The latest overview of the Builders Merchant Building Index shows that after a strong start to the year, growing uncertainty around Brexit led to a marked slowdown in merchants’ sales in Q2. As the deadline looms closer it’s clear that the uncertainty continues to impact negatively on merchants’ sales.
Total Builders Merchants’ sales in August 2019 were down 5.6% compared with the same period in 2018. On a like-for-like basis, with one less trading day, average sales a day were only 1.1% down. The best performing sector in August was Kitchens & Bathrooms, which increased by 3.0% year-on-year, on an adjusted basis.
Other sectors which recorded positive growth on an equal number of trading days included Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+2.3%), Workwear & Safetywear (+1.8%) and Ironmongery (+1.5%). Average sales a day fell back in Timber & Joinery (-5.2%), Tools (-7.1%) and Heavy Building Materials (-0.8%).
Total August 2019 sales were down by 11.4% compared with the previous month. However, when adjusted for the two-day trading difference, sales were down 2.9%. Landscaping (-9.5%), Timber & Joinery (-2.1%) and Heavy Building Materials (-3%) were significantly down. All product categories saw sales decrease in August compared to July.
Sales in the rolling 12 months September 2018 to August 2019 were up 1.6% on the same period last year. Year-to-date sales also remained positive at 1.2% compared to August 2018.
August’s BMBI index was 117.7, with Landscaping the highest category at 136.7.