The short trading day month of November saw subdued sales for merchants with the lowest total sales in 10 months.


Total builders’ merchant value sales in November 2019 were down 7.4% compared with the same month in 2018. On one fewer trading day, average sales a day dropped 3%.

The following categories were particularly affected: tools (-12.7%), timber and joinery (-9.6%), ironmongery (-8%), heavy building materials (-7.9%) and landscaping (-7.4%).

The best performing sectors in November 2019 compared with the same period in 2018 were renewables and water saving (+5.3%) and work wear and safety wear (+3.7%).


Compared with October 2019, November’s sales were down by 10%. However, when adjusted for two fewer trading days in November, the drop was less severe at 1.4%.

All product categories were down monthon- month, including heavy building materials (-10.9%), timber and joinery (-10%) and ironmongery (-9.8%).

Adjusted for trading days, the strongest performing sectors were work wear and safety wear (+9.3%) and kitchens and bathrooms (+8%).

Other periods

Sales in the 12 months December 2018 to November 2019 were down by 0.2% on the same period last year. However, adjusting for one fewer trading day year-to-date, sales are slightly ahead at +0.2%.


November’s BMBI index was 113.4, with plumbing, heating and electrical the highest at 134.6. The timber and joinery index for November was 114.7.