BMF News

Price inflation outstrips volume growth in Q1 merchant sales


Price inflation outstrips volume growth in Q1 merchant sales18 May 2021

The BMF’s Builder Merchants Building Index (BMBI) latest report on sales of building materials in the UK, underscores the growing impact of price inflation on the sector. The value of sales in the first quarter of 2022 was up by +17.7% against Q1 2021. Almost all of this was driven by price increases with volume rising by just +1.5%.

While the figures indicate a continuing demand for building materials, they also confirm price inflation as a critical issue, with the impact of rising energy, fuel and raw material costs on product price clear to see. 

Q1 2022 vs Q1 2021

Drilling down to year-on-year performance comparisons for the three largest product categories, the largest, Heavy Building Materials, increased +17.4% by value, but +5.0% by volume.  This category includes many energy-intensive products, and bricks, blocks, cement, plasterboard and roofing products all saw their highest quarterly prices to date.

Timber & Joinery products have been even more affected by fluctuating prices over the past 12 months.  Year on year results show sales value up by +21.4%, with volume down by
-11.3%, a price increase of 36.9% over Q1 2021.   However, this must be tempered by the fact that Q1 2022 Timber & Joinery prices decreased by -6.7% against Q4 2021, which may indicate that prices in this category have already peaked.

Landscaping, one of the strongest performers throughout the pandemic, saw a value increase of +14.4% against Q1 2021, with volumes down by -3.5%.

John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF said:
“Taken at first sight there are some astonishing value growth figures in this quarter’s BMBI, but this must be tempered by the disparity between price and volume growth.  The supply chain was already facing uncertainty before the outbreak of war in Ukraine. The conflict can only exacerbate this. Continuing pressure on availability coupled with rising costs for raw materials, energy and labour suggests that price inflation will be the main story of 2022.”

Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK added:
“Growth forecasts have been revised down across the world since Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February. At this stage it is difficult to make any sensible prediction, but there’s an expectation that market conditions will become increasingly more difficult as prices continue to rise and consumer spend is stretched further and further.”
 
Price inflation outstrips volume growth in Q1 merchant sales
The BMF’s Builder Merchants Building Index (BMBI) latest report on sales of building materials in the UK, underscores the growing impact of price inflation on the sector.

Price inflation driving sales value growth at P&H Merchants in Q1


Price inflation driving sales value growth at P&H Merchants in Q1  Figures released by the Builders Merchants Federation in its latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index (PHMI) shows that sales values in Q1 2022 increased by +2.9% against Q1 2021. However, with sales volumes this year down by -5.5% on the same period last year, any growth is entirely the result of price inflation (+8.9%).  Comparing the first quarter of 2022 with Q4 2021, and removing trading day differences between the two periods, Q1 sales were down by 0.9%.   The P&H sector continues to be adversely affected by availability issues for certain key products, in particular gas boilers, where supply has been delayed by the global shortage of semi-conductors.    The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.18 May 2022

Figures released by the BMF in its latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index (PHMI) shows that sales values in Q1 2022 increased by +2.9% against Q1 2021. However, with sales volumes this year down by -5.5% on the same period last year, any growth is entirely the result of price inflation (+8.9%).

Comparing the first quarter of 2022 with Q4 2021, and removing trading day differences between the two periods, Q1 sales were down by 0.9%. 

The P&H sector continues to be adversely affected by availability issues for certain key products, in particular gas boilers, where supply has been delayed by the global shortage of semi-conductors.  

The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.
 
Price inflation driving sales value growth at P&H Merchants in Q1  Figures released by the Builders Merchants Federation in its latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index (PHMI) shows that sales values in Q1 2022 increased by +2.9% against Q1 2021. However, with sales volumes this year down by -5.5% on the same period last year, any growth is entirely the result of price inflation (+8.9%).  Comparing the first quarter of 2022 with Q4 2021, and removing trading day differences between the two periods, Q1 sales were down by 0.9%.   The P&H sector continues to be adversely affected by availability issues for certain key products, in particular gas boilers, where supply has been delayed by the global shortage of semi-conductors.    The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.
Figures released by the BMF in its latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index (PHMI) shows that sales values in Q1 2022 increased by +2.9% against Q1 2021.

BMF Forecast highlights price inflation over volume growth

Tuesday 10 May 2022

The latest Forecast Report from the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) highlights growing uncertainty in the supply chain, stemming from rising energy prices, which has further increased since the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

The Report forecasts annual builders’ merchants sales growth of 6.1% in 2022, but cautions that the majority of this year’s growth will be due to price inflation rather than increased volumes.

The BMF forecast combines a comprehensive analysis of merchant market performance from July 2014 to December 2021, taken from the Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI), coupled with analysis of key factors affecting builders’ merchants’ sales to project future sales in 2022.

Commenting on the forecast, Sarup Ubhi, BMF Industry Analyst/Economist said: 

“It was initially anticipated that material price inflation would ease throughout 2022, the past 12 months having been dominated by material availability and increasing inflationary pressures. However, an extended conflict in Ukraine increases the potential for inflationary pressures to persist throughout 2022.

“The main effect of the conflict on building material supply is increasing energy and raw material costs. The cost of steel, cement, glass, and other energy intensive products are all expected to increase again due to the energy crisis.  Raw material prices are also rising. The increase in the price of raw materials in March 2022 was the highest in six months, which could further constrain the availability of certain products.

“It is unlikely that manufacturers will be able to fully absorb these price increases. Therefore, cost increases are expected to be implemented at every level of the supply chain.”

The Builders Merchants Industry Spring Forecast Report 2022 is supplied free to BMF members and priced at £250 for non-members.  Contact Sarup Ubhi, BMF Industry Analyst/Economist at [email protected] to request a copy of the latest report or if you have any questions.
 
The latest Forecast Report from the BMF highlights growing uncertainty in the supply chain, stemming from rising energy prices, which has further increased since the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

Europe’s merchants show solidarity with Ukraine

05 May 2022

The BMF hailed the success of last weekend’s European Federation of Building Materials Distributors (UFEMAT) Conference, which saw 100 delegates from eleven countries – including two from Ukraine - meet in London for the first time in almost 20 years. 

With a business programme focused on ‘European Unity in a Digital Age’, the conference highlighted the shared experiences, challenges and opportunities faced by builders’ merchants and materials suppliers throughout Europe, which now includes the war in Ukraine.
The conference was also addressed by two delegates with personal knowledge of the war. Irina Salli of the Ukraine Union Manufacturers & Merchants and Igor Dalichuk, CEO of SBK, Ukraine’s largest brick manufacturer shared first-hand experiences of the devastation this has brought to their country.  

UFEMAT was one of the first trade organisations to react to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling on members to place an embargo on importing Russian building materials and, like the BMF, they have led the way in raising funds to support those affected by the humanitarian crisis caused by the war. 

The BMF’s online appeal had already raised over £45,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s work in Ukraine, which was symbolically presented to Irina and Igor.  A fundraising finale at the Conference Gala Dinner added over £10,000, with a further €15,000 from UFEMAT’s member appeal.  Altogether the BMF and UFEMAT have raised €81,250 (£68,350) to support the people of Ukraine

The BMF, Chief Executive and current UFEMAT President, John Newcomb said: “This conference was originally scheduled for October 2020, and much has changed across Europe since then.  One thing that has not changed is the spirit of co-operation evident amongst the delegates, and in particular their amazing generosity in support of our colleagues in Ukraine.  It was truly shocking to hear personal accounts from Irina and Igor. The scale of destruction and disruption to every aspect of life, both family and business, in just a few short months is almost unimaginable.  On behalf of both UFEMAT and the BMF, our sincere thanks to everyone that has contributed to our appeal.”
 
The BMF hailed the success of last weekend’s European Federation of Building Materials Distributors (UFEMAT) Conference, which saw 100 delegates from eleven countries – including two from Ukraine - meet in London for the first time in almost 20 years

MMC to take centre stage at BMF Conference

11 April 2022

In a highly topical session, the Builders Merchants Federation’s Annual Members Conference in September will take a closer look at Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to discover if they present a threat or an opportunity for merchants and building materials suppliers.

MMC is high on the Government’s agenda to fast-tracking energy efficient new homes, and the one-hour session devoted to the subject will be led by Mark Farmer, the Government’s champion for MMC in housebuilding and CEO and founding director of specialist construction consultancy, Cast, providing solutions for developers, investors, policymakers and the supply chain.

Having spent over 30 years in the construction industry, Mark has a wealth of experience and is also a member of the Construction Innovation Hub Industry Board, the Construction Leadership Council Senior Advisors Group, a board member for Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and national co-chair of Constructing Excellence.

Mark will be joined by Brendan Twomey, MD of Berkeley Modular.  Formed in 2019 and operating from a purpose-built facility, the company uses sophisticated volumetric modular manufacturing methods to deliver a high-quality housing product, without compromising on comfort or flexibility of design.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:  “This is a highly topical subject that is sure to spark a great deal of discussion amongst BMF members. We are likely to see an increasing blend of MMC and traditional site-based construction in the coming years with opportunities for merchants and suppliers alike.”

The BMF Members’ Conference and black-tie Awards Dinner takes place on 15 September at The BMF’s annual Golf Tournament and other social activities will be held on the previous day, 14 September at the exclusive JCB Golf and Country Club.

The BMF thanks our Members’ Conference headline sponsor Marshalls Stonemarket who are supporting the event for the third consecutive year.

To find out more and book your place of the BMF Members Conference and Awards 2022, please visit the events section at www.bmf.org.uk

In a highly topical session, the Builders Merchants Federation’s Annual Members Conference in September will take a closer look at Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to discover if they present a threat or an opportunity for merchants and building

BMF agrees group membership with PHG

 

04 April 2022

The BMF has agreed a group membership scheme with PHG, the merchant buying group for the plumbing, heating, and bathroom sector.  

Formed in 2012 by a group of like-minded plumbing, heating, and bathroom merchants, PHG connects leading regional P&H specialists across the UK operating from 290 branches, 112 of which have showrooms.  In 2021, the 16 member companies generated a turnover of £550 million.

The three-year agreement, which comes into effect on 1 April 2022, will see 9 new members join the BMF, with 7 PHG merchants already in membership.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “The BMF has something to offer every merchant, whether they are specialist or generalist. We engage with every member to understand what is most important to them, and how we can best support their business through tailored training, meetings and forums and business services, and represent their interests through our lobbying and campaigning work.

”PHG chairman, David Pochin commented: “As a transparent, member-led organisation, PHG develops strong and committed relationships with suppliers to maximise the financial return to members.  Reaching a group agreement with the BMF sits well with this ethos and membership of the industry trade body will provide PHG members with many additional benefits. The BMF has done a huge amount in recent years to support the merchant industry, with specific initiatives of relevance to P&H merchants. We are looking forward to working together to advance the interests of the industry and our sector.”
 
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has agreed a group membership scheme with PHG, the merchant buying group for the plumbing, heating, and bathroom sector.

Construction Minister to speak at BMF Members Conference



24 March 2022

Construction Minister to speak at BMF Members Conference Construction Minister, Lee Rowley MP, will be a keynote speaker at the BMF Members’ Conference in September.

Lee Rowley’s presence at the BMF’s annual members’ conference follows his fact-finding visit to Lords Builders Merchants earlier this year, to understand the merchants’ essential role in the supply chain and discuss initiatives merchants are undertaking to reduce their carbon footprint.

As Construction Minister, Lee Rowley co-chairs the Construction Leadership Council and takes responsibility for Net Zero Industry Champions and the ConstructZero initiative.

In addition to his construction role, as Minister for Business and Industry, Lee Rowley also has responsibility for supply chains, infrastructure and materials, chemicals and essential minerals, skills, and economic shocks within his brief.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb, said: “We are delighted that the Construction Minister has agreed to speak at our annual Conference.  The breadth of his role and responsibilities within the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will make for a highly relevant and topical address.”

The BMF Members’ Conference and black-tie Awards Dinner takes place on 15 September at St Georges Park. The BMF’s annual Golf Tournament and other social activities will be held on the previous day, 14 September at the exclusive JCB Golf and Country Club.

The BMF thanks our Members’ Conference headline sponsor Marshalls Stonemarket who are supporting the event for the third consecutive year.

To find out more and book your place of the BMF Members Conference and Awards 2022, please visit the events section at www.bmf.org.uk

Construction Minister, Lee Rowley MP, will be a keynote speaker at the BMF Members’ Conference in September.

NMBS & BMF join forces to support smaller merchants


28 March 2022

NMBS has teamed up with the Builders Merchants Federation to help developing merchant businesses to further their growth with a generous funding scheme that will enable them to benefit from the many advantages afforded by membership of the industry trade body. The NMBS Kick-Start Growth & Development Scheme will help NMBS’ smaller members to join the BMF for the first time and is available to any business with an annual turnover of less than £2m.

The NMBS grant will cover the full cost of BMF membership for the first 12 months of a two-year annual subscription.

The second year’s fees will be paid by the member company, and they will receive a substantial discount on the BMF’s standard subscription rates.

Chris Haywood, Managing Director of NMBS said: “NMBS is committed to supporting the trade association activities of the BMF and equally committed to supporting the growth and development of our independent merchant members.  We see real value in the BMF’s services to merchants, suppliers and indeed the whole industry and identified the opportunities this would provide to our smaller members. 

“Requiring them to commit to two year’s membership of the BMF is an important element of the Kick-Start scheme.  By encouraging the level of engagement that comes with long-term membership they will be able to fully explore and experience the BMF’s wide range of training and support services that can make a tangible difference to developing their business, which in turn may also enhance their trading relationship with NMBS.

”BMF Chief Executive, John Newcomb said: “The BMF is the trade association for the entire building materials industry and we are delighted to be working with NMBS on this innovative initiative to support smaller independent merchants.  Our mission is to help our members develop excellence in their operations and there are many areas where we can provide vital support to a growing business.”
NMBS has teamed up with the Builders Merchants Federation to help developing merchant businesses to further their growth with a generous funding scheme that will enable them to benefit from the many advantages afforded by membership of the industry t

THE BMF's REsPONSE TO SPRING STATEMENT

24 March 2022

Responding to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF said: “The Chancellor offered two rays of hope in his Spring Statement, with a temporary reduction in fuel duty and the removal of VAT on energy saving materials for the next 5 years.  We have long supported zero-rated VAT on these materials, both to promote energy efficient upgrades to our existing housing stock and support the drive to net zero, and welcome the Chancellor’s announcement.

“However, the potential impact of these positive measures must be considered within the broader context of building materials supply, where the outlook is much less certain.

“Even before the war in Ukraine, rising energy, freight and labour costs were reflected in price increases for many essential building products, with many manufacturers already announcing increases of 4-10% this year and energy intensive products increasing by as much as 20%.

“With continuing disruptions to global supply chains, particularly in oil and gas, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) already expects inflation to rise to 7.4% this year, with further increases to come.   I am sure a lot of building materials manufacturers, and their customers, would have been looking for more support."

Responding to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said:

Wavin’s Mike Ward elected to THE BMF Board

 

21 March 2022

Mike Ward, Territory Director UK and Ireland at Wavin, has been elected to the Board of the Builders Merchants Federation to serve as the Elected Director-Suppliers with effect from 1 April 2022.

Mike takes over from Charles Ledigo, Chairman of Reisser Ltd, who steps down on 31 March having completed his second three-year term of office.

Mike’s career in construction products manufacturing spans 26 years.  Before joining Wavin in 2018, he held senior positions in timber building products and engineered wood solutions as Managing Director UK & Ireland for Metsä Wood UK and Managing Director of JELD-WEN.  Earlier in his career Mike qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PWC and held manufacturing and business development roles with De Beers South Africa.

He is passionate about driving diversity and making manufacturing a more attractive career and mentoring the next generation of construction leaders.

Commenting on his appointment, Mike Ward said:

“I'm delighted and humbled to be elected to the board of the BMF. The organisation represents a sector that employs over 207,000 people and generates sales of over £39bn. I'm looking forward to supporting the interests of the wider construction sector in an ever changing legislative and geopolitical world."

Richard Hill, Chair of the BMF Board said:

“The BMF membership embraces generalist and specialist merchants as well building materials manufacturers and suppliers.  Mike’s wide-ranging experience coupled with his desire to raise the professional profile of the building materials industry makes him a valuable and welcome addition to the Board.”
Mike Ward, Territory Director UK and Ireland at Wavin, has been elected to the Board of the Builders Merchants Federation to serve as the Elected Director-Suppliers with effect from 1 April 2022.


New look IOBM signals mission to promote ‘Profession of Merchanting’


17 March 2022

The Institute of Builders Merchants, which merged with the Builders Merchants Federation last year, has a bold new identity to signal its mission to define and promote the profession of merchanting. 

The new IOBM logo, which visually links the Institute with the BMF parent brand, will help to advance the profession of merchanting and gain national awareness of the professional institute for the builders’ merchants’ industry. Unveiling the logo is just the start of a major re-launch programme, which will be rolled out over the coming months with targeted communications for merchant employers, corporate supporters and, of course, individuals working in merchants who stand to gain the greatest benefit from IOBM membership.

The IOBM will also run its first Conference for members in October 2022.

The Institute’s prime focus is to help its members build excellent careers in merchanting, by creating a framework of accredited qualifications, recognised by employers in the sector, that will help develop their skills and advance their careers.  The accredited qualification framework will have clear entry criteria and pathways to progressive membership grades.

The IOBM is reviewing available apprenticeship and diploma programmes with a plan to accredit the established LEAP BMF apprenticeships by the end of the year.  This will be followed by the accreditation of the BMF Diploma in Merchant Management by 2024.

The IOBM’s ultimate pathway is to achieve Chartered status by 2030, and establish merchanting as an exciting and valued profession, and a career of choice.

Jeremy Daniel, IOBM Management Committee Member and Director at John A. Stephens said: “We have been working hard since the merger last year to redefine the Institute’s purpose and develop an attractive package suitable for the modern merchant. This re-launch marks a new beginning for the IOBM with some exciting programs to follow.”

With ambitious plans for the profession, member growth is a key element of the IOBM’s strategy.  The Institute will be partnering with BMF members to encourage them to offer their employees career development opportunities via the IOBM. 

The IOBM is keen to involve the whole building materials community in supporting the development of the professional status of merchanting, with corporate membership extended to supplier members.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “Through a reinvigorated IOBM we have a real opportunity to advance the profession of merchanting and make it a sought-after desirable career. We have already seen IOBM membership numbers increase to 1,000 since the Institute merged with the BMF last year. We are now calling on merchants to actively encourage their colleagues to find out more about the benefits offered by their professional Institute and have developed a suite of on and off-line materials to help them spread the message.”

Merchants are already responding to this call to action.  For example, Travis Perkins introduced their apprentices to IOBM, and hundreds have joined as student members giving them the opportunity to assess how active membership will support them as they continue to develop their careers.

The category of corporate supporter membership has also gained traction with major building suppliers and buying societies, with 13 organisations joining to date.

To find out more about how the IOBM is supporting the professional advancement of those working in the merchanting industry, visit wwwbmf.org.uk/IOBM or contact Richard Ellithorne, Membership Services Director at [email protected], or call 02476 854980.

The Institute of Builders Merchants, which merged with the Builders Merchants Federation last year, has a bold new identity to signal its mission to define and promote the profession of merchanting.

BMF launches Ukraine Appeal to unite support from merchant industry

 

10 March 2022

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is calling on its members and their customers to help raise vital funds to support those affected by the war in Ukraine. The trade body has created a dedicated appeal page at www.bmf.org.uk/Ukraine_Appeal

BMF CEO, John Newcomb, is the current President of the European Federation of Building Material Distributers (UFEMAT).  He is co-ordinating a pan-European campaign, calling on support from the building materials industry across the continent.

UFEMAT has also called on members to place an embargo on importing all Russian building materials until the war in Ukraine comes to an end.

Funds raised through the appeal in the UK will go to DEC, the Disasters Emergency Committee, which works with the UK’s 15 leading aid charities to provide and deliver aid.

John Newcomb said:  “We have received pictures from our UFEMAT colleague in Ukraine showing the devastation affecting homes and factories, and the brutal cost of war on ordinary people.  His own daughters are amongst the millions who have been forced to flee the country to safety.    “In addition to emergency aid, he told us that warm clothing, such as thermal and insulated workwear, is also urgently required.

“Our members play a key role in the community and the unique nature of their work, and their stock of equipment such as workwear, puts them in a good position to help get much needed supplies over to Ukraine and we will be working with them to orchestrate a national response and get supplies to those who need them as quickly as possible.” 

“In the meantime, our focus is on raising funds through our appeals pages in the UK and across Europe. 

“The building materials industry is known for its generosity in supporting those in need. If you are able to make a donation, please do so at Ukraine Appeal (bmf.org.uk)“
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is calling on its members and their customers to help raise vital funds to support those affected by the war in Ukraine. The trade body has created a dedicated appeal page at www.bmf.org.uk/Ukraine_Appeal

BMF expands in Ireland with Topline Group agreement

01 March 2022

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has signed a group membership agreement with Topline Group, the leading buying group in Ireland, supplying DIY and building materials to affiliated stores nationwide.

Formed in 1972 by a small number of independent merchants seeking to purchase more competitively by combining their collective requirements, Topline Group today represents 90 members with 146 outlets across the island of Ireland and an annual spend on building materials, plumbing, heating, timber and general hardware products in excess of €400 million. Total turnover of members exceeds €0.5 billion.  

The agreement, which comes into effect on 1 April 2022, will see 13 of Topline Group’s largest members join the BMF immediately, with a three-year development plan to further expand its BMF membership.

Welcoming Topline Group members, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:
“We are delighted to welcome members of Topline Group into BMF membership and look forward to working with them and helping them to benefit from our full range of training and support services.  This is an exciting development for the BMF which has had a small number of members in Ireland for four years.  It is gratifying that our work has demonstrated the value added by a strong and supportive trade body and encouraged the influential Topline Group to build a long-term relationship with the BMF.”

Hugh O’Donnell, Topline Group CEO, explained the attraction of BMF membership: 
“We exist with an objective of supporting our members – many of whom are 4th, 5th and even 6th generation businesses – to profitably compete. That’s our fundamental purpose. While simply stated, it’s an objective that can only be achieved through competitive purchasing and constant innovation, adding value to the breadth and quality of services we offer to our members. Building long-term partnerships with the best suppliers and support organisations has always been important to us and the BMF has certainly established itself as a useful and valuable resource for its members. We hope to tap into this resource and become active and engaged members.”

Topline Chairman, Michael Doyle - owner of well-known Irish merchant, Topline Doyles – said:
“We operate on a small island on the edge of Europe. Even in a post-Brexit world, our links to the UK market for various core products remain crucial. Having observed its workings for a long time, we have a high regard for the BMF and giving our members access to it makes a lot of sense strategically and practically. Aside from opportunities to network and develop new trading ties, we are also keen to explore its approach to training and recruitment at a time when the attraction and retention of talent are huge challenges for our members.” 

The group membership agreement with Topline Group is the BMF’s second such agreement in Ireland, 17 members of Allied Merchants Buying Association having joined the BMF under a group agreement in 2017. The addition of the first cohort of Topline Group members increases the total number of BMF merchant members in Ireland to 30.  

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has signed a group membership agreement with Topline Group, the leading buying group in Ireland, supplying DIY and building materials to affiliated stores nationwide.

Keynote speaker announced for European Builders Merchants Conference

24 February 2022

Michael Caulfield Msc, one of the UK’s leading sports psychologists who has worked with England football manager Gareth Southgate and record-breaking former Jockey Sir A P McCoy amongst many teams and players across many sporting codes, takes the Keynote Speaker slot at UFEMAT’s European Builders Merchants Conference, taking place in London from 28-30 April 2022.

Before training as a performance psychologist, Michael was Chief Executive of the Professional Jockeys’ Association and this balance of experiences gives him a unique understanding of the performance requirements of both his business and sporting clients. His main focus is working with individuals, teams and organisations to help them fulfil their potential in their chosen field, and his presentation promises to bring psychology to life as he shares his insights into human performance. 

The 62nd UFEMAT Congress brings together builders’ merchants, building material suppliers and trade bodies from across Europe.  This year’s event, which takes the theme, European Unity in a Digital Age, has been organised by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) whose CEO, John Newcomb is the current UFEMAT President.

John Newcomb said:

“We are extremely proud that the UK will host the first post-pandemic Congress. We are looking forward to welcoming our European colleagues to London with a programme designed to help drive our industry forward into a new digital age.”

UFEMAT’s business conference, which takes place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, will be hosted by Kevin Parr, MD of The PGS Team.  Those who have seen Kevin in action at previous BMF events will appreciate his ability to engage, enthuse and inspire with his thought-provoking commentary.

For details of the Conference Programme, or to book your place, please contact June Upton ([email protected]) or Marianne de Vroome ([email protected])

Michael Caulfield Msc, one of the UK’s leading sports psychologists who has worked with England football manager Gareth Southgate and record-breaking former Jockey Sir A P McCoy amongst many teams and players across many sporting codes, takes the Key

P&H Merchant sales end year on upward trend


22 February 2022

P&H Merchant sales end year on upward trend

Sales through specialist plumbing and heating merchants continued their upward trend in the final quarter of 2021 according to figures released by the Builders Merchants Federation in its latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index.

Despite there being four fewer trading days in Q4 2021, absolute sales increased by +6.4% against Q3 2021.  Comparing like-for-like sales, adjusted for the difference in trading days between the two quarters, shows an increase of +13.5% in Q4.  

Year on year comparisons also show a slight upward trend, with sales in Q4 2021 up by +2.0% on Q4 2020, when there was no difference in trading days, and by +1.6% against Q4 2019, pre-Covid, with one more trading day in 2021, although like-for-like sales were flat at -0.1%.

A review of the year shows sales from January to December 2021 rose by +18.3% over 2020, with two less trading days in the most recent period.  Adjusting for that difference, like-for-like sales increased by +19.3% in 2021 vs 2020.  Annual sales were also higher than in 2019, with 2021 recording an absolute increase of +2.7%.

The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.
 
Sales through specialist plumbing and heating merchants continued their upward trend in the final quarter of 2021 according to figures released by the Builders Merchants Federation in its latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index.

Q4 Merchant sales conclude record year

22 February 2022

Figures for the final quarter of 2021 published today (22/2/22) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) found sales through UK builders’ merchants slowing slightly after two record quarters. 

There is normally a seasonal sales decline in the fourth quarter of the year and 2021 was no exception. Total sales values in Q4 2021 were -12.7% lower than in Q3 2021, not helped by four less trading days in Q4.  Like-for-like sales, adjusted for the difference in trading days, were down by
-6.9%.

Q4 2021 was still the BMBI’s the third best quarter on record, with sales values increasing by +14.7% against the same period in 2020, and also +21.0% higher than Q4 2019, pre-Covid.

All categories sold more in Q4 2021 in comparison to Q4 2020 with Timber & Joinery Products (+28.2%) leading the way, followed by Landscaping (+14.4%), which recorded its highest quarterly sales of 2021. Heavy Building Materials (+11.1%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (+10.0%) and Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+9.6) were among categories growing more slowly.

However, after a year characterised by supply shortages and ending with soaring energy costs, resulting in substantial price increases, growth is largely driven by pricing rather than volume.
Bricks, Blocks, Insulation, Lintels, Plasterboard, Sheet Materials and Roofing Products saw their highest average price during Q4 2021, highlighting the cost pressures currently affecting the market.

Year on Year performance: 2021 vs 2020 and 2019
Reviewing the year as a whole saw a sales value increase of +30.5% against 2020 and +16.4% against 2019, with Heavyside driving activity.  

Against 2020 Heavy Building Materials, the largest category, increased by +24%, with Timber & Joinery increasing by +52.1% and Landscaping by 31.3%.  

Comparing 2021 with 2019 has provided a more accurate barometer for many merchants this year. Once again, the same three categories led the way with Heavy Building materials up by +9.7%, Timber & Joinery by +37.7% and Landscaping 38.4%.  

Comparing 2021 with 2020 in the Lightside categories, Tools (+26.6%) led the way followed by Kitchens & Bathrooms (+24.0%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+23.5%).  Decorating (+17.8%) was one of three categories that improved by less than 20%. 

A different picture emerges against 2019, where Ironmongery (+2.3%) was the strongest lightside performer, with Kitchens & Bathrooms (+1.6%), Plumbing Heating & Electrical (-0.1%) and Decorating (-1.6%).

A closer look at regional activity confirms that all regions sold significantly more in 2021 vs 2020, which is not surprising given the Covid disruption in Spring 2020.  The strongest growth was seen in Scotland (+39.8%), followed by South East excl. London (+35.4%) and East Midlands (+31.6%).  

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said:

“This is a year that merchants can look back at with pride. They have shown remarkable adaptability and resilience to overcome testing conditions arising from the Covid crisis that has now affected operations for almost two years. While sales remained strong in 2021, merchants are now facing continuing supply challenges coupled with a 30 year high in the cost of living which will inevitably impact consumer confidence.”

Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK added:

“The coming months bring a dark cloud of even more price increases, further economic difficulties for consumers and potential geopolitical issues further afield. It won’t be an easy year, which makes predictions even more difficult, but there’s an expectation that the market will remain relatively flat. Only time will tell, but right now signs point towards a bumpy year.”

 
Figures for the final quarter of 2021 published today (22/2/22) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) found sales through UK builders’ merchants slowing slightly after two record quarters.

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Press enquires for the builders merchants and building materials industry;

The BMF is the only trade association that represents and protects the interests of builders’ merchants and suppliers to the building materials industry in the UK and Ireland.

Total membership at 1 April 2022 stands at 800 merchant, supplier and service companies who together have combined sales of £43bn and employ around 221,000 people in the building materials industry. BMF’s 415 merchant members operate from over 5,530 branches across the UK and Ireland.

From the saw-mill, quarry and out to the shop floor, the BMF has a unique perspective, which is of value to the media.

For press enquiries regarding the building materials sector/merchants sector, please contact;

Jane Shepherd
[email protected]
07985 129315
01538 308685