Following the dramatic weather in quarter 1 delaying the usual end of quarter external work kick off, I have been expecting a strong quarter 2 performance; it did not disappoint, growing in value terms 7.2% year on year.
Landscaping initially struggled as the bad weather rolled into the first half of April, resulting in the category being down 4.3% year on year, with Driveway, Block and Commercial Paving and Kerbs particularly badly hit. However, as the weather improved the whole category exploded into life delivering growth of 11.3% and 11.7% year on year for May and June and a quarterly growth of 6.5%.
Heavy Building Materials also showed strong growth in quarter 2, up 6.3% year on year. Plaster, Plasterboard and Insulation had a great April year on year as typical external works were still delayed and then Drainage, Civils and Guttering had a strong end to the quarter as the trades moved outside.
The cold weather in quarter 1 also seemed to stimulate growth in Quarter 2 within the Plumbing, Heating and Electrical category as people looked to upgrade old or failing equipment. The category had exceptional year on year growth up 13.3%, with April growing at 22.5% year on year driven by Boilers and Lighting.
Timber and Joinery also had a great quarter and had a major impact on total value growth this quarter, up 9.5% year on year with April delivering exceptional growth of 12.6%. Sheet Materials sub category was a big contributor, with its quarterly growth percentage hitting the high teens.
Before we break out the champagne and fire the corks at those naysayers, we must be wary. Price inflation and one extra trading day this year in quarter two had an effect on growth. Nevertheless we should be content that the sector is still in good health.
Looking forward, what effect will the sunny start to quarter 3 and a successful World Cup have had on sales? Will our delicate British constitutions have melted; will the call of a ‘cold one’ while watching the ‘waist coated one’ have been too strong? Will the feel-good factor have pushed the builders and merchants on once again? We will see.
For additional, deeper category insights and benchmarking please contact Richard Frankcom at GfK.