BMBI: Builders Merchant value sales slide -5.7% as volumes drop -12.1% year-on-year

  • 25 Jan 2024

The latest Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report shows builders’ merchants’ value sales were down -5.7% in November 2023 compared to the same month in 2022, with volume sales falling -12.1% and prices increasing +7.2%.



Compared to November 2022, six of the twelve categories sold more this November. But falling sales in the three largest categories contributed to an overall decline in volumes, with Heavy Building Materials (-7.0%), Landscaping (-7.4%) and Timber & Joinery Products (-10.9%) all selling less.



Total merchant sales were down -4.4% in November compared to October 2023. Volume sales decreased -7.5% and prices increased +3.4%. There was no difference in trading days. Heavy Building Materials value sales were down -5.5%. Landscaping was the weakest category (-14.2%).

Year to date

Total merchant sales in the year to date (January to November 2023) were -4.9% down on the same period in 2022. Volume sales were down -13.8% while prices rose +10.3%. With two more trading days in the most recent period, like-for-like sales were -5.7% lower. Nine of the twelve categories sold more, with Renewables & Water Saving (+31.2%) the only standout. Again, the three largest categories – Heavy Building Materials (-2.8%), Landscaping (-12.2%) and Timber & Joinery Products (-14.6%) – sold less.

Gordon Parnell, Sales Director at British Gypsum (part of Saint-Gobain Interior Solutions) and BMBI’s expert for drylining systems, says: “Residential forecasts of further risk in relation to housing starts and completions remain a concern, given the chronic housing issues the UK faces, from the shortage of new homes to the requirement to continue to improve our ageing housing stock.


“While more interest rate rises are now looking less likely, longer-term forecasts of further market decline in 2024, albeit in low single digits, give cause for concern in the short term. Unlocking economic growth without clear Government policies or growth plans only leads to uncertainty for business, and this must be addressed by UK policy makers.

“In these uncertain times, we remain committed to providing customers and construction partners with a ‘golden thread’ of product information to ensure that we support them with complete transparency. It’s crucial that we do our utmost to help our customers build better.


“Take for example our non-loadbearing metal stud plasterboard partition systems, including shaft wall, which recently become one of the first products on the UK market to carry the Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI) mark.

“The CCPI was initiated by the Construction Product Association (CPA) as a direct result of Dame Judith Hackitt’s findings in her review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. It aims to provide an assurance to product users that the product information is clear, accurate, accessible, up-to-date, and unambiguous.

“We continue to work proactively with the CCPI to reinforce our commitment to higher standards in building safety through higher standards in construction product information and product claims.

“Overall, the industry is optimistic about the longer term, showing continued resilience in adversity. However regulation of the labour market, the path to net zero and decarbonisation plans are three key areas that require constant focus. It is also critical that we position and underpin the crucial role the building materials sector can play in driving growth back into the economy.”

BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table videos, visit

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