The Builders Merchant Building Index

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VALUE EX VAT Index Feb 18 Mar 18 Apr 18 May 18 Jun 18 Jul 18 Aug 18 Sept 18 Oct 18 Nov 18 Dec 18 Jan 19 Feb 19 Mar 19 Apr 19 May 19 Jun 19
Total Builders Merchants 100 104.5 112.2 116.1 129.4 127.6 129.1 124.7 118.4 131.8 122.5 77.4 107.8 108.7 121.9 122.0 129.3 117.2
Timber & Joinery Products 100 107.6 112.9 115.9 126.7 126.2 131.1 129.3 124.7 137.2 126.8 79.9 114.7 112.2 123.3 122.3 127.9 118.3
Heavy Building Materials 100 103.3 110.8 115.9 128.7 128.0 128.8 123.9 117.8 132.4 121.8 75.6 106.6 108.1 121.2 121.1 129.2 116.2
Decorating 100 100.8 106.5 106.6 117.0 114.9 119.4 117.2 112.0 124.6 116.1 78.8 104.6 103.3 114.8 109.7 115.1 108.1
Tools 100 100.0 111.2 105.1 110.5 113.3 112.5 109.7 108.0 123.2 117.8 73.0 100.3 99.8 108.8 99.5 104.5 96.7
Workwear & Safetywear 100 107.3 108.3 100.2 96.0 95.7 95.9 98.3 107.5 123.5 129.5 79.9 111.5 96.8 101.5 95.5 100.1 99.3
Ironmongery 100 114.8 118.0 117.3 125.7 123.9 128.8 124.4 117.9 133.6 129.3 84.5 120.8 115.5 125.2 122.5 127.6 117.7
Landscaping 100 88.0 104.8 132.1 170.4 164.1 156.6 142.4 122.8 126.0 106.1 64.0 87.1 98.2 131.6 154.5 171.1 146.6
Plumbing, Heating & Electrical 100 125.2 136.1 120.4 122.7 117.1 116.8 114.5 120.4 141.1 146.5 96.9 130.8 125.7 131.2 117.6 120.2 109.7
Renewables & Water Saving 100 76.3 79.8 74.2 70.4 75.0 73.5 64.8 67.8 76.4 68.5 45.8 69.3 65.7 78.5 64.5 61.4 73.1
Kitchens & Bathrooms 100 115.2 120.3 111.9 119.2 117.8 121.4 118.4 113.0 122.5 128.2 81.2 109.5 115.3 122.8 115.2 116.5 112.7
Miscellaneous 100 113.2 114.2 111.3 120.5 115.3 116.8 113.9 106.6 126.3 119.1 85.1 122.7 111.6 115.1 113.6 122.5 113.7
Services 100 96.4 107.3 109.6 125.4 116.9 121.1 120.1 106.9 125.1 114.2 79.9 94.5 99.7 110.0 113.6 121.8 106.4

Source: GfK's Builders Merchants Total Category Report - December 2017 to June 2019

Latest Overview

The exit of Theresa May, arrival of Boris Johnson and the passing of two Brexit deadlines has impacted business and consumer confidence in 2019. However it is the noticeable effect that weather has had on the industry over the past 18 months that stands out. Q2 2019 saw a decline of -1.2% in value terms against Q2 2018, but this is exclusively driven by the month of June. June 2018 will be remembered for extreme heat and a lack of rain, while 2019 saw most of England and Wales with a higher rain fall than average, alongside one less trading day resulting in June 2019 being down by -8.1% year on year. Furthermore Q2 2018 sales spiked due to Q1 external construction delays following the Beast from the East, so assessing Q2 2019 too harshly would be wrong.

The topline value indicator for Q2 2019 vs 2018 shows Timber & Joinery stable at -0.1%, balanced against minimal Timber increases and a slight decline in Sheet Materials. Heavy Building Materials has declined by 1.6%, with highlights including growth for Plaster & Plasterboards and Insulation and a decline in Aggregates.

Year to date figures still show value growth against 2018, but this has slowed down to 2.1% with price inflation the driver as volume continues to slow. The core sectors of Heavy Building Materials and Timber & Joinery have driven most of this growth, increasing in value by 2.2% and 3.1% respectively. Landscaping remains the best performing, up by 6.5% however Tools has shown a sluggish performance down by -4.9%.

Core sub-categories within these main categories are driving this performance and provide a positive indicator that the market continues to plug away, with Bricks, Plasterboards, Insulation, Timber & Flooring all seeing higher than market average increases. Does this emphasize the fortitude of the industry in riding through this challenging time, with better days hopefully ahead? Time will tell.

Q3 should provide some smoothing of these short term weather trends, as well as a more realistic outlook on how the industry has progressed in 2019. The 31st of October deadline is just around the corner; will this deliver the end of these gloomy and turbulent times? In this current political climate who can tell.

 

 

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