Timber & Joinery among top three categories
Merchants reported a strong start to the year with Total Builders’ Merchants value sales up 5.9% in the first quarter compared with Q1 2018. Sales in the month of March were 11.8% higher than in February, on one more trading day. Average sales a day were up 6.5%.
Product categories that grew strongly included Timber & Joinery, up 6.6%, Heavy Building Materials, up 6.8%, and strongly seasonal Landscaping, which saw value growth of 15.6% as the year got off to a better start than 2018 with the milder weather.
Compared with Q4 2018, sales in Q1 2019 increased by 1.9%, but average sales a day (which takes into account the difference in trading days) were 3.0% lower over the same period.
March’s BMBI index was high at 121.6. Total sales in March 2019 were ahead 8.3%, with the milder weather impacting positively compared to the same period last year.
Product categories that displayed the highest growth year-on-year were those related to external work. Timber & Joinery was up by 9.2% and Heavy Building Materials by 9.4%, while landscaping increased by 25.6% over March 2018.
Nigel Cox, Managing Director Timbmet and BMBI’s Expert for Timber & Panel Products comments: “Timber and panel products continued to outperform many of the sectors in Q1, but it was clear that economic uncertainty impacted on consumer confidence. Contingency planning for Brexit took up significant time in Q1. Ensuring continuity of supply was of the utmost importance as we sought clarity on importing protocols and procedures.
“Product availability is generally good. Producers have addressed the supply issues with panel products, and hardwood timber demand continues to increase for European and American timbers.
“The demand for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) material is putting producers under increased pressure. With an increasingly environmentally aware audience, products certified by the FSC from sustainably managed sources are becoming more and more sought after. Merchants should consider alternatives, especially plantation-grown wood such as Red Grandis from Uruguay. Red Grandis is a high-quality durable hardwood that machines well and is easy to paint or stain.
“The Timber Trade Federation (TTF), Wood Protection Association (WPA) and Timber Decking and Cladding Association (TDCA) are working to help produce clear guidance for cladding systems. The group will look at the importance of fire rated materials, construction products regulations and quality assurance schemes for fire rated products and installation.”
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