Builders’ merchant’s sales almost back on track in July
The strong post-Covid-19 recovery seen in May and June continued in July, with total Builders Merchants value sales only 1.3% below July 2019. Landscaping (+25.4%) did best, with Workwear & Safetywear(+21.3%) close behind. Timber & Joinery Products was up 1.5%. Other categories all sold less, with ‘inside’ trades particularly affected, including Decorating (-8.9%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (-13.6%) and Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-15.8%).
Total Merchants sales in July were 8.7% higher than in June, helped by one more trading day this month. Workwear & Safetywear(+34.1%) was the top performer. Although behind year-on-year, sales of Kitchens & Bathrooms (+27.3%) and Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+22.1%) grew strongly compared with June. Largest category Heavy Building Materials was up 8.0% compared with a strong surge in June. Landscaping (-6.9%) was the only category that sold less.
Average sales a day, which takes trading day differences into account, were 4.0% higher in July than in June.
The last three months (May to July) were down 13.4% overall compared with the same three months in 2019. Eleven of the twelve categories sold less, with Kitchens & Bathrooms (-32.4%), Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-31.8%) and Tools (-29.6%) the hardest hit. Landscaping (+19.5%) was the only category to sell more.
However, sales grew strongly in the last three months (May to July) compared with the previous three months (February to April). Total Builders Merchants surged +38.9% as branches re-opened following the Covid-19 lockdown. Eight of the categories sold more, with Landscaping (+130.4%) the top performer. Timber & Joinery Products was up 44.3%. Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-6.0%) was one of four categories to sell less. With two more trading days in May to July, average sales a day were 34.6% higher.
In the first seven months of 2020, total sales were down 20.4% compared with January to July 2019. Workwear & Safetywear (+1.2%) was the only category that sold more. Tools (-32.0%, Kitchens & Bathrooms (-28.6%) and Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-27.3%) were weakest. Average sales a day in the period were down 20.9%, with one more trading day this year.
July’s BMBI index was 131.9, helped by two more trading days. Seasonal category Landscaping (208.2) was strongest.