Inflation continues to drive Plumbing & Heating merchant value sales    

Inflation continues to drive Plumbing & Heating merchant value sales     

The latest figures from the Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) report show total value sales for February 2023 through specialist plumbing and heating merchants were +8.6% higher than February last year. Growth came exclusively from increasing prices (+9.6%) as volumes fell slightly (-0.9%) during the period.  

Month-on-month, February value sales were -3.5% behind January’s. Volume sales dipped -4.4% and prices edged up +0.9%. With one less trading day in February, like-for-like sales were +1.3% higher.  

Total value sales over the last three months, December 2022 to February 2023, were +12.8% higher than the same period a year ago. Volume sales were up +1.2% and prices rose +11.4%. There was no difference in trading days.  

Plumbing & Heating merchants’ value sales in the last 12 months (March 2022 to February 2023) were +9.2% higher than the previous twelve-month period (March 2021 to February 2022). Volumes were flat (-0.6%) but there was marked price inflation (+9.9%). With two less trading days in the latest period, like-for-like sales were +10.1% higher.  

The PHMI index for January was 104.1. With one less trading day, the like-for-like index was 107.6. 

Mike Rigby, CEO of MRA Research, which produces the report comments: “Energy prices are never far from the headlines and in February there was plenty to discuss: an increase in the Energy Price Cap, a 20% rise in the Energy Price Guarantee and the end of the Energy Bills Support Scheme, collectively leaving already stretched households and businesses fearful of how they would make ends meet in the months ahead. While some of those proposals have since been postponed, there will be no early easing in the cost of living crisis and energy is at its core. 

“Plumbing and heating merchants are at the centre of this national energy crisis – advising and supplying the products that can make a major difference to household bills where Government policy can only soften the blow. That isn’t yet being reflected in the total sales values, but that day is surely coming. 

“This energy crisis will moderate in the short term, but energy efficiency will be a continuing concern for years to come as the UK attempts to play catchup with its poorly performing housing stock. Investing in products that reduce energy costs in the home shouldn’t only be a go-to when energy bills are unmanageable. It should be a proactive response which not only helps country and climate but futureproofs homes from the pain of unpredictable but inevitable energy crises in the future. As inflation and bills ease over the course of the year, there will be the means and will to invest in greener, resource-friendly technologies and the UK’s plumbing and heating merchants will have the opportunity to lead.” 

To download the latest report visit 

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