Report Reveals Flat Sales for UK Builders Merchants

YEAR ON YEAR total builders merchants value sales in May 2019 were flat (+0.0%) compared with the same period in 2018, according to new figures released by the Builders Merchant Index.

The data revealed that following strong growth in the period February to April, sales fell slightly in May – in particular for Landscaping, which had seen three months of double-digit growth, but a sales increase of only 0.4% in May compared to last year. Both Timber and Joinery Products (+0.9%) and Heavy Building Materials (+0.3%) saw sales increase only marginally. The strongest category was Workwear and Safetywear, in which sales increased by 4.2%.

The report highlighted that many sectors, including Tools (-5.4%), Decorating (-1.9%), Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-2.0%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (- 2.3%) claimed a decline in May 2019 sales compared to last year.

This more subdued performance was echoed in ONS construction output figures. The new figures show total output in May 2019 had grown compared with last year, but RMI output was down by 1.8%, and the most significant drop was seen in private housing RMI (-6.8%) in the month.

Month on month
Total Builders Merchants sales were up 6.0% compared with the previous month, according to the report. Sectors that performed well on a month-by-month unadjusted basis included Landscaping (up 10.7%), Heavy Building Materials (up 6.7%), Tools (up 5.0%) and Decorating (up 4.9%).

However, the adjusted May 2019 figures, which take into account the trading day difference, show that on a like for like basis, Total Builders Merchants’ sales in May were just 1% higher than April and all categories except Landscaping and Heavy Building Materials had seen a fall in sales compared to April.

The full report is available to download here.




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