A solid October for builders’ merchants

Published:  19 December, 2017

The latest Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report has shown that builders’ merchants have experienced continued strong sales value growth in the third Quarter (Q3) of 2017.

Taking one less trading day difference into account, average sales per day in Q3 2017 were nearly 7% ahead of Q3 2016. The largest increases were in the Ironmongery (+10.0%) and Kitchens and Bathrooms (+9.9%) product categories.

Q3 has also shown impressive growth, compared to the Year to Date (YTD) growth values, where total sales were 4.9% ahead of the same period in 2016. All categories made gains other than Landscaping, where Q3 and YTD was identical (+4.1%), attributed largely to seasonal variations.

Richard Frankcom, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade Panel, GfK, said: “Builders’ merchants continue to buck the trends seen across most areas of the retail market. However, the sector saw a steady rise in inflation during Q3, starting in July at 2.7% and rising to 3.0% by September, which led to the first rise in interest rates since July 2007.

“With the BMBI still in its infancy, we are yet to fully appreciate the correlation between merchant sales and wider economic indicators. Property value growth is slowing, but still positive, and improvements to the home are still good long-term investments. However, wages are lagging behind price inflation and homeowners have less to spend. GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index slipped by one point to -10 in October and continues to bump along in negative territory.

“Will we see a slow down over the coming months or will the UK’s demand for new properties continue to drive our segment? Only time will tell.”

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