The latest figures from the Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) report, published in October, show value sales through specialist plumbing and heating merchants up 8.3% in August compared to August 2020.

Adjusted like-for-like average sales, which take trading day differences into account, were 3.2% higher than August 2020.

Measured against the same period in 2019, a pre-pandemic year, monthly sales for August 2021 showed marginal growth (+0.8%), with no difference in trading days.

Compared to July, total merchants August sales were down -6.6% with no difference in trading days.

Value sales in the three months June to August 2021 were 17.9% higher when compared to the same three months last year, with one less trading day this year. Average sales a day were 19.7% higher.

Comparing the same three-month to a more normal period in June to August 2019, sales were 2.7% higher, with no difference in trading days.

Total sales in June to August 2021 were down 8.1% compared with the previous three months (March to May), even with two more trading days.

Year-to-date sales (January to August 2021) were up 29.2% on the same period last year, with two less trading days this year, and 2.9% up on the same eight months in 2019, with two less trading days. Like-for-like sales were 30.7% higher compared to 2020, and 4.1% up on 2019.

Over the last 12 months (August 2020 to July 2021), specialist plumbing and heating merchant sales were 17.8% higher than the same period a year before, with no difference in trading days.

August’s PHMI Index, which contrasts sales with the base period of January to December 2019, was 93.0.

Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager - Trade at GfK Retail & Technology UK, comments: “The plumbing & heating industry has continued its strong performance into Q3, but there’s evidence of the market starting to slow down. Supply chain issues were managed well and should now start easing off a bit more. I expect the end of the stamp duty holiday will slow down growth, whilst the recent acquisitions will make for some interesting reading in the coming months.”