Builders Merchant Index report finds sales down by 12.7%

Builders Merchant value falls according to the latest Builders Merchant Building Index report.

The report shows that sales are down by 9% in April compared to the previous year. However, the Renewables & Water category is the strongest performing margin with an increase in sales of 55.4%

In total, sales were down 12.7% in April compared to March 2023. The worst performing categories in the report are Plumbing, Heating & Electrical -22.6% and Workwear and Safetywear -26.7%.

The report also shows that total sale in the months from May 2022 and April 2023 were higher by 1.5% compared to the same period a year previously.

BMBI April 2023 Highlights Infographic

Mike Rigby, CEO of MRA Research, who produced the report said: “The latest BMBI figures, which show a significant decrease in value sales and an even sharper decline in volume, reflect the continuing national slowdown in housing activity, both newbuild and repair, maintain and improve.

“Unfortunately, despite what is now widely recognised as a UK housing crisis, there is no quick fix. The UK requires a major step up in the numbers of homes being built each year, I think 400,000 a year, not the Government’s nominal target of 300,000 nor the far smaller numbers actually built and a massive upgrade in the energy efficiency of the housing stock. But we will likely have to wait on a new government, with a change in priorities, and an increase in housebuilding and installation capacity for this much needed growth.”

Rigby found in his research that the high and rising interest rates, along with the economic uncertainty, explain the findings in the report.

MRA Research, the BMBI, is a monthly index of builders’ merchant sales who measure Repair, Maintenance and improvement activity in the UK.

“However, GfK’s long running Consumer Confidence Index improved three points in May, the fourth monthly increase in a row from January’s low of -45. How people view their personal finances in the next 12 months also improved with a five point jump to -8. This is an important measure as it underpins our ability to spend on the goods and services that drive the economy. It’s pointing in the right direction, but keeping our feet on the ground, the headline score of -27 means we are still deep in negative territory and some way from recovery,” said Rigby.

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