RCI Article – Merchants’ April sales up 5.3%

Merchants’ April sales up 5.3%

Total Builders Merchants value sales to roofers, 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 performed well too, with sales growth of 5.5% and 4.5% respectively.

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%).

Total value sales for the rolling 12 months May 2018 to April 2019 were 4.8% above the same period a year earlier, with one less trading day. Average sales a day were 5.3% higher.

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.

Paul Owen, Commercial Director – Distribution Division IKO PLC and BMBI’s Expert for Roofing Products, comments: “Our increasingly optimistic roofing sector reports full order books, and there is a genuine buzz about the industry following a strong performance in Q1.

“Investment in training is a continuing focus in the industry to ensure there is a large enough skilled workforce to meet continuing high demand levels. Contractors are keen to make sure that their workforce is up to speed, with traditional roofing applications and new manufacturer systems using liquid applied or self-adhesive membrane technology.

“There are regional variations with regions outside the South East performing better than London. The Construction Products Association (CPA) forecasts an overall 0.4% fall in industry output, yet some sectors seem to have better prospects for 2019 than others. The infrastructure sector is forecast to perform positively while retail and offices are expected to face a significant decline in workloads.

“When viewed in the round however, the uncertainty that surrounds the ‘will we or won’t we’ debate that continues to rage in Westminster seems to have passed roofers by. They are just busy getting on with the job. That isn’t to say that the roofing community is oblivious to the potential for disruption, but as we wait for the Brexit bubble to burst, enquiry levels and order books remain quite strong.”

BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities.

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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.