Merchants’ sales up 5.3%
Total Builders Merchants value sales to builders and contractors in April 2019 were up 5.3% compared with the same period in 2018. Having seen strong growth in both February and March, sales in the seasonable Landscaping category continued positively in April, up 17% compared to last year. Timber & Joinery Products and Heavy Building Materials also performed well, with sales growth of 5.5% and 4.5% respectively.
Total sales were up 0.6% compared with the previous month (March). However, the adjusted April 2019 figures, which take into account the trading day difference, show that total sales increased 5.6% over March. Sectors that performed well on a month-by-month adjusted basis included Landscaping (+23.3%), Heavy Building Materials (+4.9%) and Timber & Joinery products (+4.2%).
For the rolling 12 months May 2018 to April 2019 Total Builders Merchants value sales were 4.8% above the same period a year earlier, with one less trading day. Landscaping did best (+10.5%). Average sales a day in the period were 5.3% higher.
Cumulative sales for January to April were 5.7% ahead of the same period last year. The Landscaping category (+16.0%) was strongest, followed by Timber & Joinery Products (+6.3%), and Heavy Building Materials (+6.2%).
April’s BMBI index was 122.3, with Landscaping the highest category at 154.5. The average sales a day index for April was 126.9.
Mike Beard, Merchant Development Director of Encon Insulation and the BMBI Expert for Insulation Products – Distribution, comments: “The strength of regional new build continues to boost the sector – especially in cities outside the South East. In the Repair Maintenance and Improvement (RMI) sector the picture is more subdued. People are spending cautiously, and in addition, the number of property transactions remains low.
“Significant growth opportunities for insulation manufacturers and suppliers include the government’s ‘Clean Growth Strategy’, and recently, we have seen further reports from the Committee for Climate Change (CCC), who advise the government on building a low carbon economy.
“The key to actual change in the insulation market will be strong legislation from government, followed by similarly robust implementation from local government and other authorities. This will galvanise further the huge opportunity for all types of insulation sales and distribution.
“Whenever Brexit is finally decided, there is the possibility of a positive bounce for the insulation sector, given these market opportunities and environmental changes. We still have to deal with issues such as product and labour availability, but we hope that overall the market can move forward and grow.”
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