Leading Lights – Builders’ Merchants News


The recent Leading Lights supplement published by Builders Merchants News opens with an exclusive survey by MRA Research. Telephone interviews were conducted with 100 builders’ and plumbers’ merchants for their views on the industry post-Brexit and the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. The supplement also includes interviews with seven BMBI Experts, who focused on the enduring issues in the industry rather than COVID-19, and some of the consistent challenges we will return to when the market recovers. At the time of the survey with merchants and the interviews with the BMBI Experts (which took place in early March), few reflected on the unknown or could have foreseen the extent of disruption the industry would experience only a few weeks later following the announcement of a sudden lockdown at the end of March.

Roll on several weeks (May), the lockdown is easing and many businesses across our supply chain have reopened – some on a phased basis – and are rapidly learning to adapt to a new norm. These include implementing new working practices in accordance with new government measures and guidelines to ensure the safety of staff and customers. The UK’s economy has been significantly dented and a slow recovery is predicted as government keeps a tight hold on the lockdown in order to contain the virus and avoid another spike.

As we enter a new quarter for BMBI, our Experts now reflect on the impact of COVID-19 for their respective markets and the resilience of our sector, while remaining mindful of the continuing challenges ahead.

Download the research and Expert comments from Leading Lights here.

For the full Leading Lights supplement, which also includes financial data on merchants and insights from other industry bodies, click here.

Look out for the next Expert comments, published at the end of May. 


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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.