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Sat September 25 2021

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Plumbing boom helps builders' merchants to year-on-year sales growth

24 Aug 18 UK builders’ merchants report a bounce-back in sales for the second quarter of 2018 after a slow start to the year.

Repair work to frozen pipes and broken boilers after the big freeze has been suggested as a contributing factor to a particularly strong rise in sales of plumbing products

The Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reported 7.2% growth in sales value in Q2 2018 compared to Q2 2017.  Stripping out the extra trading day this year, the average daily sales growth year on year was 5.5%. The strong performance in Q2 contrasts with the weather-hindered performance in the first quarter of the year, the survey compilers noted.

The timber & joinery category had a major impact on total sales value growth in Q2, up 9.5% year on year.  Within this the sheet materials sub-category was a big contributor.

Heavy building materials, the largest product category, saw sales up 6.3% on the same period last year.

Sales of plumbing, heating and electrical products rose 13.3% year-on-year in the second quarter, with people looking to upgrade old or failing equipment after the hard winter was cited as a possible explanation.

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For the first six months of 2018, total builders’ merchants’ sales increased by 4.0% over the first six months of 2017.

The BMBI uses GfK’s point of sale tracking data drawn from over 80% of builders’ merchants’ sales throughout the country.

Builders Merchants Federation chief executive John Newcomb said: “For the second quarter running the impact of the weather on construction output – and builders’ merchants’ sales – is clear to see. The warm, dry weather through much of Q2 has enabled construction work to catch up on sites that had stalled earlier in the year.  The merchant industry will be buoyed by Q2 sales and, with above average temperatures forecast into the autumn, we remain confident of continued growth this year.”

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