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Builders’ stores continue to see sales fall

25 Sep 23 The latest Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report shows sales at builders’ merchants across Britain falling again in July.

Builders’ merchant takings were down 0.4% in July 2023 compared to July 2022, despite prices being 8.1% higher this year, with sales volumes – the amount of stuff sold – down 7.9%

Month-on-month, revenues were down 5.5% in July compared to June and volume sales were down 7.5%. With one less trading day in July, like-for-like revenues were down 1%.

Total sales revenue in the 12 months from August 2022 to July 2023 should no change, but with prices up 13.9% over the period, volumes were down 12.2% for the year.

The numbers come from point of sale data from more than 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales across Great Britain, including Buildbase, Jewson, Travis Perkins, EH Smith, Gibbs & Dandy, MKM, Bradfords, Covers and Sydenhams

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Mike Rigby, who as MRA Research produces these monthly reports, said: “The latest figures from BMBI show a slight drop off in merchant value sales for July, but the rolling three month quarter on quarter comparison is more positive with May to July value sales up 8.5% on the previous three months.

“House-building fell in July, for the eighth month in succession, as higher mortgage rates and cost of living pressures impact demand. Cool, wet and windy weather in July further dampened demand and delayed planned works. After six months of incremental increases, GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index dipped in July (down 6 points to -30) but recovered in August to -25. This renewed optimism was reflected in households’ personal finances and their expectations of the general economic outlook in the next 12 months. More significantly for RMI, there was an +8 point improvement in major purchase intentions.

“All is not doom and gloom. It’s too easy to be swept along with the gloomy tendency of the national media narrative, a narrative which has had to be reset after the ONS released revised figures for the economy showing Britain to be doing as well and, in some cases (Germany), better than other European economies.”

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