Data from builders’ merchants across the UK points to a surge in landscaping products, as homeowners opted to give their gardens a make-over during the Covid-19 restrictions.
Sales of products landscaping spiked during May, according to the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF). The trade body reports DIY purchases doubling, with sleepers, timber, decorative aggregates and fencing top of their shopping list.
John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF, said: “We have had feedback from across our membership reporting a significant increase in DIY consumers going into merchants for exterior based products.
“Normally less than 20 per cent of a merchants’ business is to the general public.
“However, during the restrictions, we have seen sales paid at the point of purchase, which are generally DIY and consumer sales, significantly increase. In some cases, the figures have doubled to 40 per cent.
“Our members say that much of this increase has been driven by furloughed workers, looking to carry out jobs around the home.
“Landscaping has been the most popular project, with the good weather and the fact that householders have been largely confined to their garden both playing a part in that decision.
“It seems that people were also concerned about booking holidays at the time and decided to invest in their properties instead.”
The BMF - which represents 363 merchant members operating from over 5,450 branches across the UK and Ireland - produced new Branch Operating Guideline for builders’ merchant staff to follow in the pandemic.
The 18-page document covers procedures for phone, click/call and collect and pre-arranged orders.
Newcomb added: “By taking web, phone or e-mail orders, customers, both trade and DIY, can collect from the merchant or receive deliveries.
“The safety measures have been well-received and many customers felt reassured they were able to purchase goods safely from merchants in their community, and at the same time support local jobs and the economy.”