Negative growth in Q4 rounds off disappointing year for builders’ merchants

  • 26 Feb 2020

The latest report from BMBI shows total Builders’ Merchant value sales in Q4 2019 were -4.0% down compared with the same quarter in 2018. Adjusted for trading days, average sales a day dropped -2.4%.

The Q4 2019 report also revealed that Tools (-8.5%) and Timber & Joinery (-6.7%) were particularly affected, closely followed by Heavy Building Materials (-4.6%).

In addition, the best performing sectors year-on-year were Renewables & Water Saving (+6.4%) and Workwear & Safetywear (+5.8%).

Quarter-on-quarter, total value sales dropped -13.9% in Q4 2019 compared with Q3 2019. The drop was less marked when adjusted for trading days (-5.2%).

Most product categories reported lower value sales over the period, with sales of the seasonal category landscaping down the most, by -33.2%, followed by Heavy Building Materials (-14.8%) and Timber & Joinery Products (-13.1%).

The only two categories to report quarter-on-quarter growth were Workwear & Safetywear (+11.2%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+3.8%).

Furthermore, the total BMBI index for Q4 2019 was 106.4, a significant drop from 123.6 in Q3 2019. The index for Heavy Building Materials was 105.0.

You can learn more about the Q4 2019 report below:

Stacey Temprell, Marketing Director for British Gypsum and BMBI’s Expert for Drylining Systems comments: “The final quarter of 2019 was dominated by two issues: Brexit and the General Election. But more certainty around the direction of our Government has had a significant impact on business and consumer confidence and brought with it a much-needed sense of purpose and direction as we enter a new decade. What happens next in terms of our actual departure from the EU and ramifications for our own industry remains unresolved. For now, all we can do is focus on the positives that are emerging from the construction sector.

“At British Gypsum, we ended quarter four 2019 with positivity. After a year of managing an allocation process, which had far reaching and significant consequences for our customers, we were able to announce at the end of December that the allocation process had been lifted. It’s difficult to get a real sense of demand when you’re allocating materials amongst your customer base. However, we tracked our customers closely during the period and we know that although domestic RMI was weak in Q4, the positive sentiment from the General Election result caused significant improvements in the GfK Consumer Confidence Index. Taking high employment and low inflation also into account, consumer confidence will hopefully return, prompting decisions around major home improvements works to be taken.

“More broadly, the construction industry has shown some positive signs. The Construction Purchasing Managers Index has risen recently, new orders fell at the slowest pace for ten months and business optimism regarding the year ahead rose to its highest level since April 2018. This optimism is also supported by the latest RICS Construction Market Survey, which saw a rise in the balance for workload expectations. All in all, after a turbulent year, we enter 2020 with renewed energy and drive and I hope to report on a positive Q1 2020 in my next comment.”

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