You recently added Merinolam to the IDS portfolio, can you tell us why? 

We recognised the market need for an ex-stock range of fire-rated decorative laminate offering immediate availability to customers anywhere in the UK. 

Merino was the right brand partner for us in this exclusive distribution agreement as we have enjoyed a good working relationship with the company for more than 10 years – we know them well and like how they do business. They are among the top five producers of laminate in the world and are responsible for manufacturing an impressive 18 million plus sheets per year. Their investment in high-quality manufacturing processes and commitment to design innovation and environmental sustainability all perfectly align with our own principles and business practices.  


There is huge potential for Merino here in the UK and we’re really excited about this new partnership.

John Bagshaw, Managing Director of IDS, which has been appointed the exclusive UK distributor for Merinolam.

What are its key attributes and potential applications in retail design?

JB: Merinolam offers retail designers and shopfitters a collection of 55 creative and high-performance laminates in a spectrum of industry bestselling colours and designs.  

Reflecting strong demand for Fire Rated laminate, the Merinolam FR+ Fire Retardant Laminate collection comes in a wide choice of plain colours, patterns and woodgrains. We’ve also introduced the Luvih super matt anti-fingerprint range which responds to the ongoing trend for fashionable and tactile matt finishes and there are also several speciality decors including metallics and through-colour options to ensure we can cater for all customer needs. 

A major selling point of the range is that all Merinolam decors across the FR+, Luvih and speciality collections are available ex stock for deliver to anywhere in the UK in 24-48 hours. Everything is supplied polycoated as standard, assuring protection against potential damage at every stage of the supply chain journey.  

Merinolam can be used with absolute confidence across a wide range of horizontal and vertical applications in the retail environment including counter tops, cash and wrap desks, displays and furniture. 

Is FR grade becoming more important to retail designers and shopfitters?

JB: In short yes. FR grade is becoming more important, particularly in the wake of Grenfell which has naturally led to heightened awareness around fire prevention. We’re seeing growing demand from customers including fast food chains, who recognise the benefits of putting in place additional fire safety measures for peace of mind and potential future proofing.  

Merinolam offers the only stocked FR range currently available in the UK. With other manufacturer brands on the market, products are made to order and have a lead time which could potentially delay projects. Merinolam offers a market-led selection of highly popular colours, patterns and woodgrains that a customer can get in 24-48 hours if they want it.

The important point retail designers and shopfitters should be aware of when working with FR Rated laminates, is that the laminate manufacturer is not liable for the Fire Rating of bonded products and components as this will vary depending on the materials used.  It is for this reason that all combinations should be FR tested independently to meet specific requirements. 

Merinolam ex stock FR+ woodgrain laminate in Sea Beech and Luvih super-matt laminates in Charcoal and Blaze Grey, exclusively available from IDS.

And what about Luvih, why have you introduced this range? 

JB: Supermatt anti-fingerprint finishes are becoming ever more popular because they give a premium aesthetic and are also highly practical. In high footfall retail environments, they’re ideal for creating a luxury customer experience for customers while their durability means they’re easy to clean and maintain. 

The Luvih collection comprises eight contemporary decors specifically selected for the UK market which give a satin smooth, matt surface that looks and feels very high end while being incredibly hard-working. Luvih is highly resistant to superficial micro scratches, impact, moisture and stains and it doesn’t leave unsightly fingerprints, grease marks or smudges, which is ideal in high traffic areas. The material is also very hygienic with anti-bacterial properties, which as we all know has become even more important since the start of the pandemic. 

Luvih is available in two sheet sizes of 3050mm x 1300mm x 0.8mm and 4300mm x 1550mm x 0.8mm to give customers greater creative and fabrication flexibility.

What other benefits does Merinolam offer retail designer and shopfitters?

JB: Customers have complete flexibility to order exactly what they want to meet their project requirements, whether that’s a single sheet, a mixed pick or multiple pallets. They have the freedom to utilise different colours and designs with no minimum order quantity, from one sheet to 1000 sheets in absolutely any décor of their choice. 

What are the main considerations when it comes to choosing surfaces for the retail environment?

JB: It’s important that retail designers strike the right balance between creating attractive and customer friendly environments which can also withstand huge daily footfall. Materials that are highly durable are key here and hygiene is an ever more important consideration. There’s also a heightened focus on fire prevention for many customers in the retail sector.  

With Merinolam customers are assured of a product that offers huge design scope, with the assurance of a brand that is committed to the highest standards in its manufacturing processes. Merino offers certifications including Greenguard, FSC®, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and EN 438. 

Merinolam ex stock Uni+ Colonial White solid core laminate and FR+ Wenge woodgrain laminate, exclusively available from IDS.

Supply chain issues and the impact on product availability have dominated over the past 18 months. How has IDS dealt with this? 

JB: We are the UK’s largest distributor of decorative surfaces and as such our financial strength, size, network of UK-wide branches and strong relationships with manufacturing partners means we can hold an extensive stock on the ground across all our product lines. These qualities mean we’ve been able to assure continuity of supply and a guarantee of accurate, on time delivery during these challenging times. 

As with all our product lines, Merinolam can be picked, packed and delivered to customers within 24-48 hours nationwide, even just one sheet if required. This will avoid any time penalty clauses and ensure retail projects remain on track.

For more information email