Overall sales up 8.3% in September compared to same month last year

Sales at builders’ merchants were up 8.3% in September compared to the same month in 2019, according to the latest Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) report.

Overall sales in the third quarter of 2020 also increased by 1% on the same period last year, and soared by nearly two thirds, 63%, compared to the second quarter during the height of the covid lockdown when many merchants were closed.

Buoyant September for Builders’ Merchants

The lockdown announced on 23 March saw sales collapse in the weeks after

Landscaping sales saw a particularly strong recovery in the third quarter, over 24% higher than in the same period last year - the highest level since the index was set up in 2015.

Workwear and safety wear also shot up by 8% compared to the third quarter in 2019, driven by demand for PPE, while timber and joinery saw a 3.5% rise.

But heavy side building materials like concrete and steel, typically used during earlier stages of construction, are still seeing a significant slump with sales lagging by 16.1% in the third quarter compared to the same period last year.

And kitchens and bathrooms still have some way to go with third quarter sales down 7.1% year on year, despite seeing the strongest quarter on quarter recovery of any product sector with a 131% rise compared to the second quarter.

The BMBI is a monthly index of builders’ merchant sales run by MRA Research and gathers sales data from research institute GfK’s builders’ merchant point of sale tracking data, accounting for over 80% of total builders’ merchants’ sales throughout Great Britain.