The Builders Merchant Building Index

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VALUE EX VAT Index Sept 18 Oct 18 Nov 18 Dec 18 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
Total Builders Merchants 100 118.4 131.8 122.5 77.4 107.8 108.7 121.9 122.0 129.3 117.2 132.8 117.7 118.9 126.0 113.4 78.4 105.3
Timber & Joinery Products 100 124.7 137.2 126.8 79.9 114.7 112.2 123.3 122.3 127.9 118.3 130.9 117.0 119.3 127.4 114.7 77.4 107.2
Heavy Building Materials 100 117.8 132.4 121.8 75.6 106.6 108.1 121.2 121.1 129.2 116.2 132.5 117.3 119.1 125.9 112.2 76.3 103.8
Decorating 100 112.0 124.6 116.1 78.8 104.6 103.3 114.8 109.7 115.1 108.1 124.2 113.2 112.5 122.1 113.1 81.6 104.9
Tools 100 108.0 123.2 117.8 73.0 100.3 99.8 108.8 99.5 104.5 96.7 106.7 97.3 100.0 111.8 102.8 70.3 94.8
Workwear & Safetywear 100 107.5 123.5 129.5 79.9 111.5 96.8 101.5 95.5 100.1 99.3 108.8 95.5 110.9 134.6 134.3 83.2 119.9
Ironmongery 100 117.9 133.6 129.3 84.5 120.8 115.5 125.2 122.5 127.6 117.7 133.1 120.6 120.7 131.9 118.9 88.4 118.4
Landscaping 100 122.8 126.0 106.1 64.0 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
Plumbing, Heating & Electrical 100 120.4 141.1 146.5 96.9 130.8 125.7 131.2 117.6 120.2 109.7 123.8 111.8 124.6 141.5 134.6 98.5 128.9
Renewables & Water Saving 100 67.8 76.4 68.5 45.8 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
Kitchens & Bathrooms 100 113.0 122.5 128.2 81.2 109.5 115.3 122.8 115.2 116.5 112.7 129.2 116.4 118.5 127.6 125.8 88.3 111.4
Miscellaneous 100 106.6 126.3 119.1 85.1 122.7 111.6 115.1 113.6 122.5 113.7 135.8 118.5 128.0 131.6 121.1 90.8 120.3
Services 100 106.9 125.1 114.2 79.9 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

Source: GfK's Builders Merchants Total Category Report - September 2018 to January 2020

Latest Overview

Subdued start to 2020

Year-on-Year

Total Builders’ Merchant sales in January were down 2.6% compared with January 2019. Seven categories sold less, with Timber & Joinery Products (-7.0%) weakest, followed by Tools (-6.1%) which had its lowest average sales a day since BMBI data was first recorded in July 2014. Heavy Building Materials (the largest category) was down 2.7%. Five categories sold more this year, including Workwear & Safetywear (+7.3%) and Landscaping (+3.9%).

Month-on-Month

Comparing sales between January and December is always affected by a significant difference in the number of trading days (22 in January 2020 and 15 in December 2019). As a result, total January sales were 34.4% higher.

However average sales a day provides a more meaningful comparison, with January 8.4% weaker than December. Kitchens & Bathrooms (-14.0%) and Decorating (-12.4%) were particularly low. Although still selling less each day, six categories did better than merchants overall – including Timber & Joinery Products (-5.5%) and Workwear & Safetywear (-1.8%).

Other periods

Sales in the 12 months February 2019 to January 2020 were down 0.5% on the same period a year earlier, with one less trading day. Four categories sold less: Tools (-6.7%); Timber & Joinery Products (-2.0%); Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-0.8%) and Heavy Building Materials (-0.7%). The eight categories selling more included Landscaping (+2.9%), Workwear & Safetywear (+2.5%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+1.8%). Average sales a day in the last 12 months were down 0.1% overall.

Index

January’s BMBI index was 105.3, with one additional trading day. Nine categories exceeded 100, with seasonal category Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (128.9) doing best. Workwear & Safetywear (119.9) and Ironmongery (118.4) also performed well. Landscaping (90.5) was one of only three categories below 100. The average sales a day index for January was 99.3.

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