Merchants' sales still in decline

The latest Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report shows that builders’ merchants’ total takings were down 2.1% in January 2024 compared with January 2023, with sales volumes falling 3.2%, mitigated by prices creeping up 1.1% over the year.

However, January 2024 had one more trading day; daily takings were down 6.5%, year on year.

Year-on-year, there was growth in January for landscaping products (up 6.2%) and decorating materials (up 6.1%) but the largest product categories impacted overall sales: heavy building materials were down 3.8% and timber & joinery products were down 6.3%.

Compared to a slow December 2023, January’s overall takings were up 41% month-on-month. Volume sales were up 44% while prices were down 2.1%. With six additional trading days in January, daily takings were up by 2.7%.

For the year to end of January 2024, sales volumes were down 12.9% lower. With prices up by 8.8% compared to the previous year, takings were down 5.2%.

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