KBB merchant sales slumped by 0.9% in Q4 of 2018 compared to same quarter in 2017, according to the Builders Merchants Federations’s (BMF) Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) figures. This follows a drop of 2.5% in Q3 of 2018.
Year-on-year figures in Q4 for the whole builders’ merchants industry grew by 3.1%, however the BMF suspect that this shows “the first signs of a negative Brexit effect.”
John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “The year ended on a subdued note for builders’ merchants’ sales. As the deadline for the UK to leave the EU draws ever closer, the uncertainty that surrounds the terms of our departure – in particular, the terms relating to how the UK will trade with Europe post-Brexit – is not helping our sector.
“In our current state of limbo, it is no surprise that both businesses and home-owners are deferring investment decisions. But until the Brexit riddle is solved, no-one can begin to predict what will happen next.”
2018 Quarter 4 sales are generally lower than Quarter 3 and Total Builders Merchants average daily sales were down at -4.9%.
The BMF said the quarter started well, with October 2018 sales values up 6.8% year-on-year. However, November grew by 0.8% and December sales were just 1.0% higher than December 2017. If the BMBI factor in inflation and volumes will have been lower.