Plumbing merchant sales continue to bounce back

The latest figures from the Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) report show that value sales through specialist plumbing and heating merchants in May were more than double the previous year. Sales in the three months March to May 2021 were 81.8% higher than the same period last year, helped by an extra trading day this year and a fully opened market. Sales were also up on the same three months of 2019 (+6.1%), with no difference in trading days.

While the data points largely to the continuation of a strong post-pandemic recovery, May 2021 sales were flat (-0.1%) against the same period in 2019, a more normal year. However, average sales a day, with two less trading days this year, were 10.4% up on May 2019.

Year to date sales (January to May 2021) were up 36.5% on the same period last year, with one less trading day, and 3% ahead on January to May 2019.

Over the last 12 months (June 2020 to May 2021), specialist plumbing and heating merchant sales were 9.6% higher that the same period a year before, with two more trading days in the most recent period.

Bill Davies, sales director at James Hargreaves Plumbing Depot, which contributes to the PHMI, comments: “There are many good reasons for optimism in the UK plumbing and heating industry for the remainder 2021, due to the general buoyancy of the marketplace and the extension of the stamp duty holiday. I am confident that this year will produce record sales for merchants. James Hargreaves Plumbing Depot has already generated a 29.5% increase in turnover for the second quarter of this year compared with the same three-month period in 2019.

“Looking ahead, I anticipate a further push towards ‘renewables’ (low carbon solutions) with air source heat pumps now becoming more and more an everyday request. The challenges presented by Covid-19 and Brexit have produced supply shortages across all aspects of plumbing and heating – not to mention significant prices rises – but I feel sure that the industry can prosper if businesses stay true to sound principles and philosophies.”

To download the latest report visit

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