The latest figures from the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI), published in April, show builders’ merchants’ value sales down -4.7% in February compared to the same month a year ago. Volume sales dropped -7.5%, while prices increased +3.1%. With an extra trading day this year, like-for-like sales were down -9.2%.

Year-on-year, eight of the 12 categories sold more than February 2023 with work wear and safety wear (+18.3%) the leading category. Miscellaneous (+10.2%) and decorating (+6.2%) also did better than merchants overall, but two of the largest categories – timber and joinery products (-6.4%) and heavy building materials (-7.9%) – were down. Renewables and water saving (-20.9%) was the weakest category.

Total Builders Merchants Monthly Sales

Total sales in the three months December 2023 to February 2024 were -4.7% lower than the same three-month period a year ago. Volume sales were down -7.4% and prices rose +2.8%. With two more trading days this year, like-for-like sales were -8% lower.

Six of the 12 categories sold more, with work wear and safety wear (+14.4%) again ahead of the rest. Timber and joinery products sold -7.4% less.

February total value sales increased +4.8% compared to January 2024. Volume sales increased +8.1% and prices were down -3.1%. With one fewer trading day in February, like-for-like sales were up +9.7%. Eight of the categories sold more month-on-month with landscaping (+17%) out in front. Heavy building materials (+5.8%) and two small categories, renewables and water saving (+7.1%) and services (+6.6%) did better than total merchants. Timber and joinery products (+2.3%) recorded modest value growth.

Year to date timber and joinery products were -6.4% down on the previous year, compared with -3.4% for total builders merchants.