Higher February sales, driven by a strong performance from Timber & Joinery Products
Total Builders Merchants February 2021 value sales were 2.3% higher than in February 2020, with no difference in trading days. However only three of the twelve categories sold more this year, led by a strong performance from Timber & Joinery Products (+18.2%). Others selling more were Landscaping (+8.6%) and Tools (+2.0%).
The nine categories selling less included largest category Heavy Building Materials (-1.8%) and ‘Inside’ trades Kitchens & Bathrooms (-8.6%), Decorating (-8.4%) and Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-3.6%). Workwear & Safetywear was 12.9% lower but this was on the back of a very strong pre-Covid-19 lockdown performance in February 2020, when it gained 30.8% on February 2019. Looking at a two-year comparison, Workwear & Safetywear was 14.7% higher in February 2021 than in February 2019.
Total Merchants February sales were 8.6% higher than in January, with no difference in trading days. Nine of the categories were up. Landscaping (+24.1%) did best, followed by Kitchens & Bathrooms (+13.8%), Decorating (+11.6%) and Tools (+11.0%). Workwear & Safetywear (-9.0%) was weakest.
Total sales in the last three months (December 2020 to February 2021) were 1.8% higher than in December 2019 to February 2020, with no difference in trading days. Only Timber & Joinery Products (+14.8%) and Landscaping (+11.0%) sold more. Categories doing less well included Decorating (-10.5%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-7.3%).
Sales in the 12 months March 2020 to February 2021 were 10.4% lower than in the preceding 12 months. Only Landscaping (+6.0%) sold more. A number of categories remain well-adrift due to the initial Covid-19 lockdown, including Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-20.2%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (-20.1%), Tools (-19.8%) and Decorating (-18.6%). As we approach the first anniversary of Lockdown 1, with its severe impact on sales in April and May 2020, the scope of returning to MAT year-on-year growth can be anticipated.
February’s BMBI index was 109.4. Nine of the categories exceeded 100, led by Timber & Joinery Products (128.8). Next-strongest was Plumbing Heating & Electrical (120.3). Of the main categories, Tools (93.7) was weakest, followed by Decorating (95.7).