THE LATEST FIGURES show that year-on-year sales through UK builders’ merchants continue growing as high demand for building products is sustained.
The Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) shows total sales increased compared to May 2019 (+7.9%), with two less trading days, and average sales per day were 19.3% higher over the same period.
However, nine categories are still waiting to hit their pre-pandemic levels with only Timber & Joinery Products (+28.1%) and Landscaping (+26.5%) selling more.
May’s BMBI index was 141.4, with two less trading days, demonstrating builders’ merchants’ continuing sales growth. Nine of the 12 categories exceeded 100, with Landscaping (220.5) and Timber & Joinery Products (173.2) both out-performing merchants overall.
Month-on-month figures indicate that May sales failed to reach the record-breaking heights seen in March and April (-6.1% on April, with one less trading day). All categories sold less, but some did better generally including Kitchens & Bathrooms (-1.8%), a positive sign that inside trades are recovering.
Mike Rigby, CEO of MRA Research which produces the report, said: “Year-on-year sales are looking strong and they will surely continue to gather momentum as the remaining restrictions are lifted and more inside trades get back to work.
“To ensure we continue on a growth trajectory, balancing supply and demand will be key. Supplier lead times are the highest they’ve been for almost 25 years, putting pressure on pricing and customer service. Forward planning and regular communication with customer and suppliers is a must if merchants and the industry as a whole are to ride out the storm.”
Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK Retail & Technology UK adds: “While sales in May haven’t reached those same dizzy heights as March and April, there is plenty to be positive about. Construction output has picked up from earlier in the year, driven by housebuilding and a good pipeline of public infrastructure projects, and categories which had been struggling like Kitchens & Bathrooms.
“Material shortages remain a concern though – particularly steel, timber, cement and roof tiles – and with this forecast to continue until the end of the year, merchants may have a few more headaches to come as we head into the summer months.”
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