Sales Fall at Builders’ Merchants

TOTAL SALES AT builders’ merchants have fallen in the third quarter of the year compared with the same period in 2018 according to the Builders Merchant Building Index.

Sales dropped by 0.8 per cent compared with a year prior. However there was a rise in sales from the second quarter of 2019 of 0.2 per cent.

According to the report, following a relatively buoyant July, sales fell significantly in August year-on-year, before recovering slightly in September.

Decline in roofing sales

Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade, from market research company GfK, said,”The challenges of 2019 have resulted in declines in key areas such as Sheet Materials, Drainage and Roofing.

“Year to date growth has slowed down from 2.1% in June to 1.1% by September, but we still see growth in core subcategories such as Timber, Bricks, Plasters & Plasterboards and Insulation.

“Builders’ Merchants can look back at a difficult 2019 and applaud itself for weathering the ongoing storm.

“As an industry directly affected by political, economic and actual climate, it has still seen small growth, despite fluctuating weather patterns and the dreaded ‘B-word’. Year to date the growth is still up by 1.1% from 2018, with the core categories of Heavy Building Materials and Timber & Joinery still growing by 1.3% and 0.3% in value. Landscaping has been the big winner this year, increasing by 4.6% from 2018.

“The reality is that the past three months have continued to be challenging for the industry. 2019 Q3 had one more trading day than 2018 Q3, but still saw a decrease of -0.8% in value. This is therefore the second consecutive quarter where we have seen a decline, following the -1.2% from Q2. Volumes continue to see a decrease, with price inflation the main driver behind market growth.

“This trend is mostly driven by a -4.7% decline in Timber & Joinery from 2018 Q3, with the core subcategories of Timber and Sheet Materials key contributors. Heavy Building Materials is down by -0.4% in value, with a decline in Bricks balanced against growth in Cement / Aggregate, Plasters & Plasterboards and Insulation. The surprising winner from the past quarter has been Plumbing, Heating & Electrical, which has grown by 2.4% from 2018 Q3.

“With the upcoming election we will hopefully have some finality to the dreaded ‘B-word’ and this will allow the industry to start looking forward again. This shouldn’t take anything away from the hard work and perseverance of this industry throughout the year and the resilience to ride this storm.”

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