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Sat March 06 2021

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Builders’ merchant sales dipped in November

29 Jan 19 Sales at mainland UK builders’ merchant stores in November 2018 were 7.0% down on the previous month but up 0.8% compared with November 2017.

Year-on-year, four categories did better, including Timber & Joinery Products (+3.9%), the second-largest category. Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+3.3%) had its highest monthly sales since BMBI started in July 2014.

Seven categories sold less in November 2018 than in November 2017, but three had falls of less than 1%: Ironmongery (-0.1%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (-0.4%) which, despite the decline, had its best monthly sales in 2018, and largest category Heavy Building Materials (-0.8%).

Month on month

Overall November 2018 sales were 7.0% lower than October 2018. The last three years have seen sales drop between October and November but the reduction was higher this time. However, October 2018 had the highest value sales since GfK’s Builders Merchants Panel started collecting data in July 2014.

Workwear & Safetywear (+4.9%) was one of only three categories that sold more, along with Kitchens & Bathrooms (+4.6%) and Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+3.9%). Landscaping (-15.7%) was weakest, but as it is such a seasonal category this was not unexpected.

Rolling 12 months

The rolling 12 months December 2017 to November 2018 were 3.7% above the same 12 months a year previously, with one less trading day. Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+7.5%) was strongest. Average sales per day in the period were 4.2% higher.


November’s The Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) was 122.5 with one additional trading day. Plumbing Heating & Electrical was top (146.5). The average sales a day index for November was 115.6.

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