BMBI discusses subdued start to 2020

  • 26 Mar 2020

According to BMBI, total Builders’ Merchant value sales in January 2020 were down -2.6% compared to January 2019.

A total of seven categories sold less, with Timber & Joinery Products (-7.0%) weakest, followed by Tools (-6.1%) which had its lowest average sales a day since BMBI data was first recorded in July 2014.

On top of that, Heavy Building Materials (the largest category) was down -2.7%.

However, five categories did do better over the same period, including Workwear & Safetywear (+7.3%) and Landscaping (+3.9%).

Between January and December, sales are always affected by a significant difference in the number of trading days (22 in January 2020 and 15 in December 2019). As a result, total January sales were up +34.4%.

Therefore, average sales a day provides a more meaningful comparison, with January down -8.4% compared to December. Kitchens & Bathrooms (-14.0%) and Decorating (-12.4%) were particularly low.

Sales in the 12 months February 2019 to January 2020 were down -0.5% on the same period a year earlier, with one less trading day. Four categories sold less: Tools (-6.7%), Timber & Joinery Products (-2.0%), Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-0.8%) and Heavy Building Materials (-0.7%).

The eight categories selling more over this period included Landscaping (+2.9%), Workwear & Safetywear (+2.5%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+1.8%).

January’s BMBI index was 105.3, with one additional trading day. Nine categories exceeded 100, with seasonal category Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (128.9) doing best. Workwear & Safetywear (119.9) and Ironmongery (118.4) also performed well. Landscaping (90.5) was one of only three categories below 100.

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