RCI Mag – Strong Start to 2017 Continues

Positive start to 2017 continues – Builders Merchants’ February sales up on last year when adjusted for trading days

The latest Builders Merchant Building Index shows February sales 1.1% down on February 2016 but average sales per day were 3.9% up when adjusted for a difference in trading days.

Six product categories saw marginal gains this February, including Tools (+1.8%) and Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+1.1%). Heavy Building Materials (which includes roofing and insulation) and Timber & Joinery Products were in line with total merchants.

Month on previous month

February sales were 6.1% up on January (+11.4% adjusting for trading days). Heavy Building Materials were up 6.5% but Timber & Joinery Products grew more slowly (+1.8%)

Index

February’s Builders Merchant Building Index was 100.5 (104.2 adjusted), up from 94.7 in January.

Steve Durdant-Hollamby, Managing Director AWMS, BMBI’s Expert for Civils, Metal Rainwater and Drainage says: “The rainwater and drainage market got off to a slow start in 2017, although merchants continue to report growth in RMI. Specification and commercial projects, particularly for civils, continue to be hampered by a lack of skilled labour.

“The effects of fluctuating exchange rates and consecutive months of price increases at the end of 2016 and start of 2017 are feeding through and there is continuing uncertainty in the market. Price increases are particularly significant in steel, with rises of over 60%. Manufacturers cannot pass all this on to customers, so margins are being squeezed.

“On the upside, exports are strong, and, as housebuilders switch from plastic to something more robust and sleek looking, steel rainwater is gaining specifications.

“We were in for an interesting and perhaps bumpy year, but a snap election will definitely keep everyone on edge. Overall we expect sales and the market to have evened out towards the end of 2017.”

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