The latest figures from the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI), published in June, reveal that total value sales by builders’ merchants across Great Britain were -0.9% down on the same month in 2021 – the first decline since January 2021. Price inflation of +17% helped to mitigate April’s -15.3% drop in volume sales compared to April 2021.

Six categories did better than merchants overall, with kitchens and bathrooms up the most (+15.8%).

Timber and joinery products (-2.3%), tools (-5.5%) and landscaping (-14.1%) were among six categories to sell less year-on-year.

Compared to April 2019, a more normal year before Covid, total merchant value sales were +21% higher. All categories sold more but this was driven by price inflation (+27.5%) rather than volume (-5.1%).

Landscaping, up by 40.3% and timber and joinery products, up by 34.1%, were ahead the most.

Total sales in the three months from February to April 2022 were 9.3% up on the same period last year with one fewer trading day in the most recent period.

All categories bar landscaping sold more. Kitchens and bathrooms were up the most (+22.1%). Timber and joinery products (+10.2%) were among categories growing more slowly.

Month-on-month total merchant sales were -10.5% down in April 2022 compared to March 2022, with four fewer trading days. Eleven of the 12 categories sold less, including timber and joinery products (-11.9%).

The only category to sell more was landscaping (+0.4%), which was virtually flat.

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