The Builders Merchant Building Index

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VALUE EX VAT Index Sept 19 Oct 19 Nov 19 Dec 19 Jan 20 Feb 20 Mar 20 Apr 20 May 20 Jun 20 Jul 20 Aug 20 Sept 20 Oct 20 Nov 20 Dec 20 Jan 21 Feb 21
Total Builders Merchants 100 118.8 126.2 113.3 76.8 104.7 106.9 103.1 29.0 78.7 121.4 131.9 113.3 128.7 126.4 123.5 83.5 100.7 109.4
Timber & Joinery Products 100 125.4 134.4 120.4 79.1 111.5 109.0 105.0 26.9 80.5 126.7 140.3 120.6 139.3 141.1 139.9 95.2 120.0 128.8
Heavy Building Materials 100 116.9 123.5 109.9 73.5 101.7 103.8 102.0 30.5 78.5 116.4 125.6 108.6 125.4 122.8 119.4 78.1 95.9 102.0
Decorating 100 111.5 121.5 112.5 80.0 103.6 104.5 95.2 19.8 54.8 94.4 112.4 100.1 113.1 111.7 110.5 76.2 85.8 95.7
Tools 100 96.0 108.9 100.8 67.0 91.8 91.9 74.2 8.6 35.1 79.3 99.0 85.8 98.5 101.0 100.0 70.9 84.4 93.7
Workwear & Safetywear 100 110.7 135.0 134.8 82.4 119.4 127.7 139.1 37.7 66.6 98.2 131.7 98.4 111.1 125.2 126.7 87.9 122.3 111.3
Ironmongery 100 122.0 133.2 120.0 87.7 118.7 116.1 104.0 27.3 58.9 108.8 128.7 113.6 127.3 127.3 122.9 87.8 103.1 111.5
Landscaping 100 122.6 116.3 94.9 62.4 86.9 103.0 110.4 40.3 152.5 223.7 208.2 157.2 161.0 135.6 122.8 78.0 90.1 111.9
Plumbing, Heating & Electrical 100 123.4 140.7 133.7 95.9 126.3 124.8 104.3 25.4 51.8 84.4 103.1 95.3 115.4 126.0 125.9 96.1 111.3 120.3
Renewables & Water Saving 100 73.0 74.0 72.0 51.4 75.2 86.1 68.6 12.7 26.7 55.1 69.3 58.2 71.9 67.2 70.3 50.4 62.6 62.3
Kitchens & Bathrooms 100 116.9 127.6 125.4 85.4 109.1 117.5 101.7 14.1 43.7 87.3 111.1 106.3 117.3 119.3 122.7 87.4 94.4 107.4
Miscellaneous 100 128.5 131.8 122.0 90.8 119.9 114.7 152.6 36.7 55.1 98.0 112.4 98.2 122.3 120.8 118.9 86.1 109.4 107.1
Services 100 116.6 125.5 115.7 89.7 103.0 106.1 105.3 42.3 70.2 105.9 119.4 109.2 119.2 117.5 115.4 89.0 93.5 103.3

Source: GfK's Builders Merchants Total Category Report - April 2018 to February 2021

Latest Overview

Higher February sales, driven by a strong performance from Timber & Joinery Products

Year-on-Year

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.

Month-on-Month

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.

Other periods

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.

Index

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).

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