RCI Article – Slowdown in builders’ merchants’ sales in Q2

Slowdown in builders’ merchants’ sales in Q2

Following a strong start to the year, Total Builders’ Merchants’ value sales to roofers, builders and contractors were down -1.2% in Q2 2019 against the same period last year. However, the adjusted figure, which takes into account differences in trading days, was marginally positive at +0.4%.

Value sales of Heavy Building Materials, the largest category, declined by -1.6% year-on-year. Landscaping products was the best performing category, rising by +1.2%.

The negative quarterly figure was heavily influenced by poor trading towards the end of the period, with overall sales in June down -8.1% compared with the same month last year. Most product categories recorded a negative performance. Monthly sales over May 2019 were also down by -9.4% on one less trading day.

Quarter-on-quarter, however, the picture is more positive. Total Builders’ Merchants’ sales in Q2 2019 increased by +8.9% compared with Q1, and average sales a day (which takes into account the difference in trading days) were up +12.5% over the same period.

June’s BMBI index was 117.2, with Landscaping (146.6) the top performing category.

John Duffin, Managing Director Keylite Roof Windows and BMBI’s Expert for Roof Windows, comments: “Roof window growth was still in double figures in Q2 (as in Q1) with strong regional performances compensating for weaker regions, but overall, there was a fall in year-on-year growth – below 10% for the first time in June with a poor June reported by all UK merchant partners. July seems to have rebounded but only time will tell by how much.

“Regional and national housebuilder customer growth has remained steady in low single figures. Site registrations are strong and with good demand and the ‘Help to Build’ scheme in place until 2022, we don’t predict any decline in this sector.

“As ever, the RMI sector is a barometer of consumer confidence and disposable income, and homeowners’ willingness to renovate or improve properties. Perhaps the June sales dip was a consequence of the weakness in sterling with the increased cost of hard-earned foreign holidays taking a bigger share of family spending, with holidays prioritised over potential home improvements.

“While the roof window sector has enjoyed another good quarter, I believe construction has been treading water in Q2 on the back of stock building prior to March 31st. Until we have some clarity on Brexit I think Q3 may need someone to throw it a buoyancy aid if we are to maintain momentum.”

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

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