Builders’ merchant Q3 volumes down 10.5% on a year ago

1 December 2023

Latest BMBI stats reveal that total builders’ merchants’ volume sales fell by 10.5% in Q3 compared to a year ago.

Developed and run by MRA Research, the BMBI – a brand of the Builders Merchant Federation – also says value sales were down by 3.3%, as prices rose +8%. There was no difference in trading days between the comparative periods. 

The three largest categories all sold less: Heavy Building Materials (-1.5%), Landscaping (-7%) and Timber & Joinery Products (-13.1%). 

Q3 results weren’t helped by September total value sales, which were 6.1% down on September 2022, with no difference in trading days. Volume sales fell 13% and prices rose +7.8%. Heavy Building Materials (-5.8%), Landscaping (-6.7%), and Timber & Joinery Products (-13.9%) all sold less. 

Quarter-on-quarter, total value sales dipped 1.4% in Q3 2023 compared with April to June 2023. Volume sales dropped by 2.1% and prices edged up +0.8%. With four more trading days in the most recent period, like-for-like sales were 7.5% lower in July to September compared to Q2. 

“Quarter 3 was a wash out for the building industry,” said Mike Rigby, CEO of MRA Research. “From the unrelenting rain which put a halt to outdoor work in August and September, sending homeowners abroad in search of the sun, to the drop in housebuilding output which fell to its lowest levels since Covid, not much was happening.” 

The BMBI index is based on actual sales from GfK’s Builders’ Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data.

The GfK Consumer Confidence Index also fell sharply from -21 to -30 in October defying expectations of continued improvement to -20 as the high cost of living and economic uncertainties weighed on sentiment. But inflation dropped more than forecast, from 6.7% in September to 4.6% in October.