John Duffin, Managing Director Keylite Roof Windows is BMBI’s Expert for Roof Windows.
Roof window growth was still in double figures in Q2 (as in Q1) with strong regional performances compensating for weaker regions, for example strong growth in both Northern Ireland and cross-border sales in the Republic of Ireland.
Overall, there was a fall in roof window 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 but it’s a small share of the total roof window market. 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. Sales of Keylite over-the-counter sales, for example, predominately to the RMI sector, outstrip sales to new build and boost performance of our merchant partners. This makes roof windows a good news story for merchants wanting to grow regional market share.
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.
Political jockeying in the Conservative party won’t have helped sterling in the short term but hopefully the return of some degree of leadership will help confidence in the currency markets in Q3. This is all before the ‘Oh yes we will!’ – ‘Oh no you won’t!’ no-deal pantomime hits the stage in October.
In summary, while Keylite and the roof window sector have 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.