The Builders Merchants Federation has published its first Builders Merchants Industry Forecast Report to take account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Interrupted and unsettling trading patterns during the first six months of 2020 made the second half of the year more difficult to predict. Initial forecasts expected average growth to decline by -20%, but the final forecast for the whole of 2020 is more optimistic, showing year on year growth declining by -11.5%.

For this latest report, the BMF worked alongside the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to collate and analyse data from a wide range of sources in addition to data derived from its own Builders Merchants Building Index, which has tracked merchant market performance since July 2014. 

Looking further ahead to 2021, the forecast includes two trading scenarios factoring Brexit, the first moving on from the transition period with a deal, the second without a deal. 

Taking 2021 as a whole, the forecast points to a 2.8% increase for the sector if there is no deal, against a more encouraging 5.9% increase if a trade deal is reached with the EU.