The Builders Merchant Building Index

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VALUE EX VAT Index Jan 19 Feb 19 Mar 19 Apr 19 May 19 Jun 19 Jul 19 Aug 19 Sept 19 Oct 19 Nov 19 Dec 19 Jan 20 Feb 20 Mar 20 Apr 20 May 20
Total Builders Merchants 100 107.8 108.7 121.9 122.0 129.3 117.2 132.8 117.7 118.9 126.0 113.4 78.4 105.3 107.6 103.8 29.0 78.7
Timber & Joinery Products 100 114.7 112.2 123.3 122.3 127.9 118.3 130.9 117.0 119.3 127.4 114.7 77.4 107.2 104.9 100.8 25.8 80.5
Heavy Building Materials 100 106.6 108.1 121.2 121.1 129.2 116.2 132.5 117.3 119.1 125.9 112.2 76.3 103.8 106.2 104.4 30.7 78.5
Decorating 100 104.6 103.3 114.8 109.7 115.1 108.1 124.2 113.2 112.5 122.1 113.1 81.6 104.9 105.8 96.7 20.3 54.8
Tools 100 100.3 99.8 108.8 99.5 104.5 96.7 106.7 97.3 100.0 111.8 102.8 70.3 94.8 96.2 80.0 10.0 35.1
Workwear & Safetywear 100 111.5 96.8 101.5 95.5 100.1 99.3 108.8 95.5 110.9 134.6 134.3 83.2 119.9 128.0 139.3 38.1 66.6
Ironmongery 100 120.8 115.5 125.2 122.5 127.6 117.7 133.1 120.6 120.7 131.9 118.9 88.4 118.4 115.9 103.8 27.4 58.9
Landscaping 100 87.1 98.2 131.6 154.5 171.1 146.6 165.4 136.7 125.3 119.1 98.2 66.7 90.5 105.5 111.7 39.6 152.5
Plumbing, Heating & Electrical 100 130.8 125.7 131.2 117.6 120.2 109.7 123.8 111.8 124.6 141.5 134.6 98.5 128.9 126.9 107.1 26.3 51.8
Renewables & Water Saving 100 69.3 65.7 78.5 64.5 61.4 73.1 76.1 78.0 76.0 74.6 72.2 54.1 79.7 88.0 69.9 15.0 26.7
Kitchens & Bathrooms 100 109.5 115.3 122.8 115.2 116.5 112.7 129.2 116.4 118.5 127.6 125.8 88.3 111.4 120.1 104.0 15.3 43.7
Miscellaneous 100 122.7 111.6 115.1 113.6 122.5 113.7 135.8 118.5 128.0 131.6 121.1 90.8 120.3 115.1 152.9 36.9 55.1
Services 100 94.5 99.7 110.0 113.6 121.8 106.4 125.6 116.0 113.2 122.6 112.9 87.2 100.1 103.2 102.7 42.2 70.2

Source: GfK's Builders Merchants Total Category Report - October 2018 to May 2020

Latest Overview

Builders’ Merchant sales bounce back sharply in May

After April’s unprecedented sales collapse due to the Covid-19 lockdown, trades began to return to work in May, encouraging merchants to start re-opening branches – with most still offering a restricted service. This BMBI report documents the start of what appears to be a strong bounce back.

Year-on-Year

Total Builders Merchants value sales in May were down 39.9% compared with May 2019 (a significant improvement on April, which was -76.3% less than April 2019). All categories sold less, with Tools (-66.1%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-62.7%) hit hardest. Workwear & Safetywear (-33.4%) was affected less and Landscaping finished just 12.5% below last May. With May having two less trading days this year, overall average sales a day for the month were 33.6% lower than May 2019.

Month-on-Month

With April sales at unprecedented levels, May’s partial recovery resulted in some highly unusual month-on-month growth figures. Total merchant value sales in May were 171.3% above April 2020, with one less trading day this month. Five categories did better, lead by Tools (+308%), despite it being the weakest category year-on-year. To put this percentage growth into context, Tools revenue in May was four times that of April. Landscaping sold 278.9% more than in April and Kitchens & Bathrooms was up 210.7%. Largest category Heavy Building Materials (+157.6%) grew more slowly. Average sales a day in May across all merchants were 185.6% higher than in April.

Other periods

Year to date sales in the first five months of 2020 were 29.2% down on January to May 2019, with one less trading day this year. Workwear & Safetywear (-2.7%) did best, boosted by strong demand for protective equipment. The three weakest categories were Tools (-40.4%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (-33.2%) and Timber & Joinery Products (-31.3%).

The 12 months June 2019 to May 2020 were down 14.1% on the same period a year earlier. Eight categories did better, led by Workwear & Safetywear (+1.7%), the only category that sold more. Tools (-23.3%) did least well.

Index

May’s BMBI index was 78.7 and with the exception of seasonal category Landscaping (152.5), all categories were well down.

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