Strong Q3 for specialist P&H merchants driven by buoyant summer

The latest Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) report, published in November, shows total value sales through specialist Plumbing & Heating merchants up 7.3% in Q3 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, with growth underpinned by strong year-on-year sales in July (+12.8%) and August (+8.3%). September – traditionally the start of the heating season – grew more slowly in 2021 (+1.7%) over the same period.

Like-for-like sales for Q3 2021 were up 9.0% on Q3 2020, with one less trading day this year.

Quarter 3 2021 value sales also stacked up positively against Q3 2019 (+1.7%), with one less trading day this year. Like-for-like sales increased by 3.2%.

While September year-on-year sales recorded nominal growth compared to the same month in 2020 (+1.7%) and 2019 (+4.6%), month-on-month sales figures were more positive. Total value sales through specialist Plumbing & Heating merchants were 12.7% higher in September than August 2021, with one more trading day in September. Like-for-like sales were 7.5% up.

Overall, the PHMI report data highlights a positive year-to-date performance, with sales in the first nine months of 2021 25.3% higher than January to September 2020, with two less trading days. Like-for-like sales were up 26.6%.

Compared to the first nine months of 2019, sales through specialist Plumbing & Heating merchants were up 3.1%, with one less trading day this year.

The PHMI Index for September 2021 was 104.8, with one extra trading day this year. The Q3 PHMI Index was slightly lower at 99.1, with two less trading days.

Mike Rigby, CEO of MRA Research, which produces the report comments: “Quarter three figures show that sales through specialist plumbing and heating merchants are gathering momentum after a weak start to the year.

“Strong summer sales from pent-up demand accumulating during the winter lockdown and the usual annual uplift from ‘heating season’ sales has boosted growth for the industry. We expect this to continue into Q4, driven by homeowners looking to improve the energy efficiency of their heating and hot water systems to counteract the steep rise in energy costs.”

The Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) is the first to analyse point of sales data collated from specialist plumbing & heating merchants with combined annual sales of £3bn, to chart their performance month-to-month.

The PHMI data is from GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchant Panel, which represents over 80% of Britain’s specialist plumbing & heating merchants’ sales. The PHMI is a brand of the Builders Merchants Federation, and reports are produced by MRA Research. There is no overlap or double counting between PHMI and Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) sales data.

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