Total Builders Merchants value sales to builders and contractors in July were up 2.9% compared with the same month last year. Workwear & Safetywear (+13.4%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (+6.4%), Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+6.0%) and Landscaping (+5.6%) displayed the largest increases.
The Heavy Building Materials category was slightly less positive at 2.9%, while Timber & Joinery sales were flat (-0.1%). However, when adjusted for trading days, Total Builders Merchants sales were down 1.6% on July 2018.
In the monthly comparison with June 2019, Total Builders Merchants sales were up 13.3% in July, though much of this growth was due to the 3-day difference in trading days. The adjusted figures show that almost all sectors performed less well in July than in June, while overall Total Builders Merchant sales fell 1.5%.
Sales growth remains positive, however, when looking at the last three months compared with February, March and April 2019, when sales were up 7.6%, and 2.5% on an adjusted basis.
July’s BMBI index was 132.8, with Landscaping again the highest category at 165.4.
Jeff House, Head of External Affairs Baxi Heating UK (incorporating Heatrae Sadia) and BMBI’s Expert for Water Heating, comments: “The outlook for the wider economy worsened in quarter two with both construction output and the consumer confidence index taking a hit. Continuing uncertainty over Brexit is partly to blame for this recent slowdown especially with an increased possibility of a hard exit.
“Looking at product performances, hot water cylinder sales were down by 3% as a moving annual total (EUA statistics). This is a product with its fortunes linked to future regulation changes. Although not required when combi boilers are fitted, they will be a positive option if new build specifications change to electric heating to meet environmental legislation.
“Two important reports have been issued recently. The first, “Building a Safer Future”, contains recommendations from the Hackitt Review that closed at the end of July. Its proposals have significant implications for, amongst others, those operating in residential buildings with a storey height above 18 metres.
“The second report concerns environmental issues with wide policy implications. This was issued by the Green Construction Board (part of the Construction Leadership Council) and has recommendations with regards to the 2030 Buildings Mission. The report aims to show
how achieving the 2030 target to halve all new building energy use over 2018 standards is achievable by tightening energy and systems efficiencies and moving to a culture of transparency on out-turn performance through the measurement of total energy in use.”
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