The latest figures from the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) reveal that merchants’ year-on-year value sales to builders and contractors were 23.0% higher in August 2021. Timber & Joinery products once again topped the list of best performing categories (+51.5%).
Helped by one more trading day this year, eleven out of the twelve product categories sold more in August 2021 in comparison to August 2020. Heavy Building Materials (+16.9%), Landscaping (+11.5%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+11.3%) put in a strong monthly performance. Workwear & Safetywear (-2.7%) was the only category to sell less over the period. Average like-for-like daily sales in August 2021 were up 17.1% on the same month last year.
When compared to August 2019, a pre-pandemic year, total merchant value sales were up 18.2% in August 2021, with no difference in trading days. This growth has been largely driven by two categories – Timber & Joinery (+48.4%) and Landscaping (+29.7%). However, Heavy Building Materials (+10.1%) also recorded higher sales compared to the same month two years ago.
Total sales for the three months June to August 2021 were 22.1% up on the same period last year, with one less trading day this year. Eleven of the twelve categories sold more. Timber & Joinery Products (+50.2%) was especially strong, then Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+22.8%). Heavy Building Materials (+16.0%) also did well. Compared to June to August 2019, total sales were 20.9% higher this year, with no difference in trading days.
For the second month in a row, total merchant sales were down in August compared to July (-7.9%) with no difference in trading days. Only Workwear & Safetywear (+3.1%) sold more, while Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-3.6%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (-6.5%), Heavy Building Materials (-7.2%) and Timber & Joinery Products (-8.6%) all sold less. Landscaping (-14.4%) was the weakest category month-on-month.
Total value sales January to August 2021 were up 39.6% compared with COVID-affected January to August 2020, with two less trading days this year. Sales were also up 14.0% on January to August 2019, again with two less trading days this year.
August’s BMBI index was 139.3, helped by strong performances from Timber & Joinery Products (182.6) and Landscaping (175.3). Seven other categories exceeded 100, including Heavy Building Materials (127.0) and Ironmongery (120.2).
Kevin Morgan, Group Commercial Director for The Crystal Group and BMBI’s Expert for PVC-U Windows & Doors, comments: “Compared to 2019, window and doors sales are very strong with conservatories, and windows and doors for outbuildings still very popular for extra living and working space at home.
“While supply issues from earlier in the year have eased, getting reliable delivery dates remains particularly problematic. The upshot of high demand and tight supply for materials is that prices are increasing, and we’ve recently seen a significant double digit jump in the cost of profiles. Ultimately the end user will bear the brunt of the increases, which may impact future sales.
“We expect sales to slow in Q3, but for now it’s all hands to the pump to get through the orders on the books in this most buoyant of years.”
BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table videos, visit www.bmbi.co.uk
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