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Heavyside sales falling further

All heavyside manufacturers saw sales fall in the last quarter of 2008, according to the latest Ernst and Young/ Construction Products Association Activity Barometer.

Heavyside sales falling further

The latest survey shows that virtually all manufacturers have seen sales fall in the last quarter. With a figure of 50 representing ‘no change’, the figure of 8 this time shows the worst conditions since the survey began and contrasts sharply with the figure of 80 seen in 2007.

However, for those heavyside manufacturers in the survey, the figure is an unprecedented zero. Heavyside manufacturers have been hit hardest by the slowdown in construction, which initially affected housing and industrial sectors but has now spread to public housing, commercial and repair and maintenance.

Lightside manufacturers have seen similar falls in sales but from a higher base. Their figure of 13 shows that most lightside manufacturers also saw sales fall and this contrasts sharply with a figure of 96 in the first quarter of 2007. However, as lightside manufacturing tends to follow trends on the heavyside, a figure of 10 for sales in the next quarter shows that the lightside manufacturers will soon catch up with heavyside.

Construction output in the final quarter of 2008 fell at its quickest rate since 1980 and with new orders falling by their greatest margin since 1983, the picture painted for construction product manufacturers is increasingly bleak.

Commenting on the results, Noble Francis, economics director for the Construction Products Association said: “Once again the heavyside manufacturers are indicating the severest conditions, recording an unprecedented score of zero for the last three months as their sales continue to decline.

“The future picture also shows that virtually all manufacturers are expecting sales to carry on decreasing as the recession continues. Similarly lightside manufacturers are enduring sales falls albeit it from a higher base, but they too are now predicting a very gloomy few months as their figures are expected to match those that the heavy side is currently experiencing.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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