Based on previous trends, the federation is forecasting a continuation into 2020 of the current slowdown in growth for the sector.

Following a recent report of negative growth for the third quarter of 2019, revisions to the Builders Merchants Industry Forecast of merchant sales show a drop in expected growth for 2019 over 2018. The slowdown in growth is now expected to continue into Q1 2020.

Published by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), the forecast is based on previous trends found within the Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) data. As the forecast is unable to account for external factors, such as the uncertainty caused by continuing Brexit delays and weather events that hinder construction activity, the BMF expects performance to go against previous industry trends and for growth to be lower in both Q4 2019 and Q1 2020.

Despite two successive quarters of negative growth in Q2 and Q3, 2019 overall is forecast to see a marginal increase with average year on year sales growth of 1.9% (revised down from the previous forecast of 3.0%).

Year on year sales growth for Q1 2020 has also been revised down to 5.7% (from the previous forecast of 6.5%). However, looking further forward, the forecast for overall average year on year growth in 2020 has improved to 4.6% (up from 4.3%).

The Builders Merchants Industry Forecast is a comprehensive analysis of merchant market performance from July 2014 to September 2019 coupled with an analysis of the key factors affecting builders’ merchants’ sales to project future sales from October 2019 to December 2021.