After a strong start to the year, the uncertain economic climate has continued to impact negatively on merchants’ sales into October 2019, according to BMBI figures.
Total Builders Merchants’ sales in October were down 4.4% compared with the same period in 2018, on an equal number of trading days. The best performing sectors in October were Workwear & Safetywear (+9.0%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+4.1%), with Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+0.3%) also showing marginal growth.
Among categories with a weaker performance were Tools (-9.2%) and Timber & Joinery (-7.2%). Landscaping (-5.4%) and Heavy Building Materials (-4.9%) also performed less well year-on-year.
The picture was more positive month-on-month, as total October 2019 sales were up by 6.0% compared with September. However, when adjusted for the two-day trading difference, sales were down 3.2%.
Most product categories saw relatively strong growth month-on-month, including Workwear & Safetywear (+21.4%), Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+13.5%) and Tools (11.8%) and Ironmongery (9.3%). Timber & Joinery (+6.8%) and Heavy Building Materials (+5.7%), the largest categories, also saw sales increase on an unadjusted basis, but not in terms of average sales a day.
Sales in the rolling 12 months November 2018 to October 2019 were up 0.5% on the same period last year. Year-to-date sales also remained positive but was down to 0.5% compared with the same time last year.
October’s BMBI index was 126.0, with Plumbing, Heating & Electrical the highest at 141.5.
The report can be downloaded online at: https://www.bmbi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BMBI-October-2019-Report-MASTER.pdf