Builders merchants’ sales rise by 9% in November

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Builders merchants’ sales increased by 9% in November, the largest year-on-year increase since March 2019, according to the latest Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI)

Despite stricter Covid-19 restrictions being in place for most of the month, builders merchants’ sales grew by 9% in November.

Year-on-year growth was mainly driven by four main product categories – landscaping was up 29.3% compared to November 2019, while timber & joinery products also reported substantial value sales growth at 16.3%. Sales of heavy building materials (+8.7%) and ironmongery (+2.4%) were also above last November’s level.

While workwear & safety wear decreased by 6% and plumbing heating & electrical plummeted by 5.8%.

Many other categories recovered with sales just below last year’s level.

Month-on-month data shows that the strongest increases compared to October were in the renewables & water saving at an increase of 4.6% and kitchens & bathrooms at +2.9%.

Overall, total builders merchants’ sales in November were 2.3% lower than in October 2020, on one less trading day. However, when adjusted for the trading day difference, sales increased 2.3% compared to last month, with almost all categories ahead.

Builders merchants

‘Further growth in a post-Covid marketplace’

Mike Rigby, CEO of MRA Research, which produces the BMBI reports, said: “Categorised by Government as essential to the economy, builders’ merchants, and the construction industry as a whole, remained fully open during the tighter Covid-19 restrictions imposed in November.

“Although November’s surge included an element of pre-Brexit stockpiling and some sharp price increases on imported goods, the very positive sales figures demonstrate the resilience of the merchant sector.

“It also shows how well and quickly they’ve adapted to the circumstances by rolling out online ordering, click-and-collect or delivery to site options on a broader scale to avoid disruption the second time around.

“It’s an excellent foundation for further growth in a post-Covid marketplace as we emerge from the pandemic.”

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