General News

November sales surge despite second lockdown

By January 29, 2021 No Comments

Total builders’ merchants value sales in November 2020 surged 9.0% ahead of November 2019, according to the latest Builders’ Merchant Building Index (BMBI) figures. This was the largest year-on-year increase since March 2019, and despite the second Covid-19 lockdown taking effect from 5th November, with builders heeding the Government’s directive that construction sites should remain open.

Four categories sold more than during November of the previous year, led by strong performances from Landscaping (+29.3%) and Timber & Joinery Products (+16.3%). Heavy Building Materials was 8.7% higher, although the Ironmongery sector (+2.4%) grew more slowly. The other eight categories sold less, with Workwear & Safetywear (-6.0%) and Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-5.8%) weakest.


Total merchants November sales were 2.3% lower in November than in October, with one less trading day. Renewables & Water Saving (+4.6%) did best, with Kitchens & Bathrooms (+2.9%) and Workwear & Safetywear (+1.2%) the only other categories that sold more. Landscaping (-9.5%) did least well. Ironmongery (-3.5%) and Heavy Building Materials (-2.7%) were also weaker. Average sales a day, which take trading day differences into account, were up 2.3% on October.

Other periods

Total sales in the last three months (September to November) were 5.7% higher than the same three months in 2019. Landscaping (+25.6%) was particularly strong, with Timber & Joinery Products (+10.6%) also doing well. Among the eight categories selling less, Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-7.7%) was weakest.

Sales were up 3.3% in the last three months compared with the previous three months (June to August) and all but one of the categories sold more. Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+29.9%) had the largest increase, with this category having been hit hard during the spring and summer months. Similarly, Kitchens & Bathrooms sold 17.9% more. Only seasonal category Landscaping (-28.8%) sold less.

Year-to-date sales hit a low point in May 2020 (-29.2%), but have improved steadily since then. In the 11 months from January to November, total sales were down 11.9% compared with the same months in 2019. Only Landscaping (+4.5%) sold more. Tools (-21.8%) was weakest, closely followed by Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-20.5%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-19.5%).


November’s BMBI index was 123.5. Timber & Joinery Products (139.9) was strongest.

More details on the BMBI can be found online at