The latest Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report, published in June, shows builders’ merchants’ value sales were up +3.9% in April compared to the same month a year ago. Volume sales increased +4.7% and prices eased -0.8%. However, with three additional trading days this year, like-for-like value sales were down -11.0%.

Year-on-year

Eight of the twelve categories outperformed Total Merchants year-on-year, with Workwear & Safetywear (+28.9%), Miscellaneous (+15.0%), Decorating (+14.1%) and Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+13.2%) in the lead. The three largest categories – Heavy Building Materials (+1.4%), Timber & Joinery Products (+1.4%) and Landscaping (+3.2%) – all grew more slowly. 

Last three months

Total sales in the three months February to April 2024 were -5.0% lower than the same three-month period a year ago. Volume sales were down -5.9% and prices edged up (+0.9%). With one more trading day this year, like-for-like sales were -6.6% lower. Half of the twelve categories sold more with Workwear & Safetywear (+14.3%) growing the most. Renewables & Water Saving (-23.9%) was the weakest performing category.

Month-on-month

April total value sales were +5.0% higher than the previous month. Volume sales increased +7.4% and prices were down -2.3% compared to March. With one more trading day in April, like-for-like value sales were flat (+0.0%). Ten of the twelve categories sold more, with seasonal category Landscaping (+15.4%) well up. But the two largest, Heavy Building Materials (+4.8%) and Timber & Joinery Products (+3.6%) recorded more moderate growth. Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-1.4%) and Workwear & Safetywear (-4.6%) were the weakest performing categories.

Rolling 12 months

Total merchant sales in the 12 months from May 2023 to April 2024 were -4.7% lower than the same period the year before (May 2022 to April 2023). Volume sales slumped -9.6% and prices rose +5.4%. With four extra trading days in the most recent 12-month period, like-for-like sales were down -6.3%. Nine categories sold more with Workwear & Safetywear (+8.3%), Decorating (+7.5%) and Miscellaneous (+5.3%) doing best, but the three largest categories – Heavy Building Materials (-5.0%), Landscaping (-5.7%) and Timber & Joinery Products (-11.3%) – all sold less.

For the full report, including comments from the BMBI’s panel of leading industry Experts, please visit www.bmbi.co.uk.

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