RCI Article – Merchants’ sales value growth continues in Q3


Merchants’ sales value growth continues in Q3

Total Builders Merchants value sales to roofers, builders and contractors were up 4.2% in the third quarter, compared with Q3 2017. Eight categories sold more, led by Timber & Joinery Products (+9.6%). Heavy Building Materials (+2.4%), the largest category, grew more slowly and four categories sold less.

Compared with Q2, sales in Q3 were down 0.3% despite two more trading days. Average sales a day (which takes the difference in trading days into account) were 3.4% lower in Q3 than Q2.

Year-on-year, September’s total sales were 0.8% higher than in September 2017, with one less trading day this year. Timber & Joinery did best, up 6.6%. Average sales a day were up 5.8% overall, with Timber & Joinery Products gaining 11.9%.

With two less trading days, sales in September were 5.1% lower than August but average sales a day were up 4.4%.

The first nine months of 2018 were 4.0% ahead of the same period in 2017. Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+8.1%) did best, with Timber & Joinery Products (+7.2%) also doing well.

September’s BMBI index was 118.4, with Timber & Joinery Products (124.7) the top performer.

John Duffin, Managing Director Keylite Roof Windows and BMBI’s Expert for Roof Windows comments: “Quarter three has continued positively as the roof window industry experienced another double-digit growth period. This reflects the increase in construction output reported by the ONS (+2.1% for the quarter) and a record registration of new build homes reported by the NHBC. Their latest report suggested that UK builders registered more than 43,500 new homes in Q3 2018, the highest quarter since 2007. We believe this was due largely to the sustained good summer weather, allowing the industry to more than recover the losses from the poor start to the year.

“The growth of white finished product continues to dominate the roof window market. Flat roofing products are also rising in popularity, indicative of the buoyant home improvement market.

“The value of sterling has been volatile over the quarter, with no clarity on Brexit and the ‘Deal or No Deal’ scenario. However, sterling’s strengthening at the end of the period suggests that people feel Brexit is likely to become Brino (Brexit In Name Only), with no exit from the Customs Union. While uncertainty continues, the strength of RMI may indicate a trend to improve rather than move home, which is good for roof windows.”

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.

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