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The latest report from the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) reveals that builders’ merchants’ July sales were 14.5% higher year-on-year, with two less trading days. Average daily sales in July were up 25.5%.

Total merchants value sales were helped by Timber & Joinery Products (+42.4%) recording its highest ever monthly sales since the BMBI report began. Kitchens & Bathrooms (+13.9%) chalked up its highest sales for 12 months.

Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+10.4%) and Heavy Building Materials (+8.9%) also performed well compared to the same month a year ago. Only Tools (-1.5%), Landscaping (-1.6%) and Workwear & Safetywear (-29.5%) sold less, although the latter two categories saw significant Covid-related growth this time last year.

Compared to July 2019, a more normal pre-pandemic year, total merchant sales in July 2021 were 13.1% up, with two less trading years this year. Much of this growth was driven by just two categories – Timber & Joinery Products (+44.6%) and Landscaping (+23.4%).

After a bumper June, total merchant sales were 3.8% lower month-on-month with one less trading day in July. Kitchens and Bathrooms, and minor categories Services and Miscellaneous increased marginally (+1.1%), while Timber & Joinery Products was flat (+0.1%). Other categories sold less than the previous month including Heavy Building Materials (-4.2%), Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-8.1%), Landscaping (-12.9%) and Workwear & Safetywear (-17.0%).

July’s BMBI index was 151.1 with strong performances from Landscaping (204.8) and Timber & Joinery Products (199.8). Seven other categories exceeded 100, including Heavy Building Materials (136.8), Ironmongery (129.2) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (126.5).

John Newcomb CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation comments: “The year-on-year figures show the post-Covid recovery continuing strongly, but historically high levels of demand are testing the supply chain and manufacturers’ and shippers’ capacity to the limit. Supply shortages and lengthening lead times in particular product categories are constraining project starts and completions, and the supply chain has sustained a wave of significant product price rises. However, with no sign of an easing in these unprecedented levels of demand, merchants are exceptionally busy and positive while they keep Britain’s builders building.”

Developed and run by MRA Research, the BMBI – a brand of the Builders Merchants Federation – is a monthly index of builders’ merchant sales, and the most reliable, up-to-date measure of Repair, Maintenance, and Improvement (RMI) activity in the UK. The index is based on actual sales from GfK’s Builders’ Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data, which captures value sales out to builders from generalist builders’ merchants, accounting for over 80% of total sales from builders’ merchants throughout Great Britain. An in-depth review, which includes commentary by sector experts, is provided each quarter.

July’s BMBI report, published in September, is available to download at www.bmbi.co.uk.