BMBI reports that total Builders Merchants value sales to builders and contractors in November 2018 were up 0.8% compared with November 2017 but 7% lower than October.
However, BMBI also reports that four categories did better, including Timber & Joinery Products (+3.9%), the second-largest category. In addition, Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+3.3%) had its highest monthly sales since BMBI started in July 2014.
The last three years have seen sales drop between October and November, but the reduction was higher this year. This being said, October 2018 did have the highest value sales since BMBI started, which will have contributed to this fall.
The eleven months January to November 2018 were 4.0% ahead of the same period in 2017. Plumbing Heating & Electrical was strongest (+7.7%) with Timber & Joinery Products (+7.2%) close behind.
November’s BMBI index 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.
Sales Director Ibstock and BMBI’s Expert for Bricks, Tony France, comments: “With the uncertainty of Brexit continuing, there has been little perceptible impact on the demand for clay facing bricks. After a weather-affected start to 2018, with GB produced brick despatch volumes down 6% in Q1 2018 compared with 2017, Q2 and Q3 saw good recovery. Both quarters experienced 2% despatch volume growth against the same periods in 2017.
“While overall GB brick despatches, therefore, are broadly flat year-on-year, there has been a significant increase in brick production. In the first nine months of 2018, GB brick manufacturers produced 9% more bricks than in the same period of 2017, enough to build around 18,000 houses. That’s the highest level of output since before the credit crunch, 10 years ago.
Ibstock was a definite contributor, with it’s new Eclipse factory now at almost full capacity. As Ibstock Brick manufactures all its products in the UK, no major impact is expected from Brexit.
“Ibstock contributed with its new Eclipse factory now almost at full capacity and steadily increasing production towards its target of two million soft-mud bricks a week. In addition, a factory maintenance programme at some of our 20 factories will increase yields, improve quality and provide greater volumes for the growing market.
“Brexit is creating uncertainty, we’re determined that the brick supply chain will be doing the opposite!” Tony concludes.
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