An additional trading day in January 2017 on January last year contributed to 7.2% year on year sales value growth, according to the latest Builders Merchant Building Index. Adjusted for trading days, growth was 2.1%.
Although a little cooler, January was much drier compared to 2016 benefitting external projects and contributing to stronger growth in Landscaping (+8.8%) and Heavy Building Materials (+7.7%). Growth in these two areas was driven by a strong performance in the following sub-categories: Bricks & Blocks, Lintels, Roofing Products, Insulation, Builders Metalwork, Garden Walling/Paving & Driveways/Block Paving/Kerbs.
Four other categories also saw sales growth greater than the total channel, including Tools (+8.7%), Timber & Joinery (+8.2%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+7.9%).
Unsurprisingly, sales of Workwear & Safetywear did not gain from this year’s drier climate with sales values 2.8% down on a much wetter January 2016.
Total sales value in January was 22.8% up on December 2016 but down 0.6% when adjusted for trading days (17 in December 2016, 21 in January 2017). Timber & Joinery (+30.2%) was the biggest category to see growth ahead of the total channel.
January’s Builders Merchant Building Index was 94.7.
Mike Beard, Merchant Development Director Encon Insulation and BMBI’s Expert for Insulation Products – Distribution comments:
“The government has published Fixing Our Broken Housing Market, its long awaited housing white paper, in the drive to boost the UK’s housing supply. Representing a big policy shift and containing some ambitious measures, could this be the new blueprint to providing a smoother, more efficient framework to deliver more homes? Many of the proposed measures, if properly executed, will be a positive step forward in growing the housing supply to meet demand.
“For the rest of construction, you only have to take a look around to see positive signs of infrastructure activity with many building sites and tower cranes all over the big cities – a pleasing sight”.
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