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October sales largely flat for builders’ merchants, says latest BMBI figures

By December 20, 2020 No Comments

Builders’ merchant sales were largely flat in October 2020, with the exception of landscaping, and timber and joinery products, which outperformed the rest of the market sectors. This is according to the latest Builders’ Merchant Building Index (BMBI) figures.

Total builders’ merchants value sales in October were 0.2% higher than in October 2019, with one less trading day this year. Of the two categories that sold more, Landscaping was up by 16.5%, while Timber & Joinery Products (+5.0%) had its highest monthly turnover since BMBI data was first recorded in July 2014.

Sales were driven by Timber – which encompasses Carcassing (Treated & Untreated), Timber Battens, Softwood, Hardwood, Pre-Cut Timber, Panels, Planks, Stud Work, Partitions, Roof Trusses and Porches.
Sales in the largest BMBI category, Heavy Building Materials, were 0.6% lower. Indoor categories saw larger falls, with Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-10.5%) weakest. Decorating (-8.1%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-6.5%) were also down.

Average sales per day, which take trading day differences into account, were 4.7% up on October 2019.

Total sales in October were 1.8% lower than in September. Five of the categories sold more this month, with Workwear & Safetywear (+12.7%) doing best, followed by Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+9.2%).

Sales in the last three months (August to October) were up 1.5% overall compared with the same three months in 2019, with one less trading day this year. Landscaping (+21.3%) did significantly better than other categories, while Timber & Joinery Products (+4.7%) and Heavy Building Materials (+0.3%) also sold more. The other nine categories sold less, including Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-10.1%), Tools (-4.9%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-4.6%).

Sales were up 10.9% in the last three months compared with the previous three months (May to July). All but one of the categories sold more, with Kitchens & Bathrooms (+41.6%) and Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+40.7%) being strongest. Decorating (24.1%) and Heavy Building Materials (+11.3%) also did better. Landscaping (-22.4%) was the only category that sold less in August to October, against very strong sales in May to July.

In the nine months from January to October, total sales were down 13.8% compared with the same months in 2019. Landscaping (+2.8%) sold more and Workwear & Safetywear (+0.1%) was flat. The remaining ten categories all sold less, with Tools (-23.9%) Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-22.1%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-21.3%) weakest.

More details on the BMBI can be found at