can help you make the most of these #topbathroomtrends.

In the meantime, stay safe and stay home!

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!”

Customer Notice – COVID-19 Update 27th March 2020

COVID-19 Update 27th March 2020

To ensure our staff stay well and safe, we have made the decision to close our Tewkesbury HQ fully until further notice. This includes our office, showroom and warehouse. We will review the situation daily but for now, it’s important we follow Government advice to stay at home.

We are supporting our teams through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and are proud and appreciative of their understanding at what is a difficult time for everyone. Some members of staff have already volunteered to help the NHS in any way they can.

We remain committed to providing customers with order fulfilment and deliveries, so a select group of our office staff continue to work normally and safely from their homes. Office lines are redirected and hopefully you won’t notice any difference.

So if you have a query or would like to place an order, then you can contact us through the usual landline number 01684 853870. You can also email us at info@lakesshoweringspaces.com or customerservice@lakesshoweringspaces.com.

While our Tewkesbury warehouse remains closed, all orders will continue to be delivered on a national basis.

Like many businesses, we are doing our very best to maintain a level of service while managing a developing situation. We will monitor the daily announcements so we can adapt to changes and we will keep you fully updated.

If you have any questions, please contact me in the normal way.

Thank you for your continued support.

All the best.

Bev Brown, Managing Director

Lakes Showering Spaces

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.

New Lakes Partners: helping stockists sell more

Lakes is launching Lakes Partners – a mutually beneficial partnership programme that helps stockists sell more.

Lakes Partners is built on a new Customer Commitment Charter, developed to drive awareness and demand for Lakes’ stockist partners, along with new service and support initiatives to help customers grow their business profitably and sustainably.

We believe every stockist is different, with different resources, ambitions and potential, so the Charter is designed to match each stockist’s capacity, ambition, activity and commitment, to Lakes’ ambition, activity and commitment. This close-matching enables both to take advantage of the long-term growth opportunities in the showering space market. The partnership is based on an increasing scale of benefits and loyalty: the more Lakes Partners commit, the more Lakes commits, and the more each will gain.

Our Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam explains: “Building longstanding partnerships with stockists is at the heart of Lakes’ strategy. Our journey over the last two years has been to help our customers take advantage of big changes in the market and capture a greater share. It has included exciting product developments, new high-quality sales tools, greater emphasis on the importance of showrooms, and influencing how showering spaces are sold so customers make the most of new lifestyle and demographic trends. But because each stockist is different, Lakes Partners takes a graduated approach where both sides are rewarded for their increasing commitment. The more we, and our customers put in, the more each gets out of the partnership.

“Lakes Partners is a joint commitment to develop a long lasting, mutually rewarding, business,” concludes Mike. “Customers who sign up to our new Charter will benefit from Lakes’ leading service and support – including some powerful new business-generating tools – and our investment in product development that will change the market, boost its value, and help customers capture a greater share.”

 

For more on Lakes Partners and how your business can benefit, call 01684 853 870.

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.

Year-on-Year

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-on-Quarter

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%).

Index

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 www.bmbi.co.uk.

Lakes adds new contemporary collection to Lakes Additions

With the significant rise in multi-generational living and changing demographics, Lakes has added a new contemporary collection to its range of shower seats, grab rails and bars. The new Series 500, part of Lakes Additions, includes sleek, foldaway shower seats in a choice of chrome/grey and chrome/white, and smart, chrome grab rails and bars. This latest development is part of Lakes’ drive to encourage stockists to focus on the whole showering space. That means widening the scope and design of displays – beyond the usual elements of glass, style and framing – to promote comfort, confidence in the shower and safety too.

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam explains: “Recent research quotes a 46% increase in multi-generational living in less than a decade as older family members move into their children’s homes, and children stay put or return to their parents’ home. More people of various ages under one roof means the bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the house, adding pressure for showering spaces to be robust, low maintenance, safe and adaptable to different needs.

“Small things can make a big difference to safety and comfort”, Mike adds. “But traditionally, optional extras like shower seats and grab rails haven’t always been the most attractive additions to your bathroom, which may have inhibited sales. Our new Series 500, however, is smart, stylish and discreet, providing all the comfort grandparents or people with limited mobility need without compromising on looks or design.

“For stockists, it’s a great opportunity for add-on sales, helping them capitalise on an important demographic trend. So, make sure to add optional extras like shower seats, bars and grab rails to displays and showrooms and make them a prominent part of how you sell. The displays will subtly prompt customers to talk to you about what they need and give you the opportunity to advise customers on what will work best for their lifestyle or project. They may not ask if they don’t see them on display, thinking they’d have to buy from a limited mobility or assisted living specialist. Displaying them will make it easier for customers to decide and buy,” concludes Mike.

Lakes Additions makes it possible for showering spaces to work for the whole family. The new Series 500 in the range takes it to another level in stylish and discreet designs.

For more information on Lakes Additions, download the 2020 #DesignedForLife brochure here or call our sales team on 01684 853 870.

Lakes continues rebranding journey with new Livery

Since the launch of its new brand in October 2018, Lakes has been busy rolling out its new look in the market and across the business. Among more recent developments has been Lakes’ new updated livery, with a number of ‘standout’ vans now on the road.

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam, comments: “Since our rebranding, we’ve been busy getting our new look out into the market and now onto the roads! The new livery looks fantastic and prominent, reflecting Lakes’ new focus and journey.

“Last year we updated our showroom at our HQ in Tewkesbury and completed a new suite of merchant POS and signage, available free of charge across our customer base. With so many parts of the business to update, it was important to plan and phase the rebranding over a period of time, and I think we’re now almost there!”

Lakes new focus and direction goes beyond the new look. In 2019 it also launched innovative products with the Bay Series and Lakes Stone to add emphasis on the whole showering space. Mike adds: “Helping our customers create outstanding displays and make the most of their showrooms is an important part of our work and one we will continue to push strongly this year.”

For more information call 01684 853870. Follow @LakesForLife on Twitter.

We’re now live on Trustpilot!

 

Tell us about your experience of Lakes on our Trustpilot page. All reviews in the run up to Valentine’s Day will be entered into a free prize draw to win a meal for two at a restaurant of your choice.

 

Terms & Conditions apply. See below.

Lakes Meal for 2 Prize Draw

 TERMS & CONDITIONS

 HOW TO ENTER

  1. The prize draw is open to UK customers only.
  2. Reviews on the Lakes Trustpilot page, up until midnight on Friday 14th February 2020, will be automatically entered into a free prize draw to win one (1) meal for 2 people up to the value of £100
  3. The value will be provided on a gift card for the chosen restaurant
  4. A maximum of 1 entry per person is permitted. Any illegible, incomplete or fraudulent entries will be rejected.
  5. Reviews left on behalf of a company will receive one (1) voucher to be allocated to a person in the company.

THE PRIZE

  1. There is 1 prize available, and the winner will be drawn randomly from all valid entries.
  2. The prize is non-transferable and non-exchangeable and there is no cash alternatives.
  3. The Promoter reserves the right to substitute the prize for one of equal or greater value if required.

THE WINNER

  1. The winner will be contacted via Trustpilot as a reply to the review.
  2. The winner must respond within 28 working days and supply contact details for the gift card to be sent to, and details of the chosen restaurant.

OTHER TERMS

  1. The determination and decision of the Promoter on all matters shall be final and binding and no promotional correspondence will be entered into with entrants.
  2. The Promoter reserves the right at any time to cancel, modify or supersede the competition (including altering prizes) if, in its sole discretion, the Promotion is not capable of being conducted as specified.
  3. Any participant who enters or attempts to enter the competition in a manner, which in the Promoter’s reasonable opinion is contrary to these Terms and Conditions or by its nature is unjust to other entrants (including tampering with the operation of the competition, cheating, hacking, deception or any other unfair playing practices) may be disqualified from the competition at the Promoter’s sole discretion.
  4. Participants will receive no guidance from Lakes on the content of the review.

THE PROMOTER

  1. Brought to you by: Lakes Bathrooms Ltd, Alexandra Way, Ashchurch, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, GL20 8NB

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.

New decade, new #DesignedForLife brochure from Lakes

Lakes, a leading manufacturer of showering spaces and a carbon neutral company, kicks off the new decade with a refreshed #DesignedForLife brochure. Building on Lakes’ key themes of lifestyle imagery and bathroom sets that reflect life as lived, the 2020 brochure includes a new dedicated section for Walk-Ins, the new Bay Series and Lakes Stone launched last summer, and an extended Collection of Lakes Additions.

Lakes Additions 500 Series is a new collection of discreet foldaway shower seats and stylish grab-rails and bars. With a rise in multi-generational living, bathroom and shower manufacturers need solutions to suit a range of lifestyles and needs under one roof. The 500 Series adds safety and comfort without compromising on great looks or design.

Lakes’ brochure is rapidly becoming a powerful sales tools for merchants, stockists and installers. It makes the case for the whole showering space – the glass, tray, hardware, framing and optional extras. This innovative approach is helping Lakes’ customers explain the market easily and effectively, and makes the most of new selling opportunities.

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam comments: “Our brochures don’t just look different from the norm, they are also leading the way in defining the showering space market to give it a purpose and focus so our customers can sell more. From explaining the technical function of shower glass, through to the simple benefits of quick release – a spring mechanism that makes it easy to clean around the base of the shower – our brochure reminds customers of what matters for today’s lifestyle needs. The new brochure has hit the market already and we’re looking forward to its impact!”

For a copy of Lakes’ new 2020 #DesignedForLife brochure call 01684 853 870 or download it here.

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 www.bmbi.co.uk 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 www.jewson.co.uk.

Donation to local foodbank

As a company we place great importance on supporting local charities and highlighting the work they do. So for the third year running we are proud to once again donate to our local foodback in Tewkesbury.

 The foodbank is part of The Trussell Trust group and helps local people facing crisis or hardship.  

 Our MD Bev Brown comments: “The foodbank does a fantastic job, so it was only natural that we would support them again to help those in need. We hope our donation will go some way in providing essentials at what can be a difficult time of year for some people.”  

 Find out more about the foodbank, and see how you can support them too, at www.tewkesbury.foodbank.org.uk

Carbon neutral Lakes plants 200 trees at local school!

Lakes recently attended a tree-planting event at King’s School in Gloucester as part of its commitment to offset carbon emissions produced in the natural day-to-day running of a business. Lakes worked with children from the school, the Headmaster and grounds team to plant over 200 trees on the day, with all of them firmly rooted in one afternoon!

Earlier this year, Lakes was certified a Carbon Neutral Company. The achievement was based on working closely with Carbon Footprint Ltd to look at ways it can offset its carbon emissions produced in the natural day-to-day running of a business. One of the three areas identified was to plant trees, as trees absorb carbon dioxide to produce oxygen.

Mick Evans, Operations Director at Lakes, commented: “The tree-planting was a fantastic team effort, as well as fun, and we’re really pleased with what was achieved on the day. With an increasing focus on waste management and environmental best practice, Lakes is proud to be leading the way in our sector in reducing our carbon footprint. We believe it’s important to raise awareness and encourage more businesses to do the same.”

Lakes’ strong environmental focus started with the introduction of its new 100% recyclable packaging last March. The improved packaging alone will remove approximately 2,000 kilometres of banding a year from landfill, and nearly two million pieces of polystyrene. Lakes’ commitment to improving its impact on the environment extends to 100% recycling of all product waste, primarily glass and aluminium, and of all recyclable site and office waste.

Mick adds: “The increasing threat of climate change is a daily reminder that we need to change how we operate as businesses and consumers. We hope other manufacturers will follow our lead with this.”

Claire Card, Marketing & Communications Manager at King’s School, added: “With climate change a serious concern for all, the King’s School, Gloucester is keen to play its part in the battle against global warming. We are planting 720 trees in total so we were really pleased that Lakes’ staff came along and planted their 200. As well as capturing carbon emissions, the new trees and hedges around the school grounds will provide many other benefits to the children, including improving the air quality, creating outdoor learning spaces, offering nectar for bees and engaging young people with the natural world.”

For more information call 01684 853870.

Merchants’ sales of kitchen and bathroom products grow in Q3

Total Builders’ Merchants’ value sales were down -0.8% in Q3 2019 against the same period last year. The adjusted figure, which takes into account the difference in trading days, was down -2.3% compared with Q3 2018.

Value sales of Heavy Building Materials declined marginally by -0.4% year-on-year with Timber & Joinery sales also falling by -4.7% over the same period. Kitchens & Bathrooms was among the strongest categories with growth of +3.2% in the quarter.

Compared with Q2 2019, Total Builders’ Merchants’ sales saw marginal growth of +0.2% in Q3. However, when adjusted for the four additional trading days in Q3, the figures showed a sales decline of -6.0%, marking the second consecutive quarter with negative growth. Despite a fall in sales of -0.8% on an adjusted basis, the Kitchens & Bathrooms category was the second best performing category quarter-on-quarter.

Month-on-month sales in September were up by +1.0% compared to August on an equal number of trading days, with merchant sales of bathroom and kitchen products slightly more positive at +1.8%.

Mike Tattam, Sales & Marketing Director Lakes, and BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, said: “With political parties outdoing themselves in predicting dire consequences, and politicians and the media flinging large numbers around, it’s no wonder people are uncertain and less confident.

“GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index dropped a further two points in October to -14. The index is calculated as an average of averages from five core questions. The questions are about people’s personal financial situation, based on how it’s changed in the last 12 months and how it’s expected to change in the next 12 months, how the general economic situation has changed and is expected to change, and in view of that, whether now is the right time to make major purchases?

“The gaps between their own situation and their expectations and views of the economy are huge. In October, consumers’ personal financial situation and expectations for the next 12 months are both +1 i.e., still positive, and the Major Purchase Index (which includes most RMI projects) is also +1 so it’s still a good time to buy. But, consumers’ views of how the economy has performed in the last 12 months have tanked (-33), as have their expectations for the next 12 months (-37)! Could there be any clearer demonstration of the negative effect of the grandstanding and self-serving behaviour in parliament and the snide commentary we’ve been exposed to in the national media?

“The Environment Bill that was introduced to Parliament after the Queen’s speech has been parked while we elect a new Government. If enacted, it will set environment targets for the UK. Industry will be required to recycle glass, metal, plastic, paper and card and cover the costs of doing so, including the costs of collecting and transporting the waste. Whether this Bill makes it or not, another will follow so manufacturers need to act now.

“That’s why Lakes recently announced new sustainable packaging to reduce waste. It will also make it safer and easier for our customers and installers to handle large heavy packaging. And it’s why we’re establishing a closed-loop mechanism to bring back packaging waste from stockists and installers to us.”

For the latest insights, download the Q3 BMBI Report here: www.bmbi.co.uk.

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 shortlisted for two Construction Marketing Awards

Lakes shortlisted for two Construction Marketing Awards

The finalists have been announced for the 2019 Construction Marketing Awards (CMAs) and Lakes has been shortlisted for two awards: ‘Best use of Research and Insight’ and ‘Best use of Advertising’ working with MRA Marketing.

In 2018 Lakes commissioned MRA Research, the research division of MRA Marketing, to track awareness, perceptions and insights into the shower enclosure market. The research also looked into trends and changing consumer lifestyles. The results helped define Lakes’ new marketing and business strategy, with clear recommendations and a firm focus on changing the showering landscape and influencing how builders’ merchants and retail stockists sell showering spaces.

The start point was new branding to signal Lakes’ new strategic direction – changing from Lakes Bathrooms to Lakes Showering Spaces. This better defines what Lakes supplies, and emphasises the space that enables the showering experience. A strategic marketing programme that includes PR, advertising, social and digital focuses on changing the direction of the market by making shower enclosures the showroom hero; changing the debate and bathroom landscape; and positioning Lakes as the expert brand and authoritative voice of the market.

Mike Tattam, Sales and Marketing Director at Lakes, comments: “The CMAs showcase the best in construction marketing so to be shortlisted for two awards is fantastic news. We knew working with MRA Research would lead to reliable insights to inform our strategy. Being among the shortlist is recognition of the results achieved and the positive impact the research and MRA’s work is having on our company direction. We’re looking forward to the gala dinner and hopefully we’ll be fortunate enough to win!”

The CMAs are a national measure of excellence in construction marketing and business development, including research and strategy. Winners will be announced at a gala dinner on the 28th November.

For further details on the awards visit http://www.cmawards.co.uk/

Lakes shortlisted for ek&bbusiness Award

Lakes is a finalist for ‘Best PR campaign’ at the ek&bbusiness Awards 2019. The awards are part of essential kitchen & bathroom business – a monthly publication targeted at kitchen and bathroom retailers, manufacturers, distributors, designers and new-build specifiers. The annual awards bring together professionals from all corners of the KBB industry with winners announced at a gala dinner in London on the 28th November.

In 2018 we embarked on a new strategic PR programme to re-define the showering space and change perceptions. We started by redesigning our logo and changing our name from Lakes Bathrooms to Lakes Showering Spaces. This better defines what we make, and puts the emphasis on the space that enables the showering experience. A proactive PR programme soon followed, positioning Lakes as a thought-leader and the authoritative voice of the market on key trends and issues.

Mike Tattam, Sales & Marketing Director, says: “Our shift in strategy was the result of extensive research, and it is being reflected across all our marketing communications. It’s the first time Lakes has been nominated for a KBB award and we are looking forward to the ceremony in November. We wish all the finalists the best of luck!”

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’ new recyclable packaging shortlisted for UFEMAT award

Lakes new 100% recyclable packaging has been shortlisted for the prestigious UFEMAT ‘Packaging Awards’. UFEMAT is the European association of national builders’ merchants associations and manufacturers. They launched the awards this year as a joint initiative with Valipac and FEMA to share good packaging practice and promote sustainable innovations in the European construction industry. The awards recognise sustainable packaging solutions for construction products, with entries judged on design for recycling, circularity, waste reduction and innovation.

Lakes launched its new recyclable packaging in March this year. It removes all plastic banding, carton stapling, plastic tape and polystyrene. The packaging was also improved to make it easier and safer to handle. It’s stronger too to reduce product waste. Shortly after the launch, Lakes achieved Carbon Neutral Standard based on an assessment of carbon emissions for its UK operation.

Lakes is among five European merchants and manufacturers shortlisted for these awards. Each company now has the task of presenting to the judges at the UFEMAT Congress in Montreux, Switzerland on the 17th October. The winner will be announced at a ceremony the following evening.

Operations Director Mick Evans says: “We weren’t aware of these awards until the BMF – a member of UFEMAT – alerted us to them. To be shortlisted at a European level is a great honour and fantastic recognition for our efforts. The design of our new packaging required months of research and development to ensure it worked well for the business and team, and also for the environment.”

“Our strapline #DesignedForLife underpins our focus, commitment and direction in all that we do,” adds Mike Tattam, Sales & Marketing Director. “Our products are designed for changing lifestyles, backed by a unique ‘no-quibble’ lifetime guarantee. Our new packaging is no exception, designed with the environment, our customers’ staff and installers in mind. It’s a superb achievement to be recognised in this way.”

For more information about our packaging click here.

Lakes adds new Single Door Quadrant & Slider to Bay series

Lakes recently launched Bay series – a new range of precision-engineered showering spaces. The new series has been rolling out over the summer, starting with the Carradale Hinged Door, St Ives Double Door Quadrant and Bay Side Panel. The latest additions include the Bracklesham Single Door Quadrant and Sandown Slider.

With product names inspired by the bays of Britain, this new range has in-demand features such as softly closing doors, stylish hardware, unique interlocking caps, concealed covers and a sleek aluminium finish. As with all of Lakes’ products, Bay benefits from PureVueHD low iron glass and AllClear® stay-clean glass as standard, plus Lakes’ unique ‘no-quibble’, lifetime guarantee.

Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Tattam, says: “It’s the attention to detail homeowners look for that inspired us to develop Bay. From robust, stylish hardware, through to whisper-quiet sliding doors and interlocking caps that stay put, Bay balances best-in-class functionality and great looks, to help stockist customers stand out and sell more. There is one more product to come to complete the series, so watch this space!”

Bay is part of Lakes’ popular Coastline Collection. Download the new brochure here or call 01684 853 870 for more information.

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 www.headway.org.uk

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 www.bmbi.co.uk.

Lakes sponsors Pavestone Rally

Last year our Sales and Marketing Director, Mike Tattam, joined the BMF team in the Vado Rally. Mike joined John Newcomb, Oz Bham and James Spillane and helped raise £17,300 for Variety and the Rainy Day Trust, whilst winning ‘Best Fundraising Team’ and finishing in third place.

This year we’re delighted to support the event again, led by Pavestone. Lakes is sponsoring the BMF team, which includes Oz Bham, Richard Ellithorne, James Spillane and Glenn Paddison.

The event sees teams of builders’ merchants, retailers and buying groups driving through Europe in a road-legal car worth £500 or less. Team members need to be in fancy dress and complete challenges along the way.

The rally starts on 5th September from Reims in Northern France, heading on to Stuttgart, Salzburg, Venice and finishing on 8th September in the beautiful setting of Lake Como.

Three well deserving charities will benefit from the rally, The Rainy Day Trust, Teenage Cancer Trust and Variety.

You can find out more about the charity here > http://www.maggsdaycentre.co.uk

Lakes donates unused mugs to local day centre

It’s important for our business to support local businesses and charities where we can. So when we came across a batch of unused Lakes branded mugs recently, we were pleased to donate them to Maggs Day Centre – a charity in Worcester dedicated to helping the homeless. Maggs also support with training and practical assistance to help homeless people rebuild their lives. In 2016 Maggs Day Centre was recognised for their commitment with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Our Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam says: “Last year we rebranded our business, which led to the development of a new logo. Recently, however, we discovered boxes of unused mugs featuring our old logo. Rather than just throw them away, we thought we’d put them to good use. We hope our donation will going some way to supporting Maggs’ daily work in providing hot drinks to the homeless in a safe and welcoming environment.”

The photo shows Mike handing over the unused mugs to Alan Arnold who volunteers at the centre.

You can find out more about the charity here > http://www.maggsdaycentre.co.uk

Lakes certified as a Carbon Neutral Company

Lakes has achieved the Carbon Footprint Standard having assessed its carbon emissions and achieved carbon neutrality via support of internationally certified carbon offset projects.

The two-stage process audited all greenhouse gas emissions associated with Lakes’ UK operation. This resulted in the award of the Carbon Footprint Standard – based on Lakes’ carbon footprint assessment being audited in a process following ISO 140064-3.

To compensate for carbon emissions produced in the natural day-to-day running of a business, Lakes is working closely with Carbon Footprint Ltd to offset them in three ways. First by planting trees in the UK because trees absorb carbon dioxide to produce oxygen. Lakes will also support a Uganda borehole rehabilitation project to provide a source of clean drinking water, and a solar power energy installation in India.  Both Uganda and India projects, as well as providing climate change mitigation, also support developing regions of the world.

Lakes’ focus on improving its impact on the environment is an integrated approach which follows its announcement in March this year that packaging for all new products is now 100% recyclable. Lakes is the first in its sector to do this. The company has now taken this further, extending it to 100% recycling of all product waste, primarily glass and aluminium, and all recyclable site and office waste.

Mick Evans, Lakes Operations Director, says: “It’s important we all take responsibility for the negative impacts we’re having on our environment. By making these changes Lakes is reducing and offsetting its carbon footprint. We’re delighted to have achieved Carbon Neutral status and we hope others will follow our lead.”

Dr Wendy Buckley, Client Director at Carbon Footprint Ltd, adds: “Lakes is taking a leading and proactive position in its market, to measure and manage its carbon impact – even though there is no legislative requirement for them to do so. They are making active steps to reduce the carbon emissions in the business, going forward, and by carbon offsetting they are mitigating unavoidable emissions by supporting projects across the world with immediate effect.”

Have you nominated for the Builders’ Merchants Awards?

The deadline to get nominations in for the Builders’ Merchants Awards 2019 is Friday 30th August 2019, so don’t delay – enter now!

With 22 categories to choose from, the Builders’ Merchants Awards celebrate achievement and shine a spotlight on success in the merchant sector.

Lakes is a proud sponsor of the Kitchen & Bathroom Showroom of the Year category. Last year’s winner of Showroom of the Year 2018 was Coomers.  Jill Hammond, Marketing Manager. said: “It was terrific to be recognised for all our hard work. A wonderful boost and an amazingly proud day for all our staff. There’s no feeling quite like winning a Builders’ Merchants Award.”

You can view the full list of categories and their criteria here:

www.merchants-awards.co.uk/enter/categories.

Finalists shortlisted for each category will be invited to attend the prestigious event at the London Hilton on Park Lane on Friday 22nd November 2019, for a day of celebration and networking with over 750 peers in the merchant industry.

To nominate yourself, your company or your colleagues in the industry visit www.merchants-awards.co.uk.

Redefining quality in glass for showering spaces

When you see a shower, it’s easy to focus on the hardware: the shiny metal attracts the eye and the taps and showerhead command the most attention. However, the main component of most modern showering spaces is actually the glass. By its very nature, it is most often looked through rather than looked at. Because of this, homeowners may not consider the quality of the glass unless the designer/installer points it out or they discover its limitations.

The general assumption in our market is that the thicker the glass, the better the quality. We would question this, however. Yes, the space needs to be safe and robust and there are times where a combination of glass thickness, bracing arms or framing is required for overall structural integrity. But once the glass is thick enough to achieve this, what is the benefit in making the glass thicker? Over-engineering by using glass thicker than it needs to be risks over-spending and makes life difficult for one-man installers, who may struggle to position unnecessarily heavy glass panels.

Glass technology

Our view is that the way the glass impacts the showering experience is a much more persuasive tool than focusing on thickness. Glass technology has come a long way in recent years and it’s the glass’ characteristics that denote quality. For example, high levels of iron oxide in standard glass reduces the amount of light that can travel through it, giving it a greenish tinge. This in turn affects the colour of tiles and paint – and how the rest of the bathroom looks from inside the showering space. Homeowners may not have noticed it, but when they see a low-iron example like Lakes Glass with PureVueHD, the difference is startling – the green hue is almost completely removed. Being able to see your bathroom in its true colours is a much better indicator of quality than thickness, and PureVue can be easily demonstrated in the showroom.

Equally, the sense of sanctuary and wellbeing of a shower shouldn’t be marred by glass that is smeared with limescale or soap scum. Lakes Glass comes with AllClear®, a special coating that uses nanoparticles to fill microscopic gaps in the naturally pitted surface. This ensures water, limescale and soap scum slide off the glass rather than sticking to it, keeping it clear and unblemished.

This kind of benefit is particularly important when you consider modern homes. Busy, active lives as well as the rise of multi-generational living means the shower can be one of the most used functions in the house. Even the most glamorous showering space can quickly become humdrum when reality sets in and it becomes a laborious task to keep it clean and looking good. Thanks to AllClear, a simple wipe with a damp cloth keeps Lakes Glass looking like new – which in turn reduces the need for harsh chemical cleaners that can harm the environment and hands. It is also 10 times more scratch and impact resistant than standard glass, so it’s perfect for families with young children – or for showrooms where people walk past with bags and objects that could scratch the surface.

Lakes Glass comes with PureVue and AllClear on both sides as standard, not as an optional extra. It’s added value built in to the glass itself because we believe genuine quality is essential for creating the premium spa-style shower experience today’s homeowners demand. And what constitutes quality is changing. Thickness of glass should be considered in the context of the overall design of the showering space for practical and safety benefits. Today’s well-informed, demanding homeowners don’t care about the difference between 8mm and 10mm – it’s how the quality of the glass enhances the showering experience that matters.

Lakes is sole supplier of showering spaces for Liverpool Aparthotel

Lakes has supplied over 160 showering spaces for the redevelopment of a Liverpool aparthotel. Now open to the public, the Staycity Aparthotels Liverpool Waterfront provides a range of studio, one and two bedroom apartments with views of the waterfront. The refurbishment project combines the advantages of staying in a hotel with the comforts of living at home.

For the bathroom suites, Lakes supplied a combination of special pivot doors and sliders. Working with Neville Lumb, specialists in commercial sanitaryware, the installations were completed smoothly, on time and on budget. Lakes’ Sales and Marketing Director, Mike Tattam comments: “We were delighted to be specified by Neville Lumb to work together on this high profile project. It’s great to see our showering spaces in this beautiful new, aparthotel – right in the heart of a fabulous city!

“The Staycity Aparthotel is a short distance from the famous Corn Exchange, with the apartments overlooking the renowned Liver Birds and Liverpool’s waterfront – arguably the jewel in the crown of the City.”

To find out how Lakes’ showering spaces can make a difference to your next project, visit or download our new ‘Designed for Life’ brochure at lakesshoweringspaces.com/brochure-request or call 01684 853870.

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’ new rollfold for premium stone resin shower trays

Lakes’ new rollfold for premium stone resin shower trays

Lakes, the leading manufacturer of showering spaces, introduces a new 8-page rollfold to support the launch of its premium stone resin shower trays. The rollfold continues the lifestyle theme of Lakes’ main ‘Designed for Life’ brochure for consistency in look and impact.

Lakes Stone is a suite of stylish stone resin trays available in a choice of four sizes and three on-trend colours to suit rectangular showering spaces across Lakes’ Island, Coastline and Classic Collections. The innovative trays feature a premium matt finish with a through-colour, so its elegant and smooth looks are not affected if the tray is accidentally knocked.

The 30mm trays are anti-slip and anti-bacterial. A non-porous surface prevents mould or bacteria forming in the joints or beneath the surface – a quick wipe is all that is required to keep the trays clean and looking good. The trays are also easy to fit and can be inset into the floor, making them an ideal solution for a wide range of projects. All Lakes Stone trays are backed by a 10-year guarantee.

Lakes Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Tattam, comments: “Our focus is on product developments that help our merchants and stockist customers create stunning displays and achieve the utmost impact in their showrooms. It’s easy to focus on just one or two elements of a showering space, 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 and stand out.”

For a copy of Lakes’ new rollfold call 01684 853 870 or visit lakesshoweringspaces.com/brochure-request

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 www.missingpeople.org.uk/. Follow on Twitter @missingpeople

#GetInvolved #FindEveryChild

B Danby & Co first to display Lakes’ new Bay series

B Danby & Co Ltd is the first stockist to display Lakes Showering Spaces’ new Bay series in its showroom. Founded in 1891, the Hull-based plumbing, heating and electrical merchant is one of the longest established stockists in the North of England. The company only displays Lakes’ showering spaces, having first started stocking the products just over eight years ago.

Paul Arnold, Branch Manager of B Danby & Co, explains: “Before working with Lakes I’d heard great things about the products, so I arranged a meeting with Sales Manager Leon Varrier. I was impressed, and we’ve had a great relationship with the team ever since. We only display Lakes in our showroom as the quality and look is excellent, the price is good and the service is outstanding. Our trade customers often send their consumer customers to the showroom to see what the products look like in situ, so everything has to be spot on – and it is.

“We included the Carradale Hinged Door from Lakes’ new Bay series to our showroom in an additional display about a month ago and have provided a number of quotes already,” continues Paul. “We particularly like the hinged door because it allows for a wider opening, which is ideal for smaller spaces and gives us more to offer for different projects. The Bay series certainly ticks a few more boxes!”

Lakes’ new Bay series features softly closing doors; robust, stylish hardware; whisper-quiet sliding doors; unique interlocking caps; concealed covers; and a sleek aluminium finish. As with all of Lakes’ products, the Bay series also comes with PureVueHD low iron glass and AllClear® stay-clean glass as standard, as well as a unique ‘no-quibble’ lifetime guarantee.

The Carradale Hinged Door is part of a rolling launch of the new range, which features names inspired by the coastal bays of Britain. Other products in the series include the Bay Side Panel, the Sandown Slider, the St Ives Double Door Quadrant, and the Bracklesham Single Door Quadrant.

Mike Tattam, Lakes Sales and Marketing Director, adds: “We are very excited about the launch of Bay, which balances the best in functionality and great looks. The precision engineering behind these new products will help refresh showrooms and drive high-value sales for our nationwide merchants and stockists.”

For more information, call the sales team today on 01684 853 870.

UK Plumbing Supplies praises Lakes’ proactive support and quality range

UK Plumbing Supplies’ (UKPS) strong relationship with Lakes is helping the heating and plumbing stockist meet customer demand for practical and high quality showering spaces. UKPS has worked with Lakes for eight years and credits the longstanding relationship to Lakes’ proactive support, high quality products, wide choice and leading glass solution PureVueHD.

“We first saw Lakes at a trade show and were immediately impressed with their products,” says John Mason, Managing Director of UKPS. “From timeless classics to a modern look, Lakes’ range caters for the majority of our customer demographic. The PureVueHD high definition glass is a strong USP for our business.”

Lakes’ PureVueHD is optically clearer glass due to near zero iron levels. Standard glass has high levels of iron oxide, which reduces the amount of light that can travel through it and gives it its greenish tinge. By reducing the levels of iron oxide the green hue is almost completely removed, so you can see your bathroom and showering spaces in high-definition colour. Uniquely, PureVueHD is standard across Lakes’ Collections and at no extra cost.

“In addition to Lakes’ great range, the service is excellent too from start to finish,” continues John. “The team supports us in every way possible and provide us with everything we need to help us sell and stand out – from displays for our showrooms, to images and product information for our website and marketing materials.”

Mike Tattam, Lakes’ Sales and Marketing Director at Lakes, adds: “UKPS is extremely proactive in promoting our showering spaces and it’s great to see the company reaping the rewards. Our range is designed for life and our business leads the way in high quality products and reliable support. Building strong and longstanding partnerships with our customers is very important to us, so receiving such positive feedback is superb.”

Find out how Lakes can help support your business. Call 01684 853870. Follow us on twitter @LakesForLife.

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.

Lakes launches precision engineered Bay series

With product names inspired by the bays of Britain, Lakes launches its new Bay series. This new range benefits from stunning features such as softly closing doors, classy branded hardware, unique interlocking caps, concealed covers and a sleek aluminium finish. As with all of Lakes’ products, Bay also benefits from PureVueHD low iron glass and AllClear® stay-clean glass as standard, and Lakes’ unique ‘no-quibble’, lifetime guarantee.

The new series will be a rolling launch, starting with the Carradale Hinged Door and the Bay Side Panel. To follow will be the Sandown Slider, St Ives Double Door Quadrant and Bracklesham Single Door Quadrant.

Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Tattam, comments: “It’s the attention to detail that homeowners look for, which is what inspired us to develop Bay. From robust, stylish hardware, through to whisper-quiet sliding doors and interlocking caps that stay put, our innovations this year will shape the showering landscape.

“Bay balances the best in functionality and great looks,” adds Mike. “The precision engineering behind this new series will help refresh showrooms and drive high-value sales for our nationwide merchants and stockists.”

Bay is part of Lakes’ Coastline Collection. Download the new brochure at lakesshoweringspaces.com/brochure-request

For more information, call our sales team today on 01684 853 870.

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 www.bmbi.co.uk.

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

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 launches new stone resin shower trays

Lakes, the leading manufacturer of innovative showering spaces, introduces Lakes Stone to its range – a contemporary suite of premium quality stone resin shower trays. The rectangular, matt finish trays lead in safety, hygiene and great looks.

Lakes Stone is anti-slip and anti-bacterial. A non-porous surface prevents mould or bacteria forming in the joints or beneath the surface. Unlike other stone resin trays, Lakes Stone is the same colour all the way through, so its cool looks are not affected if the tray is accidentally knocked.

The 30mm trays are easy to fit and can be inset into the floor, making Lakes Stone suitable for a wide variety of project designs. Colours include White, Cotswold Grey and Anthracite with a stainless steel drain cover.

This premium quality range will lift your showering space, and your showroom! Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam explains: “It’s important when designing and selling a quality showering space that you look at the complete space and define it. It’s easy to focus just on the beautifully-shaped shower head or contemporary hardware, but the ultimate showering experience comes from a combination of glass, hardware, frame and the floor. When standing in your showering space, you don’t want to be looking through glass with a green hue or smeared with soap scum. And what you stand on – the tray – needs to feel solid and look quality too.

“As our strapline confirms, Lakes’ products are ‘Designed for life’ so it’s essential new launches continue to reflect our focus and direction,” adds Mike. “Our glass innovations with PureVueHD and AllClear® are already setting the standard for clear, low maintenance sparkling glass. Lakes Stone is the first in a series of new products we will be introducing this year to help our merchants and retail stockists sell more premium quality showering spaces.”

Lakes Stone is available in four sizes to suit rectangular showering spaces across Lakes’ Island, Coastline and Classic Collections. The trays are covered by a 10 year guarantee.

For more information, call our sales team today on 01684 853 870.

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 sarah.chapman@lakesshoweringspaces.com 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.

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!”

 

 

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 www.bmbi.co.uk 

Kitchen and Bathroom trends

In the latest article for BMF One Voice, our Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam and the BMBI Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering comments on trends in BMBI’s Kitchen and Bathroom statistics:

BMBI is a brand of the BMF. It’s produced by MRA Marketing using gold standard data from GfK, one of the largest insight agencies. GfK’s Builders Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data analyses sales out data from over 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales across Great Britain. BMBI is a growing platform to influence and argue for what matters to the industry, and a unique platform for building brands. A monthly index and quarterly reports include tables and trends plus insights from GfK and the BMF, and 14 BMBI Experts, leading brands that speak exclusively for their markets. They are: Alumasc Water Management Solutions (AWMS), Crystal Direct, Dulux Trade, Encon Insulation, Hanson Cement, Heatrae Sadia, Ibstock Bricks, IKO PLC, Keylite Roof Windows, Keystone Steel Lintels, Knauf Insulation, Lakes Showering Spaces, Natural Paving Products and Timbmet.

“The figures in the latest BMBI report (November) indicate that there have been some changes in the Kitchens & Bathrooms category over the last few years, with the November 2018 figures appearing to show a negative trend. But while it’s true that the sector underperformed the total merchant market in the last six months of 2018, Kitchens & Bathrooms performed better than the total market in the previous 18 months.

“Looking at the data for the last three years, there are clear signs of seasonality, with Kitchen & Bathroom sales tracking the total merchant market in the winter and spring, underperforming the market in the summer months and then overtaking the total market and peaking in November.

“One feature of last years’ winter season was the unusually cold weather, which kept builders and installers indoors and contributed to the Kitchens & Bathrooms category outperforming builders’ merchants’ sales as a whole from November 2017 to March 2018. It is likely that the hotter than average summer that followed and the net 2.8% fall in housing transactions during Q2 and Q3 2018 had an impact of Kitchen & Bathroom sales over the summer and into the autumn.”

Richard Frankcom Key Account Director for GfK adds: “At the back end of 2017 the Kitchens and Bathrooms category was showing faster revenue growth than volume growth, so there was price inflation.

“During 2018, revenue growth has slowed and prices have increased at a slower rate than total builders’ merchants in Kitchen and Bathroom categories with no compensating impact on volumes, resulting in slower value growth and hitting the largest sub category bathrooms more than kitchens. Other factors may be influencing these trends to varying degrees too such as a continuing long term slide in sales of baths, growth in wet rooms, and the current political and economic uncertainty which is contributing to weaker consumer confidence, with anecdotal evidence of projects being postponed.”

To download the latest reports, Expert comments or the 3rd Round Table Debate videos, visit www.bmbi.co.uk. Follow @TheBMBI.

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 https://www.bmjindustryawards.co.uk/vote/.

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.

New Year, new Lakes #DesignedForLife brochure

Lakes, the leading manufacturer of showering spaces, kick-starts the New Year with a refreshed ‘Designed for Life’ brochure.

Lakes is leading the way by positioning the showering space at the front of mind for merchants, stockists, installers, and homeowners. This latest brochure includes new lifestyle imagery, new bathroom sets and improved close-up product shots to strengthen the key themes introduced in Lakes’ first edition last year.

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam explains: “Our new brochure is very different from what it was and quite distinct from other brands. It’s proving to be a powerful selling tool, helping stockists, merchants and their installer customers stand out in a crowded market and with improved lifestyle targeting. Our plan is to keep developing it so the brochure becomes a powerful tool in helping our stockists and installers sell, and homeowners choose, the most appropriate showering space for their needs.

“The new direction of our brochure underpins our focus to make bathroom settings more representative of homeowners’ showering spaces and lifestyles. Markets are evolving and the opportunity for selling the right solution for the right lifestyles is huge,” concludes Mike.

For a copy of Lakes’ new brochure call 01684 853 870 or visit lakesshoweringspaces.com/brochure-request

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!

Tewkesbury Athletic Football Club Sponsorship

We are keen to support our local community so when one of our drivers, Mike Holtham, highlighted a sponsorship opportunity at the Tewkesbury Athletic Football Club we were delighted to be able to fund their training kit.

With a win of 3-2 on penalties we were thrilled to hear the team achieved their first win of the season, against a team from the division above!

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 www.tewkesbury.foodbank.org.uk

‘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.

BMBI reveals positive summer for builders’ merchants’ sales

After a robust second quarter, sales through UK builders’ merchants continued to deliver value growth in Q3 2018, rising by 4.2% on the same period in 2017. July provided the strongest year-on-year growth, tailing off slightly as the quarter came to an end.

Timber and Joinery showed the highest value growth across the quarter with a year-on-year increase of 9.6%. This was driven by sheet materials and timber items such as carcassing, battens and trusses.

Landscaping, helped by a warm dry summer, saw sales rise 7.8% year on year with decking, tools and watering showing the strongest growth.

Quarterly sales in the Plumbing, Heating and Electrical category were up by 3.4% year on year. Dig deeper and the category showed mixed results, as a positive quarter for boilers was pulled down by a negative one for Electrical and Lighting.

Heavy Building Materials, the largest category, had a slower quarter than some with sales value growth of 2.4% on Q3 2017.

The Kitchen and Bathroom and Decorating categories both grew by 2.1% year on year.

The figures are taken from the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) that contains data from GfK’s Builders Merchants Panel which analyses 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales throughout Great Britain. While the data confirms a year-on-year increase in sales performance, the 2018 quarter-on-quarter comparison found that the market has slowed, with average sales a day in Q3 falling by -3.4% from Q2.  However, this is not untypical in the builders’ merchants’ cycle and year to date sales for the nine months January to September 2018 were 4.0% ahead of the same period in 2017.

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

“After a relatively strong second quarter, BMBI Q3 kitchen and bathroom sales were disappointing. Sales started well but weakened during the period. Compared with the same three months in 2017, value sales were up just 2.1% against total builders’ merchants’ sales, 4.2% ahead. But comparing the 12 months to September 2018 with the same twelve months in 2017, there was little divergence (up 4.5% against total sales up 4.6%).

“New Build housing is up with very good prospects, but housing moves are down, affected by uncertainty and ceaseless media criticism of the Government’s handling of the Brexit negotiations.

“Kitchens and bathrooms RMI sales appear no better or worse than overall builders’ merchant sales. But in more visible, higher value home improvements such as kitchens, bathrooms, hard landscaping, windows, doors and conservatories which visibly enhance the value of a property, sales are a composite of two different, diverging markets. At the premium, upper-end of the market sales are relatively untroubled by weaker economic forces, while Mrs May’s JAMs, the Just About Managing middle and lower sectors of the market, struggle to fund the improvements they need.

“In the last 20 years, the over-55 homeowners have seen their housing wealth rise as house prices boosted their value. Largely mortgage free, they own the bulk of UK savings and many enjoy secure pensions. These homeowners – the Haves – drive premium sales in most home improvement markets, and across home improvements the premium is expanding while the middle and budget are contracting. Most innovations and product enhancing developments are designed for them. They buy the improvements they want, when they want, because they can. Younger homeowners, often with far higher incomes, have competing priorities and higher outgoings, leaving far less to spend on the home.

“Whatever happens in the aftermath to Brexit, the Haves, particularly the over 55s, will be relatively unaffected. Even in doomsday scenarios where house prices lose a large part of their value, they remain house-wealthy with their savings and pensions intact. It’s a safe bet that the premium market sector continues to grow strongly with a demand for style, design and additional functionality.”

To download the Q3 report or for more on our industry Experts, visit www.bmbi.co.uk

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 lakesshoweringspaces.com. Look out for updates across Lakes’ social media.

Lakes new brochure is #DesignedForLife

Lakes, the leading manufacturer and supplier of showering spaces, introduces a new brochure ‘Designed for Life’ to reflect the company’s new position and focus.

With changing lifestyles and powerful trends affecting buyers, Lakes’ brochure puts the emphasis on the showering experience and what makes showering possible. New and engaging lifestyle images help to form a story about how we now view our bathroom space and the growing importance of good showering. The brochure demonstrates the benefits of PureVueHD and AllClear® glass innovations, and how to create more light and space with Lakes’ innovative Mirror Collection.

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam explains the thinking behind Lakes’ new brochure: “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 and then 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. We’re changing that.

“Everyone views their showering space in a different way – it could be the place for ‘me time’, a place for thinking or simply to get some privacy from hectic family life. Our new brochure shows that whatever your lifestyle, we have a solution to suit. The new look is very different from what it was before and from other brands. We think it will be a powerful selling tool for stockist and merchant customers, helping them stand out in a crowded market and sell more profitably.”

Lakes’ new brochure incorporates the company’s new logo and brand name, launched recently as part of its new strategic direction and positioning. “Lifestyles are changing so Lakes is changing to help our customers capitalise on these new developments,” concludes Mike.

For a copy of Lakes’ new brochure call 01684 853 870 or visit lakesshoweringspaces.com/brochure-request

New Look, new Lakes

The last 20 years has seen big changes in most home improvement markets, says Lakes. The cumulative effects of a fast-growing population, demographic shifts and the growth in multi-generational households, plus a reduction in the size of new houses and strongly rising housing wealth are the context for important changes in lifestyles, and in showering spaces and brands which are evolving to match.

“These are exciting times for Lakes and our partners,” says Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Tattam. “Our markets are growing and changing in important ways. Most importantly, the effects of 20 years of rising house prices on the housing wealth of the over 55s, and the cumulative impact of economic austerity on the under 55s – the JAMS or ‘just about managing’ as Mrs May called them – is creating two diverging markets of the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have Nots’.”

The homes of the Haves are still appreciating and, largely free of mortgages and with generally lower outgoings than younger homeowners, these homeowners are driving demand in most home improvement markets. They’re important because they have the money and they’re willing to pay for the quality, style and design they want. They account for over 90% of the money in savings too, and while they may have less income than the under 55s they have fewer outgoings. They’re mostly unaffected by fluctuations in the economy and better protected from the potential effects of Brexit.

“Independent research indicates that collectively the Have Not’s market is flat at best,” continues Mike Tattam, “while the market for the Haves has been expanding strongly across most home improvements.

“We are repositioning Lakes, so we and our customers can benefit from the fast-growing market of the Haves, while continuing to serve traditional markets. This includes launching the first in a series of exciting new products and developing a pipeline of unique and outstanding products to launch in 2019 and after, so our partners can grow strongly with us.

“Our brand looks different too,” adds Mike. “We have a new logo, and a new trading name: Lakes Bathrooms becomes Lakes. And we’re focusing on showering spaces rather than enclosures, because showering spaces puts the focus where it belongs: on the spaces that make showering possible.

“People will notice the difference in positioning and approach when they see our new brochure. It’s very different from what it was before and stands out from other brands. We think it looks stunning, but it’s not just about looks. Rather than replicating the same old images of people stepping out of the shower, we’re focusing on lifestyles and what the showering space means to each of us. It will be a powerful sales tool for stockists and installer customers, because homeowners’ lifestyles are changing, and Lakes is engaging with them to help them buy and our partners to grow.

“Lakes is going on a journey. We hope stockists and installers will join us in selling to this attractive market.”

Call Lakes on 01684 853 870 now to tap into this growth market.

Lakes researches the market to reset strategy and grow

Before confirming their objectives and resetting their strategy to grow, Lakes undertook a comprehensive market investigation beginning with independent market research and customer insight.

Early this year, MRA Research interviewed a representative sample of 120 merchants and bathroom stockists. The research measured awareness and perceptions of shower enclosure brands, performance and market positioning. It benchmarked the Lakes brand, products, service, support and marketing against competitors. This was followed by marketing audits and in-depth reviews of the market, demographic and lifestyle trends.

The benchmark research shows that while merchants’ prompted awareness of the main shower enclosure brands is good, as you’d expect, ‘top of mind’ unprompted awareness is low. It’s a crowded market with lots of multi-stocking, and few of the over 50 brands mentioned by merchants and bathroom stockists could be named without prompting. The average number of brands stocked was 3.6 a branch.

In the research, merchants and stockists rated 20 factors for importance, and rated brands for performance against these criteria. “Lakes did well,” says Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam, “coming top for service, quality, deliveries and guarantees. We also outperformed the market when rated for ‘A company I trust’ and for ‘They value my business’.

“The shower enclosure largely defines the shower, and it’s the showering space that enables the showering experience,” Mike Tattam explained. “Traditionally, enclosures were largely functional, with scant regard for design. However, shower enclosure brands are now adapting rapidly to the growing demand from ‘The Haves’. These are mainly over 55-year old homeowners, largely unencumbered by mortgages, whose homes have been appreciating strongly. They have the money and they’re willing to pay for the quality, colour, style and design they want. It’s important that we and our customers capitalise on this significant opportunity.

“Installers selling to the Haves tend to grow faster and do better than other installers,” Mike continues, “so it’s encouraging that 81% of respondents in the research found Lakes adds value to their business. With our investment in new products and supporting services we’re focusing on supplying not just what the shower enclosure market wants and needs, but also what outlets that sell Lakes need.”

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,” Tattam says, “and not explained why or how the showering space is important. Lakes plans to change that.

“We commissioned the research to benchmark Lakes against the best, to improve performance, and we learned a lot. It’s guided our strategy, investment in new products and our support to help merchants and bathroom stockists grow,” Mike Tattam concludes.

For more information and to benefit from Lakes’ top service and innovative solutions call 01684 853 870

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 www.bmbi.co.uk.

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.

We WIN at getting intimate!

We are delighted to announce we were awarded ‘The Customer Intimacy Award’ at this year’s Graham Conference.

Just to confirm, we’re told Customer Intimacy isn’t about our flirtatious manner, it’s about our actions and ability as a supplier to tailor and adapt our solutions to the customer’s needs, whilst providing a level of service that supports our customers before, during and after any transaction or interaction.

We’d like to thank Graham, not only for the award, but for their years of support throughout the creation of the Alterna brand and their ongoing partnership and friendship.

Gifts for people who LOVE their bathroom

It’s that time of year, the time when we all search for that uniquely, thoughtful (and preferably wallet friendly) gift to show the people we care about that we’re thankful for them.

We all have that one difficult person that you’re not sure what to get, whether it’s because they have no discernible interest or you’re not sure what they already own. Luckily, there is one room and one part of all our day-to-day lives we have in common, the shower/bathroom. So, we’ve come up with a little gift guide of stocking fillers and presents for those who love spending time in the bathroom (and those who could love their bathroom a little more).

For him:

A fog free shower mirror

The moisture and steam from a warm shower make it the most comfortable and effective place for a man to shave. Unfortunately for anyone who is second in the morning bathroom schedule, a steamy mirror makes this more difficult – hence the fog free shower mirror.

Strong man toilet roll holder

Maybe not something you want on display in your nicely decorated bathroom, but if you have a ‘man loo’ then this could sit pride of place on top of the toilet (Who knows it might even inspire us all to replace the loo roll more often).

 

For her:

Wine glass holder for the bath

Made of polished stainless steel, this wine glass holder is a stylish addition to any bath and the perfect accessory for the ladies wanting to enjoy a bit of red, white or rose whilst either getting ready or relaxing in their sanctuary away from kids and partners. (Good job it doesn’t come with a bottle holder or you may rarely see your chosen recipient).

wine glass holder for the bath

Bath pillow

Make the bath a more comfortable place for her (or him) to enjoy a nice loooooooooooooong soak (and that glass of wine we talked about above) at the end of the day.

bath pillow

For the kids:

Bath time bubble maker

Find us a baby that doesn’t love bubbles… This bubble maker will help make bath time an enjoyable time for both you and your little ones.

bubble machine for the bath

KidsFlush

As seen on Dragon’s Den. This is the perfect toilet training accessory. Not only does this make it easier for your child to flush the toilet, it also makes it fun. You might find that other members of the family appreciate the acknowledgement of a flush with a fanfare just as much as the kids.

kids flush

For all the family:

 

Waterproof shower speaker

This handy little Bluetooth shower speaker makes it possible for you to control your music and answer calls whilst in the bath or shower (without the risk of dropping your smartphone in). We always talk about making showering an experience not just a necessity, this, combined with the perfect playlist can help take a large step in that right direction.

bluetooth shower speaker

And, if you need help selecting the perfect songs, here’s our top 10 songs to sing in the shower.

Lakes Bathrooms joins BMF as new supplier member

Lakes Bathrooms, a leading manufacturer and supplier of shower enclosures, doors and bath screens, has joined the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) as a supplier member.

Lakes Bathrooms has been supplying builders’ merchants for more than 30 years. An independent family business set up in 1986, it has built a strong reputation in supplying high quality shower enclosures to the trade, backed by reliable service and support.

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam comments: “Builders’ merchants are a key target market for our business so it’s important we look at new opportunities to strengthen relationships and build our brand in this sector. The BMF is a prominent industry body that has grown strongly over recent years. It’s therefore a sensible step forward to join. I’m confident it will give us a new platform in which to position and build our brand in this market.”

Lakes Bathrooms joins BMF as a new supplier member

Tewkesbury-based Lakes Bathrooms is renowned for its first class customer service, speed of delivery and for creating innovative, market-leading products that are ‘superior as standard’ yet affordable. Its extensive portfolio includes timeless classic and contemporary designs and framed, semi-framed and frameless doors, screens and enclosures to cater for all tastes and requirements.

Lakes Bathrooms’ optically superior PureVueHD glass, which has minimal iron content to reduce the green hue found in standard glass to near zero levels, results in glass that is clearer, lighter and brighter and comes as standard at no extra cost on its Classic, Coastline and Island collections. Another thoughtful feature available free of charge on products within these ranges is the company’s AllClear® protective coating, which is applied to both sides of the glass to help users keep their enclosure looking as good as new with minimal effort.

The BMF is the only trade association, which represents and protects the interests of builders’ merchants and suppliers to the merchanting industry in the UK. Through its membership, Lakes Bathrooms will benefit from training, development and professional support opportunities through a variety of services and key events where members can meet and exchange ideas with fellow merchants, suppliers and leading industry figures.

Builders Merchants Federation CEO John Newcomb says: “We are delighted that Lakes Bathrooms has joined the BMF and appreciates the value of being part of a strong trade body. I am looking forward to working with them in the coming months.”

Follow @LakesBathrooms on Twitter.

Inspiration comes in waves. The new Island Collection

Inspiration can come from anywhere, and when we’ve launched new collections in the past their inspiration has usually come from a number of factors, such as styling that fills a market need, or a new innovation that provides a fresh alternative.

The inspiration for the new Island Collection came from somewhere a little different.

When Robin Craddock and his father Alan launched Lakes Bathrooms 30 years ago, Robin quickly started to build the idea that showering could and should be more than functional. The whole bathroom experience should feel less like a necessary routine and more of a rewarding experience – a time to escape the daily grind.

With the sad loss of Robin last year, his idea of making your shower an escape, and his particular love of escaping to his favourite villa or hotel in Barbados, became the core inspiration for our new Island Collection.

the Island Collection mood board for inspiration