Merchants anticipate better sales

Published:  26 August, 2010

“Sales in the first quarter of 2010 were hit by the bad weather but should now improve. We’re expecting the social housing market to be particularly active, as councils and housing associations meet their commitments to upgrade properties. In contrast, private housebuilding will continue to be hit by the uncertain economy, although it’s a market we will be pursuing.” Terry Merriman, timber buyer, AK Timms & Sons, Oxfordshire

Sales quarter-on-quarter

A net 6%* of merchants sold more timber fire doors in the last three months

(January to March 2010) compared with the previous quarter (October to Dec-ember 2009). Large firms (net 29%) and small companies (6%) reported improved sales, whereas mid-sized merchants saw no change. Sales were higher for firms in the Midlands (20%) and South (5%) but unchanged for merchants in the North.

National companies (net 31%) and local chains (22%) sold more, whereas

independent merchants (16%) sold less. More builders’ merchants (8%) experienced higher sales than timber merchants (4%). Other outlets saw no difference.

* The difference between the percentage of companies reporting an increase over those reporting a decrease is the net balance.


Sales by customer and sector

In the three months January to March, 33% of merchants’ sales of timber fire doors went to tradesmen and 30% to general builders. Housebuilders/contractors accounted for 28% and the remaining 9% went mainly to DIY-ers.

By sector, 50% of merchant sales were for housing repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI). Commercial RMI accounted for 30% of sales, newbuild housing 14% and newbuild non-housing 6%.


Sales year-on-year

Sales were down year-on-year, with a net 24% of merchants reporting a decrease in the last three months compared with the same period of 2009.

Mid-sized companies (36%) and small firms (17%) reported lower sales, whereas large merchants were unchanged. More businesses in the South (36%) reported weaker sales than those in other regions (14%).

A net 26% of timber merchants and 16% of builders’ merchants sold less.

Sales were lower for independents (32%) than for national and local chains (16%).

In the last three months (January to March), 97% of all fire doors sold by merchants had a 30-minute fire resistance. The remaining 3% were 60-minute fire-rated doors.


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