A good start to 2018 for merchants

Year-on-year total builders’ merchant value sales were up 8.4% in January 2018 compared with January last year, lifted by one additional trading day. Landscaping (+14.5%) was strongest, with Ironmongery (+12.0%), Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+10.7%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+10.3%) also doing well. Five categories grew more slowly, including Heavy Building Materials (+6.9%) the largest category, but all categories sold more this year.

Average sales a day in January, which takes into account the difference in trading days, were 3.4% higher than in January 2017.

Month-on-month comparing January (22 trading days) with December (16 trading days), the difference of 6 trading days makes January a 37.5% longer selling month. This explains why total merchant sales in January were 33.8% higher than in December. Ironmongery (+40.8%) and Timber & Joinery Products (+38.9%) were among six categories that did better.

Average sales a day in January were 2.7% lower than in December and most categories sold less. Ironmongery (+2.4%) and Timber & Joinery Products (+1.0%) did better.

The latest three months (November 2017 to January 2018) were 5.5% up on the same three months a year ago, with an equal number of trading days. Ironmongery (+7.6%), Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+7.5%), Landscaping (+7.2%), Timber & Joinery Products (+6.6%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+6.5%) all did better.

The rolling 12 months February 2017 to January 2018 were 4.9% above the same period a year earlier (February 2016 to January 2017), with one less trading day. Average sales a day over the 12 months grew by 5.3%.

January’s BMBI index was 102.6, with one additional trading day. Seasonal category, Plumbing Heating & Electrical was top (127.2) followed by Ironmongery (120.4) and Workwear & Safetywear (117.2). Nine of the twelve categories exceeded 100.