Plumbing and Heating Merchant Index releases its May report

The Plumbing and Heating Merchant Index has released its May report, and it shows that total value sales increased by 1.7% compared to last year.

The report also showed that this growth came from price inflation of 7.1% as volumes fell by 5%, this is despite there being one less trading day in May 2023 and like-for-like value sales were 6.8% higher than May 2022.

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“The effects of rising interest rates, inflation and economic uncertainty on demand continue to dent 2023 merchant sales for Plumbing and Heating specialists,” said CEO of MRA Research, Mike Rigby.

“But there is cause for optimism. Inflation is easing and, while the cost-of-living crisis continues, there is growing resilience in the market. Consumer confidence has been recovering according to GFK’s Consumer Confidence Index, with an uptick of three pints recorded in both May and June. That is still a negative -24 but 12 months ago it was -41.”

Total value sales over the last three months, March 2023 to May 2023, were 3.7% higher than the same period a year ago. Volume sales were down 3.4% with prices increasing by 7.4%.

The report also found that, like-for-like sales increased by 7.1% within those three months.

Rigby said: “Parts of the market are thriving despite the tough conditions. Homeowners without mortgages and with savings are spending on repairs, maintenance and improvements, and builders and trades who serve them are booked well into the future.

“There are significant opportunities to increase volume sales in water and energy efficiency and the push for properties to meet more stringent Building Regulations and the Future Homes Standard in 2025.”

Plumbing and Heating merchants’ value sales in the 12 months June 2022 to May 2023 were 8.3% higher than the previous 12-month period, which was June 2021 to May 2022.

The report also showed that volumes were lower, 0.9%, but prices rose sharply, 9.3%.

“Following a record-breaking week for global temperatures, it is increasingly difficult to deny the effects of climate change and there has to be an urgency to do our bit to resolve it. As an industry, we must strive to build and retrofit homes to use less energy, water and resources. This starts with well-informed merchants who ensure that products that make a difference are front and centre for customers and that environmental impact becomes as import as price, brand and quality in the purchasing decision making process,” added Rigby.

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