Expert for Paint

Paul Roughan

Sales Director


Paul Roughan

Paul joined ICI paints in 2001 prior to its acquisition by AkzoNobel. Starting as a Key Account Manager he quickly progressed to Regional Sales Manager and then became the Sales Director for Corporate Accounts. Paul currently holds the position of Sales Director  – Trade Merchants, responsible for contributing sales in excess of £160 million. In 2017, working closely with the BMF, Paul helped setup the ‘BMF Regional Centre of Excellence  – Dulux Academy’ to enable merchants and suppliers training and event facilities. Paul was until last year a board director of the British Coatings Federation (BCF).

Dulux Trade

AkzoNobel, is a global company which creates paints and performance coatings and produces specialty chemicals for industry and consumers worldwide. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company is active in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 46,000 people. Sales in 2016 were EUR 14.2 billion.

Dulux Trade is the home of painting and decorating excellence, falling under the brand umbrella of AkzoNobel, which includes other leading brands including Cuprinol UK, Polycell UK and Hammerite UK. The range of 4,000 colours and encyclopaedia of trade paint, along with expert help makes Dulux Trade the first choice for decorators and specifiers. More than any other brand, Dulux is widely recognised as a market leader by which others are measured.


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Dulux Trade Comment: Q1 2020

Paul Roughan, Trade Merchants Sales Director Dulux Trade is BMBI’s Expert for Paint.

With the onset of the pandemic, in the latter part of March and all of April, the trade market was almost virtually shut down whilst the consumer market absolutely boomed. Everyone wanted to decorate and stock up to decorate. The few trade merchants open were only servicing heartland customers with click and collect/deliver orders to service essential projects. Other trades and some consumers, who may have gone to builders’ merchants, went instead to consumer stores that remained open throughout, such as B&M, The Range and Wilko; stores with food lines, hence classed as essential.

In Q1 – a period that included a full week of lockdown – year-to-date retail sales volumes were up 10.8% while trade sales were down 6.6%.

Our Dulux factory in Ireland was under total lockdown while the two UK sites were running although not at full capacity, as we managed social distancing to ensure the safety of our staff as our priority. Our challenge was the sudden change in product mix from a 50/50 consumer/trade lines split to a heavily weighted consumer lines.

The winners have been merchants with robust e-commerce platforms giving them the capability to service the significant demand. We know of a number of merchants who saw online increase from dozens per day, to thousands per day.

Will these new buying habits persist? Some generalist builders and specialist decorators found themselves relying on alternatives and potentially consumer destinations that remained open. Whether they change their buying habits for paint depends on how they found the experience – what will merchants have to do to win them back. Merchants need to demonstrate they are a credible, value for money, one-stop-shop destination for paint, including the provision of expert advice and depth of product range.

The economic recession may not have the same shape and recovery as 2008 – will we see all merchants survive. It’s important for manufacturers to do all they can at this time to appropriately support merchants through this challenging time to ensure we all have a sustainable, profitable future.

There have been many positives. Please check out #TrueColours, ‘Colour The World with Kindness’ on Social Media. It’s a joint initiative within the industry including Dulux, Travis Perkins, major contractors, and Homebase, highlighting acts of kindness seen by people involved in our industry.

I’m sure others, like us, are now looking at a full review to address the new normal potential: routes to market, product categories and habits of professionals and consumers and of course, the economic forecast. We need to get the balance right between managing the here and now and planning ahead for the bigger market shifts.

Launched in 2015, the award winning monthly Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report is the only reliable measure of repair, maintenance & improvement (RMI) activity in the UK. Filling an important gap, it can be widely used in construction, and by economists, Government, national media, commentators and influencers outside the industry.