Timber sales drive builders merchants' growth

Overall sales of building products and materials have rebounded back to pre-Covid levels, thanks to timber, but most product groups remain affected.

Overall sales of building products and materials have rebounded back to pre-Covid levels, thanks to timber, but most product groups remain affected.

Total builders merchants' sales were 2.3% higher by value in February 2021 than in February 2020, the latest Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) reports.

February sales were also 8.6% higher than in January. In both cases, the number of trading days in each months was identical.

Comparing February 2021 to February 2020, only three of the 12 product categories saw sales increases, led by Timber & Joinery products, up 18.2%. Sales of Landscaping products were up +8.6% and Tools were up 2.0% on last year.

The nine categories selling less included largest category Heavy Building Materials (down 1.8%) and the ‘indoor’ trades. Sales in Kitchens & Bathrooms was down 8.6%, Decorating was down 8.4% and Plumbing Heating & Electrical was down 3.6%. Workwear & Safetywear was 12.9% lower but this was on the back of a very strong pre-Covid-19 lockdown performance in February 2020, when it gained 30.8% on February 2019. Looking at a two-year comparison, Workwear & Safetywear was 14.7% higher in February 2021 than in February 2019.

Comparing February 2021 with January 2021, total merchants’ sales were up 8.6%. Landscaping (up 24.1%) did best, followed by Kitchens & Bathrooms (up 13.8%), Decorating (up 11.6%) and Tools (up 11.0%). Sales of Workwear & Safetywear were down 9.0%.

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