Listed below are the details of named buyers/purchasers at over 260 of the UK's builders merchant chains, which, combined, account for over 10,000 individual branches across the country. This was last updated in February 2018.
Underlining the sector's importance as a distribution channel, the BMBI estimate that, in the calendar year 2016, revenue for generalist builders merchant sales exceeded £5.44 billion (an increase of 5.5% on 2015) and furthermore, by the end of 2017, merchant sales finished 4.8% ahead of 2016 by value. In terms of overall construction output, in its Builders and Plumbers Merchant Market Report, AMA Research estimated that the builders merchant sector accounted for around 9% of the total construction output and, after the downturn, the sector experienced significant structural changes, with the market consolidating and some larger groups acquiring a number of the smaller independents.
The latest edition of the Construct UK merchant buyers database reflects many changes on the 2017 edition and numerous entries have been amended or removed to reflect mergers, address/contact changes, and cessations, etc. New entries have been introduced where appropriate. The database covers only the industry's chains (defined as those with more than one branch), so local, single-branch firms, have been omitted.
In addition to the contact name, the information for each entry also includes the number of branches for each firm, the primary activity (i.e. heavyside, lightside, timber, etc.), address, telephone number, website and email address (over 50% are name-specific to buyer, the remainder being generic - info@, etc.). We have also included the social media links (where possible) for Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook.
The 'Builders Merchant Building Index' (BMBI) is produced by the BMF, MRA Marketing and GfK, and the Q1 2018 edition provides year-on-year sales comparisons for the key individual product groups as follows:
• Heavy Building Materials
• Services up
• Plumbing, Heating and Electrical
• Timber and Joinery
• Kitchens and Bathrooms
• Workwear and Safetywear
• Renewables and water-saving
According to the AMA Research report, recent consolidation in the sector has resulted in 5 major groups, now accounting for an estimated 75% of the market. Overall, the merchants offer an extensive range, dominated by traditional building products. Plumbing and drainage account for around 17%, and heating and ventilation for around 15%, with other sectors commanding smaller shares. Buying groups (see below) continue to play an important role in the market, not least because it remains highly price-sensitive affected by product availability, raw material and fuel costs.
Direct promotions, social media and trade shows aside, specific targeting of the sector by construction product and service providers is possible through focused media such as the journals Builders Merchants News, Builders Merchants Journal, etc. These are included in our index of 300 UK construction industry journals, which, apart from identifying other relevant titles, includes media data such as ad rates, circulation levels, sales contacts, etc.
In order to support PR activities, please view or download our separate database Editorial Contacts at 300+ UK Construction Journals, which includes editorial-specific email addresses for each publication.
There are over 280 construction exhibitions detailed in our UK Construction Exhibition Calendar; however, it is worth highlighting the Jewson Live event which is held each December at the NEC and also the National Merchant Buying Society's annual exhibition, which is a dedicated and key event in the independent merchant buyer's calendar. The next edition is expected to be held in April 2019.
The sector also has a number of awards offering suppliers promotional opportunities through sponsorship, such as 'The Merchants Awards for Excellence'. Our comprehensive list of industry awards ceremonies offering sponsorship opportunities can be viewed separately here.
A number of Linkedin groups are also important, in terms of providing networking opportunities in the sector. Needless to say, new groups and forums are frequently launched, but some of note include the UK Builders Merchants Forum and Builders Merchants' News Group.
Independent builders merchants are often members of buying groups or consortiums, which offer them commercial advantages. The following are such groups:
FORTIS Merchants Ltd
Email: via website
Contact name: Will O'Meara, Director of Operations
No. Member Firms: 38
Tel: +44 (0) 1923 677724
Contact name: Martin Mansfield, Commercial Manager
No. Member Firms: 76
Independent Plumbing Group
Tel: +44 (0) 1903 771699
Contact name: Steven Stafford, Procurement Manager
National Buying Group
Email: Via website
Contact name: Nick Oates, Managing Director
No. Member Firms: 80+
National Merchant Buying Society Ltd
Tel: +44 (0) 116 253 0531
Contact name: Paul Andrews, Trading Manager
No. Member Firms: 1,000
Plumbing & Heating Group
Tel: +44 (0) 1733 233316
Contact name: John Sturnham, Managing Director
No. Member Firms: 22
Timber Buying Group
Tel: +44 (0) 1948 660564
Contact name: Allan Durning, Director
Database of Buyers at 200 Builders Merchants Chains (you must be logged in to view):