Total merchant sales in October were the highest since GfK began compiling BMBI sales data in July 2014 – a potential cause for celebration. However we cannot ignore likely the impact of inflation, with many sectors reporting substantial price increases over the past 12 months. That said, merchants significantly out-performed ONS Construction Output in October and show no sign of the predicted weaker autumn trading.
Year on Year
Total Builders’ merchant value sales were up 10.0% in October 2017 compared with October last year, helped by one additional trading day. Among top categories were Tools (+12.3%), Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+11.4%) and Heavy Building Materials (11.1%). All categories sold more this year and Heavy Building Materials (the largest category) and Timber & Joinery Products (second largest) saw their highest monthly sales to date. Average sales a day (which take account of trading days) were up 5.0% in October for merchants overall.
Month on month
One more trading day helped October sales increase by 5.0% compared with September. Tools (+7.9%) and Timber & Joinery Products (6.4%) were among four categories that did better than merchants generally. Seasonal category Landscaping (-1.2%) sold less. Average sales a day in October exceeded September by 0.3%. Eight categories sold more, including Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+2.2%).
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